Love's Road Home
November 12, 2017 9:58 PM   Subscribe

Let it be known that Ashley Volk had loved Sam Siatta since elementary school, the age of True Love Always in sidewalk chalk. She loved him before he joined the Marines and went to war, before he descended into depression and alcoholism upon his return, before he was convicted on a felony charge for a crime he did not remember through a blackout fog.

Ashley Volk and Sam Siatta had been an on-again, off-again couple since sixth grade.
But she was in no position to make plans. “I didn’t know when he was getting out,” she said. “He still had six years.”

Yet she had to admit it. She wanted him as her husband. She reached across the table to clutch his calloused hands, to examine that flimsy cell-block ring, to accept. A guard broke up the moment.

“No touching,” he said.
posted by Johnny Wallflower (19 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite
 
"The judge describes the day as Chicago’s finest moment. His voice slows and thickens when he talks of it. He fails to hold back tears."

You and me both, judge. You and me both.

The subjects of the story have had enough sadness and hardship. I wish them every happiness.
posted by aureliobuendia at 10:34 PM on November 12 [1 favorite]


I was halfway through before I realized it was in the Weddings section. This was a moving read. Best wishes to the happy couple.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 10:57 PM on November 12 [1 favorite]


Ashley is the very definition of steadfast. Much love to her, her new husband, and their families.
posted by Hermione Granger at 11:02 PM on November 12 [1 favorite]


This was just wonderful. Thanks, Johnny Wallflower.
posted by Foaf at 11:45 PM on November 12


Good Goddamn, they are an adorable couple. And such a story! We should all be so lucky....

(Sorry, stories like this make me channel my inner chainsmoking grandmother...)
posted by Samizdata at 3:32 AM on November 13 [2 favorites]


Awww. I remember this couple from the previous NYT story on Sam (second link of this post). So glad to read this today. Mazel tov, kids!
posted by palomar at 5:49 AM on November 13


That is a beautifully written story that is a refreshing change of pace from the normal material on the NYT weddings page. I needed a little hope this morning and this was it.
posted by anastasiav at 6:04 AM on November 13


This is really the sweetest chaser to this (also amazing, but much darker) post from a few days ago.
posted by thivaia at 6:36 AM on November 13


Find someone who believes in you the way Ashley believes in Sam.

Live like you’re worthy of that sort of belief.
posted by Zonker at 6:49 AM on November 13 [3 favorites]


Find someone to believe in the way Justice Lavin believed in Sam.

Then they will live like they’re worthy of that sort of belief.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 6:54 AM on November 13 [5 favorites]


Wonderful story.

The writer is C. J. Chivers, who has reported from Iraq and Syria, and many other conflict zones. He has a Pulitzer.
posted by thenormshow at 8:07 AM on November 13 [2 favorites]


This story reminds me of our ancestors, the women who routinely married at 15, with the men just a little older, how they came to the US in ship holds, or enslaved, or as mail order brides, or religious refugees, refugees from monarchy and war, and they survived the trauma that drove them here, and they stayed together, making the families we come from, for better or worse. This devotion, however, seems a trait we have let go of, and in many cases well sure, one should not devote to abuse, or extreme differences that happen when couples diverge, heal or change. Nevertheless the devotion here is remarkable. Youthful love is full of bonding hormones that build between the lucky ones, forever bridges, and inroads of affection. Great story.
posted by Oyéah at 9:37 AM on November 13 [2 favorites]


Yet if she‘d posted on AskMe in the phase where he was drinking and she was working herself to death, the green would have resounded with calls of DTMFA. It‘s moving, but only because he seems to have gotten his shit together.
I‘m so ambivalent about this story.
posted by Omnomnom at 9:48 AM on November 13 [21 favorites]


Thanks for pointing this out to me. C.J. Chivers is a pretty great writer; his piece on Beslan is fantastic. I will, for once, be quite interested in a Times weddings piece.
posted by old_growler at 10:01 AM on November 13 [1 favorite]


Yet if she‘d posted on AskMe in the phase where he was drinking and she was working herself to death, the green would have resounded with calls of DTMFA. It‘s moving, but only because he seems to have gotten his shit together.
I‘m so ambivalent about this story.


Me, too. Let's be blunt: if there hadn't been another combat-trained person in the house that night, and if that person hadn't been lucky in the fight, we might well be talking about a house full of dead people. That frying pan connects once and it's over. It's reasonable to look at all mitigating factors in sentencing, and so (except for the fact that he received obvious special treatment that should be the normal treatment) I don't have a problem with reconsidering whether the lengthy sentence was appropriate. But this man has demonstrated definitively that--whether it's his fault or not--he is a danger to other people. The woman's hard work and dedication are quite admirable, but as a friend or family member of hers I would not be at all easy in my mind about her safety.

Those old families were rife with abuse and with women whose lives grew extraordinarily constricted to accommodate their damaged loved ones. Often without reciprocal commitment or sacrifice. Not sure I'd hold those up as a model to emulate.
posted by praemunire at 10:48 AM on November 13 [6 favorites]


I‘m so ambivalent about this story.

I was too. As the mother of a daughter currently (IMO) wasting her time with a guy not nearly as fucked up as Sam, I find myself wondering what Ashley's life might have been without that anchor holding her down. I can't imagine marrying the guy I liked in sixth grade.

Still, there must be something about Sam that makes so many people pull for him. I hope he doesn't let them down.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 3:05 PM on November 13 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I am not so crazy about the "steadfast woman" part of the story, but I love the connection between the judge and Sam, and how he felt moved to intercede. A pretty small hand up, but one that's been so important for Sam.
posted by lunasol at 3:19 PM on November 13 [1 favorite]


"Now it's my turn."

I hope she gets her turn. I hope he stays sober, and employed, and that his PTSD never triggers abuse, and that he can rise to the pressure of being a match to someone who has stood by you for your whole life and that he never, ever resents the wight of that.
posted by DarlingBri at 8:01 PM on November 13 [2 favorites]


C.J. Chivers is a pretty great writer

C.J. Chivers wrote a fantastic history of the AK-47 called, The Gun. Highly recommend. And I'm not even into guns.
posted by d. z. wang at 9:06 PM on November 13 [1 favorite]


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