"Honey, I'd like you to meet my ex-fiancée."
I recognize him as the head chef of the people who catered my wedding. We never got to the food. Hell, we never got completely down the aisle.
The chef laughs nervously, "This is awkward… it's uh nice meeting… I'm going to… hey my mom's calling me!"
"Sorry, he is a bit shy. Look Claire, I'm really glad you could come. I just wasn't sure after everything…"
I grin. "Right leaving a girl at the alter and then marrying the catering guy three months later doesn't inspire confidence."
Yeah, I'm the girl that got dumped in her wedding gown in front of her entire family.
My almost husband snaps, "Claire, I already told you why. Besides-"
"You were a closet gay?"
"No, I fell in love with another man. There is a difference," he wearily points out.
"Yeah, I know…"
He watches me for a few moments before whispering, "I didn't leave because I didn't love you, but because-"
"Someone else loved me more. So you said, but I'm still single with no idea who you are talking about."
"You mean you haven't figured it out?"
I glare. "Don't sound so surprised."
"Look, my husband is being eaten alive by my mom and you have yet to get properly drunk. Just enjoy the night, go home, sleep, wake up, make a pot of coffee and ask your roommate."
"Unless you're afraid of the truth," he teases.
I fix him with a hard glare, but he just smiles and saunters off to save his husband. After being left at the alter I should hate his guts. Still, seeing my ex-fiancée smile and hold my ex-caterer, I just don't have the heart to be angry. Being a romantic to the very core makes it hard to ignore that much love.
Despite his teasing tone, he was right. I am afraid of the truth. Probably it's because I have my suspicions, and the consequences of it all being out in the open makes my chest tight. In the end it takes me two weeks to make a pot of coffee and ask my roommate.
Oh god. I should have seen this coming huh? I mean, it was just a matter of time right? Okay, before I say anything I want you to promise that you won't interrupt- Wait! No just nod your head. Okay, see this is going to be really hard and there will be times that I'll probably scream and cry, but you can't say a word. If I stop, I know I won't be able to start again, and you deserve to know, because you've been hurt so much by this. Understand that I've never, ever lied to you. Actually, those bridesmaid dresses were hideous, but aside from those things, I've never lied and I've never kept anything from you. You see, it's scary and since you never asked me directly I didn't have to answer. Chances are, you know already and just never wanted to hear it. You're probably going to regret asking. I can… I can stay at my mom's house if you want me out after hearing this so… Anyway, point is, as soon as this soul vomiting is over, I can't take the words back and I refuse to pretend that I never said them either. Are you ready? No, don't answer that!
Okay, well, here goes everything.
Ever since we first met I couldn't keep my eyes off of you. Ew, now I sound like a pervert. Um, okay so it was the day that you moved in. I thought you were cute and all, but I just came from a bad break up during a bad lunch in a bad school. That's why I never really talked to you.
Then you came back crying over something, I forget what exactly. It's sick, I know, but you looked so beautiful crying like that. It was so raw and real. You needed to be taken care of, healed and I thought I could be the one to make your heart better, better than it ever was before. I was so stupid back then to think something would come out of that. Since this is sort of a confession I'll admit to crying the night you went out with another boy.
I was such a selfish person those first few years. I wanted you to fail your tests, have messy break ups and fights with your family because those were the only times I had you. Even though it was just in my mind, for those moments I was everything you needed. I mattered more than the men you slept with.
I remember you yelled at me once for smiling. You yelled at me about a lot of things, but that time you were serious and that was when I realized everything I did was disgusting. My entire outlook changed and each new boyfriend was a blessing. You never noticed, but always made sure your best clothes were clean and the apartment was impeccable. I took every smile, every bit of excitement and held it close, pretending that it was for me.
Then you brought guys home. You know the walls were always too thin. I heard you call and invite him over. That night I told you that I'd be at my mom's but I wasn't. Don't bother asking why I stayed home and listened as you had sex. Masochism I guess, but I wanted to make sure you weren't hurt while I was. I still had that silly dream you would look at me and realize how much I loved you. That you'd remember all of the bad times I got you through and finally come to me. There were times that I wanted to force you to see it. So, I would listen to you scream another person's name and never forget that I was just a best friend.
My favorite part though, was when they tried to leave before you woke up. They'd sneak out of your room only to find me sitting at the table drinking tea, making breakfast, or studying. Just so you know, looking for the toilet was the most common excuse.
I was getting so good at having no hope. You would ask me why I never dated and I felt good saying those almost lies. Life was easy telling myself that I was content with being on the sidelines. Then that bitch you call your sister got you drunk and started talking about me. She called me a dyke, a disgusting lesbian, and my personal favorite, a cunt-licking whore.
