One of the grand life events everyone hopes to have nailed down by 30 or wants to nail down shortly after 30-especially women- is getting married.
I’ll be heading to NYC tomorrow to celebrate the union of a good friend and his beautiful and wonderful bride. They are a great couple and I’m very proud of him, especially considering he’s one of those nice guys who had no problem complaining about always seeming to finish last.
He has made it to the winner’s circle. Not because he’s getting married, but he found the right person and he actively works on making her happy. In turn, she does the same for him. When he made his mind up, he was ready.
He was ready. That part takes a lot of patience and a lot of courage.
I should know. Here comes the hard part.
I got through my younger cousin’s wedding about two months ago managing to get only a bit misty-eyed. But this one may be tougher, especially when friends in my circle take that stroll down the asile.
I wanted to leave my personal baggage out of it, but I’m going to keep it real.
I was engaged for nine months. My engagement ended a few days before the new year of 2011 rang in. The wedding was supposed to be in May. I was madly in love.
Long story short, as time inched closer and the reality of us becoming man and wife was getting more intense, the love of my life said he feared he wasn’t up to the task and that maybe he just wasn’t cut out for marriage at all.
I let out the most heartwrenching wail as he held me in his arms that night and I was numb. The next morning, I took off my ring, put it in its box and went to work feeling completely hollowed out.
We were very happy for two years. I was going to uproot my life and move to his city. I had gotten the ok from my job to allow me to move and set up an office in our new home. We had passed our premarital counseling with flying colors, until one day he started to change and became more and more distant. I put the deposit down on the dress. The dress was awesome. My goregous shoes still sit high on a shelf in a closet, unworn. My dear friends planned, then quietly canceled showers and parties.
We tried to talk it out. I tried to ease his fears. I told him we could even push back the wedding for a max of two years even, but I couldn’t lose my best friend and we could get through it together and that this change would be scary for me too.
It didn’t matter. For him, a lifetime of dissappointments, a difficult childhood and an uncertain future was too much for him to handle and my love wasn’t going to be enough to pull him out of what was taking him over. He feared his string of bad luck was contagious, and would eventually find me too. He didn’t want to “bring me down.”
But down I went anyway in the subsequent months.
Just a month after the split, I went to see the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, a birthday gift from him he had purchased well before our breakup. I took a dear friend and as we were led about four rows from the front, I was overwhelmed. I wept in my seat. Embarassed, I prayed the house lights would soon go down to hide me. His gift was beautiful and exactly what I wanted. I would have been happy to just be in the building, but to be so close! That just made things worse. He was the one who was supposed to be sitting with me that day. He was supposed to be holding my hand. I was supposed to be crying because of how moving the show was, not because he was moving out of my life completely.
The last 11 months have been painful, some days absolutely unbearable. But I’m getting stronger.
There was a time where I thought it impossible to write this down for others to read. I thought it would take years. I’m proud of myself.
Best of all, I can be happy for my friends and family and gush about how great it is to be in love, because I was blessed to be that happy at one time and I will receive that blessing again someday.
So yes, something may stir inside me causing me to cry tomorrow. While my probable tears for my homeboy will be of joy, there is one that I know that I can’t stop from falling– a remnant of the pain still left inside from a great love that just simply could not go any further.