A little shy of 13 years ago I married my best friend, my high school sweetheart, The Man. And that is a very, very good thing.
I stood at the altar with my small, trembling hands in his. And eight years of hoping for this day with this man collapsed upon me and I broke down. I sobbed through my vows. Have you ever been so happy you could hardly stand it? So happy that the enormity of the emotion swept you away? It was beautiful. At least I hope it was. Because I pretty much don’t remember anything except that I cried. And I think it was one of those ugly cries…where your face is all awful looking. If the photographer captured that moment, he mercifully chose not to reveal it to me.
But in the midst of all that beautiful ugliness, there was another man. While I stood up there with The Man, he walked into the church unnoticed. While I cried the ugly cry, he stole the purses and wallets of all my bridesmaids. And mine.
So for the next hour or two, I spent time filling out paperwork. Police reports. On my wedding day. I particularly enjoy this photograph:
Doesn’t my bosom look fluffyish? Okay, it’s not that fluffy. But it’s fluffier here in this photo than it is now, 4 children later. You’re welcome for that information, I’m sure you were wondering.
So anyway, not only did he steal my wallet, but he proceeded to drain my bank account while I was on my honeymoon. All that money. I had spent a year saving every penny I could for my wedding, money that I would use to pay the florist, and the baker and the bridal salon… He.Just.Took.It.All.
During the investigation, the police were able to get a photo of the suspect from one of the ATM’s he used. That fuzzy black and white picture is burned in my memory. I remember that he wore sunglasses and a hat when he stole my money. And that his dirty shirt was too small.
Normally, I don’t feel terribly bitter anymore. It’s sort of water under the bridge. But this morning, I broke down. I cried in the shower. It’s the only place I can cry anymore…the only place I am ever alone. And so I cried and I cried. And I hated that man. And I felt sorry for him. And I wondered.
I wondered if that man thinks about me. I wondered if he knows that he ruined a day that I had planned in my little girl head for 20 years. I wondered if he knows that I spent most of my reception filling out police reports. That I didn’t get to talk to my guests, who had come from hundreds of miles away to see me married. Does he know that while I should have been walking among the clouds, my feet were leaden?
Does he know that I spent my wedding day at the DMV, getting a new license so I could get on a plane for my honeymoon? (The upside to that is my hair and makeup looked fabulous for my license photo. I.Looked.GOOD. I really, really hated to give up that photo when it was time to renew my license.)
I wonder if he knows that thirteen years later, I have not forgotten. And that I can still become overcome with anger and sadness and resentment. And I can still cry over it.
I wonder if he’s sorry. I wonder if he cares. I wonder if he has a daughter who dreams about her wedding day.
I wonder if he knows how he crumpled up my dreams.
And yet, in the midst of all the sad, and in spite of the way my marriage began, I see that my life has turned out a little like a fairy tale.
And I’d like to tell him to stick that in his pipe and smoke it.