I put myself in the shoes of someone walking away from a relationship. At the very last minute.
Do you take Sanjay to be your wedded husband to live together in marriage? Do you promise to love him, comfort him, honour and keep him for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, forsaking all others, be faithful only to him so long as you both shall live?
When I left Sanjay at the altar, the first thing that ran through my mind was the money spent on the wedding, money down the drain – testament to my Mangalorean roots. Ordinarily, my mother would be proud. But on the day, my would-be wedding day, she washed her hands clean of me. We haven't spoken since.
I don't know why I left Sanjay. It makes my 'rejection' that much worse. It wasn't some whirlwind romance, where I didn't really get to know him, and cold feet was justified. I knew him. I wonder, sometimes, if that was the problem. Did I know him too well? Too much of the same ol', same ol'? No more discovery? I'm not sure.
But I did know him too well. So well, that when I 'rejected' him, I expected a familiar response, I expected stupid laughter – for him to think it was some joke; we'd regularly embarrass each other in public. But he didn't laugh. He knew exactly what “Sorry Sanjay” meant. Maybe he expected it? I didn't. And I sure as hell didn't expect him to break down the way he did. He was a red-faced, teary-eyed mess at the altar of our wedding. And I was there, thinking about Al Ron caterers' refund policies: If the food is not ready yet, will we get some money back? I was thinking a lot – What happens now, does mass continue, should I move my seat? Do we keep the gifts? What about the honeymoon? Our tickets were booked.
Unwed, unhappy, and unable to get a refund on the honeymoon package, we went to Greece. For him, it was to salvage the situation. For me, it was Greece. (There's some symbolism here, if you're really looking for it. Bankrupt country, hosting an emotionally bankrupt couple's honeymoon trip that they broke the bank to fund.)
How could you?
How could he?
It wasn't difficult at all. In fact, I'm going to say it was our most fun trip ever. We didn't fight, we didn't argue. Plus non-stop 'activities'. That's something after dating for five years. That's something after dating for five months too, actually. But we weren't dating now. We were friends, fucking. We were exes, labelled. We were cheapskates making the most of a holiday package. Our 'honeymoon' didn't last any longer than the pre-payments. There was no going back to our almost-marriage.
I was almost married. I still can't get over it. I had planned for it. No, I HAD PLANNED FOR IT. There's a weight to those words. I spent over half a year planning for it. And not once, through all of my planning, did I think 'hmm, maybe I don't want this...' I wanted it. I wanted to marry you, Sanjay. I wanted it when they asked me, three shots down, at my bachelorette – 'Are you sure about Sanjay?' I wanted it in the wedding car. I wanted it as we walked down the aisle. I wanted it during the first reading, the one my cousin stuttered through, and during the second reading, where Joshua pronounced Joshua Joe-shua, on purpose. I just didn't want it in the end.
And I'm sorry.
Maybe I could have handled it differently. Maybe I could have just taken the plunge and seen what's what later. Maybe it was just cold feet; and maybe everybody knows better than me.
It doesn't matter now. Two years have gone by, Sanjay's moved on. He's marrying a colleague in a few months– cute little thing too. I am happy for him. (Though, I'm not sure I fully understand her obsession with the colour blue. Or the three piercings in both ears. Who does that? Or... Sanjay, are you sure about her? You know I won't hold my peace. I joke.)
I've met a few interesting people too. Some might have thought me interesting. But I can't take anything to a more serious place now. I'm not sure I'm over what happened yet. It took me the reading of our wedding vows, a minute-long read, to realise I was out of love for no real reason. There was no other man, no monetary issues, the sex was good, Sanjay was a good man, and hilarious, our families got along, we loved each other!
How long would it take somebody to fall out of love with me? Just like that.
I can't take that hit. And I am not sure I've forgiven myself.
In Their Shoes is a series of fictional shorts, where I put myself in different scenarios I have never experienced.
Photo Credit: Flickr user Jurvetson