I knew what it was as soon as I opened my mailbox. I picked up the large envelope addressed in lovely calligraphy to Ms. Ami Angelowicz. I held it in my hand, for a moment. It felt heavy. I tossed it on my kitchen table. I’ll open it later, I thought. I’m not quite ready to deal with this.
It sat there, untouched for a full week before I worked up the nerve to rip it open. “The pleasure of your company is requested at the wedding of Timothy James Wilson* to Amanda Ann Hanson*.
I let that sentence sink in for a moment. Even though I knew my invitation was coming, even though I knew the wedding was happening, even though I knew I would most likely be attending, even though I was completely over Tim and thrilled that he met Amanda, I couldn’t help but cry. It might have been my name there. But it wasn’t. And I didn’t want it to be. But none of that changed the way I felt. I flashed back to our breakup, six years earlier.
“I met someone else,” the most dreaded words I’ve ever had to speak to anyone in my life. After three serious years together, co-habitation, and even talk of getting married someday, I was ending my relationship with Tim.
“Ami, no,” he said, the most heartbreaking two words I’ve ever had to hear.
Even though Tim was able to forgive me eventually, and miraculously we were able to remain close friends, the guilt I’ve carried about our breakup has been crippling. It certainly has contributed to the fact that I haven’t been able to have a serious relationship since.
When I found out that Tim met Amanda, I knew immediately when he spoke about her that they would get married. I knew when I met her for the first time that she was an amazing person, someone that I would be friends with myself, and that I would probably be lifelong friends with both of them. I knew that Tim had healed from our relationship. I understood all of this intellectually, but irrationally, I still wasn’t able to let go of the guilt. I saw his wedding as a chance not only for me to celebrate the joy of one of my closest friends finding true love, but also the penultimate chance for closure, a golden opportunity for me to make peace with our breakup.
I pulled out the RSVP card. I checked the “Will Attend” box. I was going to his wedding. I was going to face this.
Everyone in my life thought I was crazy for attending. I got lots of questions, “Are you sure you want to go?” “Won’t it be weird?” “Will you be sad?”
My answer to everyone was the same: “I wouldn’t miss it for the world.” It was irrelevant whether or not I wanted to go. I needed to go.
In the week leading up to the wedding, I started to panic. What if other people were right? Had I been in denial about how hard it might be? A million questions started running though my mind. What will it be like to see his family again? Our old friends? What if Amanda feels uncomfortable with me there?
I picked up the phone and called Tim. “I want you to know that I loved you, that I will always love you, and that I have never loved anyone the way I loved you.”
“Ditto, Ames,” he said.
“Also, I’m so sorry about the way things ended.”
“I know,” he said.
“I know you know, I just wanted to say it before your wedding. And that I am thrilled that you’re marrying her.”
I exhaled. I was ready to go.
As I arrived at the ceremony, Tim’s mother was the first person I saw. We hugged.
“Ami! You look wonderful. It’s so good to see you again!”
Our conversation was interrupted by his brother who handed me a margarita. “I hope you’re planning on getting smashed with me tonight.”
And then his aunt. “Remember me? I was hoping you’d be here.”
It was a surreal moment, almost like it was my wedding in an alternate universe. The life that could have been mine.
Finally, I saw Tim. He was in a suit, looking the most dapper I’ve ever seen him. He was beaming.
“Ames!” He hugged me. “Oh, Ames. I’m glad you’re here.”
“Do you need anything before you walk down the aisle?”
“Yeah, I’m parched. How about some water?”
I went and got Tim a glass of water. My last offering to him before he got married.
As I watched him and Amanda exchange vows, I was the one beaming now. I could tell by the way they looked at each other that Amanda was the perfect woman for him, that she could give him all the things I wasn’t able to. I felt a weight lifted off my shoulders. Tim had found the happy relationship that he deserved. And I was finally ready to find mine.
*Names have been changed.