One minute we’re Sunday brunching, and the next I’m seasoning my omelette with fresh, hot tears. If you’re lucky enough to be sitting within earshot of us, I want to thank you for fighting the urge to start live tweeting. I know you at least consider it, but you do the decent thing. You just keep raising your brows at your own companion and feel better about your own relationship. In the car you might voice your pity for the poor guy whose girlfriend silent cries at the mention of a hypothetical wedding! You just know they weren’t “I’m so happy we’re talking about this” tears. You win, because even though I truly am so happy to have a partner who doesn’t shift in his seat when I casually bring up our future (and even sometimes initiate discussions on the topic), they aren’t those kind of tears.
These are the tears of a girl whose vision of her future is not lining up with the reality that’s unfolding. Sure, I’m lucky to have found someone who doesn’t miss a beat when I openly weep in restaurants. Someone who finds this sort of display of emotion endearing? Someone who will calmly wait for the moment to pass before asking me what’s going on and listen without a need to defend when I am finally able to tell him that I hate that this wedding is not his first. And there it is.
I’m not one for overgeneralizing, but I think it’s a safe bet that kids don’t grow up imagining the day they become someone’s second spouse. There’s a certain magic in firsts. No one dreams that they’ll be planning a wedding with someone who has already toured the venues, tasted the cakes, lost sleep over the seating chart. You don’t ever worry that your future partner might resist a registry because his friends and family sprung for the toaster/blender/serving pieces once before, and look how that turned out. Girls who always assumed they’d take a trip down the aisle never once consider that they won’t be the first woman in white to ever walk toward the man at the end of it… even if those same little girls grow into their introverted, feminist selves and decide they’d probably rather not walk anywhere toward anyone, but maybe just, like, stand together or something? I digress.
This is where we are. I’m equal parts disappointed, terrified, insecure, and elated. It’s all very complex, and after we’ve closed the curtains on the brunch theater production of “The Brattyest Brat,” starring me as myself, I come to the conclusion that in this sense, I’m probably not as far from where the pre-engaged adult of my young mind’s creation would be anyway. I raise my head to meet the patient, only slightly concerned gaze of the man across from me. A man whose inner child might also be slightly distraught by the current state of things. A man who, as a boy, did not spend hours fantasizing about the dissolution of his future marriage. A man whose parents never advised him to put some money aside in case he needed to retain a good divorce attorney one day. A man who never built himself a separate lego house across playroom from his future ex-wife’s. A man who has never once pointed this out to me as I bemoan the injustice of it all. I really wish I could say it’s the first time this has happened.
I’m not the only one here whose life is not plotting on course according to the tiny tyrant within, I’m just the only one crying about it. In public. Okay, so now is when I tell you that it doesn’t matter at all that he’s been married before, I’m just so glad we found each other and get to be together now because that is all that matters, and I swear I’ll never cry about it again! But you guys… I’m only human. I mean, think about the turmoil and angst that will ensue when we are actually engaged and are planning an actual real wedding. The best I can do is promise that I probably won’t cry about it again today. For now though, I have never wanted to be second in anything as much in my life.