The Wedding

The Wedding

I was in crisis. It was the night before the big day and my family was just a half-hour away, checking into their hotel and beginning their weekend celebration. No one called me. No one texted. I sat in the dark wondering whether anyone worried about my well-being or safety. Would someone decide to come over and check on me? Would anyone send me a message saying they missed me? The answer was no.

I sat in silence staring at the clock. Then I glanced up at my loft. I stared at the railing blankly. I closed my eyes and imagined grabbing my sheets, or a belt, wrapping it around my neck and jumping over the railing. I imagined the sensation of feeling my neck snap and I imagined the release from all of the built-up pain. I wondered if the railing would hold and I wondered how long it would take for someone to find me. 

Then I thought about my abuser’s suicide threats and how often I’d lectured him about the damage that would do to his kids. I felt ashamed and I started to cry. What had happened to me? How did I get here? How could I survive this? I cried myself to sleep that night, hoping I’d never wake up again. I was sure I didn’t have the strength to face the next day.

And when the next morning arrived on schedule, I realized nothing was going to change and I would have to spend this excruciating day in solitude. I told one of my brothers that I had made extravagant weekend plans, but the truth was I had no idea what I could do to ease the pain. So I made no plans at all. 

I drove to a mall that morning just to get out of my apartment. I texted the bride on the way in, saying “I love you, I hope you feel me today because I WILL be there.” There were only a few stores in this mall situated in a depressed central Pennsylvania town. Retail had been decimated by Walmart and it was obvious that the mall was nothing more than a hangout for old people to get together and walk in circles. I followed their cue and trudged aimlessly for about a half-hour. I could feel my heart in my throat as I choked back tears. This was a waste of time, and I decided to just go home. 

As I was driving, the bride texted me a reply. It simply said, “I love you.” There was no, “I want you there after all”, no last-minute second thoughts or invitation. She destroyed me and I sobbed.

Back at home, I closed the shades and laid in the dark on the couch. I stayed there in fetal position all afternoon in a state of dissociation. A few minutes before the ceremony, I texted my younger brother and asked him to send me some photos. He agreed to do it but never did, not even one. At 4 pm, the scheduled start of the ceremony, I grabbed a bottle of wine, climbed back on the couch and cried. I loved her so much and I fucking hated her.

A half-hour later, my oldest brother sent a text asking if I was alone. When I replied, “yes”, he told me he was on his way. He stayed at the wedding long enough to see the ceremony, but he couldn’t stay knowing I was sitting at home by myself. So he left the reception, grabbed some beer and came to hang out with me. When he got there, he put his arms around me, said he was sorry and held me while I cried. Then he started to cry and said he felt sick for me.

My brother was genuinely upset for me and I was grateful that he was there. But at the same time, I thought, “Why now? It’s too late. You should have protested BEFORE she did this to me”. Nevertheless, he kept me company for hours that night. He kept me from contemplating jumping over that goddamn railing and he has continued to watch over me with every step of my recovery. He was the only member of my family concerned enough to reach out while the rest of them gathered and ate and celebrated their pseudomutuality at my expense. 

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