She dared you to kiss me didn't she? No, don't bother answering. I knew that you were drunk. I knew you weren't serious. I knew all of that but I was so lonely. Do you have any idea how much it hurt to feel your tongue invading my mouth? Everything inside of me was like winter, cold and sleeping, and you burned through all of it. I wanted to believe so badly that you wanted more of me and not just what my body could do. You probably don't even remember how I begged for more. It haunted me for months the way my voice sounded so pathetic.
As you woke up I closed my eyes to see what you would do. Would you lean down to kiss me? Would you cuddle closer? Would you wake me up with a smile? Would you say you finally understood? It all raced through my mind, but to tell the truth, I wasn't surprised when you left my room as fast as you could. A part of me was expecting that horrified look.
In a way you saved me yet again from my stupid delusions. My parents always said that I had an overactive imagination. That sense of belonging I'd convinced myself of was a lie. I told you I was working a lot because I got a promotion, but I just couldn't be there knowing that I was something you ran away from.
Claire, don't touch me. You asked for the truth and I'm not done damning myself yet. Don't say anything either okay? Just, give me a moment and you won't have that look on your face anymore.
So, where was I? Oh right, the workaholic part. Somewhere along the line you found yourself a nice guy. Like I said, the walls are too thin. I cried the first time I realized that he wasn't fucking you like the others, but honestly making love to you. Guess you'll be glad to know that's when I stopped listening. He was good for you.
I never meant to sabotage the wedding. You have to believe me. I fought for your relationship because he was everything you needed. He asked me if he should propose and do you know what I said? Yes. I told him that you were having a hard time, that I couldn't get you to talk to me about it, that you were better with him around. In a twisted kind of way I was the one who convinced him to marry you in the first place.
You know that engagement ring he gave you?
It was mine.
After I realized that you'd be leaving me I gave him that ring. He really couldn't afford the wedding and I wanted to have one part of me always with you. I bought the ring years ago because you were saying how it was perfect. You said that it wouldn't matter who asked, if they had that ring, you'd say yes. It was silly, yet another ridiculous fantasy you saved me from, but I got it thinking that maybe you'd say yes to me.
Don't look at me like that. In fact, go back to looking at the table. Okay fine, then I'll stare at the table. No, no, it's just… I can't say this next part facing you.
It hurt every single time I saw you kiss because the feel of you was burned into me. That's why I was always around. You probably wouldn't understand, but I needed that pain. Something about it kept me going. If I was suffering then I was a martyr, not the selfish creature that wanted to rip the bouquets apart.
So I found a way to fix everything. The burning inside, the need to sacrifice, the lack of money, the fact that I still dreamt of you was all solved. Each time I was more convinced that he was the perfect husband. There are such brutal men in the world. So many of them want to ruin people, but I wanted to be ruined.
Can you see now why you can't touch me?
Understand though, I could never sleep with another woman because I loved you too much. Even though we weren't together, it felt like I would be cheating on you.
At times I really hated how you never knew. They didn't last long though since in the end it was my fault for never telling you. Every now and then, you would do something that gave me hope again. You hugged me so tightly and threw around words like love. I began to think that maybe it would be okay. Maybe, you loved me deep down and if I stuck around long enough you'd have another drunken night with me. Sure, a part of me wished you would stop the wedding but I swear to you that I only gave words of encouragement to people.
Right before the ceremony I had my moment of weakness. You know, that one time that it's just too much. I thought that maybe I earned the right to give in to everything and really cry over losing you. Because it was looking at that church bell that I fully understood that I was losing you. This was where my hope left me.
Church bells are rung when people die.
They were going to ring in two hours.
Claire, I never meant to talk to him. When he found me behind the bushes it was because he was looking for me. I tried to get away, I really did, but he hugged me. He hugged me and I was so lonely, so hurt, so ready for those church bells that I confessed to loving you. He said that he knew from the very beginning, but didn't think it would continue. He said that he saw what I was doing to myself. He said that he understood what I was doing for you. I'm sorry, but I couldn't deny it. I was just so tired. When he asked if I wanted you to get married I tried to lie. I lied with everything I had.
But I didn't do it good enough did I?
I've been sick on the inside ever since. Turns out that I'm just as disgusting as I was years ago. Everything felt right with you sleeping in my bed after crying. Sweeping up the things you broke in fits of anger made me smile. I could have chased him down to but I didn't. How could I after I finally got you back?
Like I said before, I can pack my stuff and be out of here by tomorrow. It's okay if you hate me. I'll understand. Claire, why are you crying? Oh god, I'm sorry. I'm really, really sorry. Please, don't look at me like that. No, please stop. Stop before I….
She was wrong. If she'd said anything when I showed those moments of affection I would have done this long ago. We've both been horribly selfish.
I hadn't forgotten a single second. She gave in just as quickly as last time, made those same desperate sounds, said the same exact words. She was so wrong about so many things, but her tears were beautiful.