This weekend, one of my new good friends is going to not get married. What I mean is she was going to, but now she is not. She seems quite happy about it, and if I were her I probably would be too—she is not the type to relish in the domestic give-and-take and the easy, unthinking acquiescence that marriage becomes over time. I don’t say this as an affront, because really she is a lovely person and probably the one I have met in the last few weeks that I found myself most easily connected to. But she is one of those people who is stunningly beautiful and knows it, who is casually brilliant and knows it, and it’s not so much that she puts it in front of your face or that these are bad things to know about oneself. It is only that it makes her sharply independent (which I would contend is both strength and weakness, but that’s a debate for another time). My own marriage is due to be legally over in a few short weeks, depending on paperwork and when I can make the trip down to Houston to appear before a judge. So what we have here is, in essence, an abortion for her and a burial for me.
So it’s on my mind a lot, the nature of marriage and what mine meant and what it means to her and to others. As a result, I have been having these unspecifically ominous dreams loaded down with guilt and malice that aren’t congruous with the actual plot. In one, Lin told me that she always hated Bright Eyes. So what, right? I can see her argument. But I woke up devastated. In another, I lay in bed all day with some unknown girl who loves me so easily, like it’s breathing, with our bare legs touching, and she gets up and walks into a dark hallway. Again, I woke up devastated.
I have been struggling with a lesson learned is what I think it is, and that lesson keeps getting thrown in my face in all its meanness. In a Christian household, you are raised to think that apologies are the spiritual and psychological equivalent of blank checks, as long as you mean them hard enough. I held this as a valuable truth about life, when really I should have dismissed it as foolishness somewhere around the fifth grade. So when I made my decade long, lumbering, ugly journey toward revelation about self, and when I dragged Lin along, and when we both went about unconsciously eating away at each other, I always held that no matter what happened, I could make it right again, somehow. When I left my home—a home I no longer felt a part of for reasons it would not be fair to explore in public, particularly from only my point of view, and really what does it matter except to point fingers and assign blame where there is enough to go around already—with every intention of either killing myself or disappearing forever or something, something, something, and who knows what that something was, well, I guess I thought it would somehow be okay if ended up alive if I could just have the right words at the end of the story.
But that’s bullshit. It was only me thinking that being a writer somehow had relevance in real-world application. That words somehow carried the same freight of meaning that my hateful and inexplicable actions did (and they were hateful, and they were inexplicable, both to myself and to Lin). My apologies about this were quite frankly unacceptable, and I was angry about their not being accepted even though I knew this was true. What solipsism! What stupidity about life! What a heartless act of psychological violence I’m guilty of by even assuming that an apology is worth anything at all!
Which brings me back to my friend, in a way. At first, I thought the idea of having a pitch black wedding cake and drinking a whole lot was somehow wrong, that it carried with it an unhealthy cynicism. I do not know the full story of why she is not getting married, but knowing what I know about how remarkably easy it is to annihilate a body without knowing why you did it or even that you’ve done it at all, now I am beginning to think it is right to celebrate. If she is sure that she’s made the right decision, then I will trust that she did, and I will eat that cake, and I will drink those drinks, and I will tell her that I’m proud of who she is. It’s the only thing I’ve left to do.