fool: a person who keeps doing the same thing and expects different results. ~Albert Einstein

After 6 months of being engaged, of trying to convince myself that the wedding was the thing I was getting stuck up on and not the act of marrying Dexter, I finally started getting honest with myself. I wrote in my journal:

“The truth speaks to us in whispers.”

My follow-up to that statement is ignore it long enough and it will hit you like a motherfucking train. So I came home one day after work, told Dexter about Billy, explained that I needed some time and space to get perspective on things and in order to do that, I needed to move out. Just for a month.

Then I gave back the ring. I told Dexter to hold onto it and we would re-evaluate the engagement after my sabbatical. Dexter was understanding. He was astute enough to know that I needed to do this, for the sake of our relationship, so he supported it.

The next step was telling my family and friends. The only problem was it was the day before one of my best friend’s wedding, which was a 3-day affair, out of town. I went to the wedding alone, but in order to avoid detracting from the event, I wore my ring and told people Dexter couldn’t make it due to work obligations.

The morning of the wedding, I called my mom and like all moms, she immediately knew something was up. So I told her Dexter and I were taking a little break.

“So you’re breaking up.”

“No, I just said we’re taking ‘a break.’ It’s not permanent.

“Okay, but let me just remind you, it can get lonely being single and you’re not getting any younger.”

In retrospect, the episode makes me laugh, mainly because I had expected unconditional support from my mother when I called her up. I should have known better. I curtly thanked her for the chat and told her I had to go. Then I hung up the phone and started bawling. After a good 5 minutes, I pulled it together and went back to my hotel room. I put on my running clothes and got “lost” on a farm road in the middle of nowhere. I kept asking myself the same thing: am I crazy? Am I doing the right thing? Or am I just being a fool?

I didn’t come to any conclusions. But I did feel better.

I was fortunate enough that my best friend from college was also at the wedding. And she was gracious enough to allow me to stay with her and her husband for that evening, without asking any questions. The last thing I wanted to do was be alone in a hotel room at friend’s wedding. If I can say anything about my friends, it’s that in such moments, they know how to circle the wagons. I went to the room, got dressed, and made my merry way to the wedding’s kickoff cocktail hour.

I’ve always had a blasé toleration of weddings. Since I’ve never dreamed of one for myself, am not a conservatively religious being, and I am too pragmatic for all the pomp and circumstance they assume, what they really offer me is the opportunity to socialize and drink. So that’s what I did.

The pendulum swung from me bawling in the business center of the hotel to me floating around this Gatsby-like affair with an incredible lightness of being. The bars had been lifted. I was in love with life.

Now technically, even though I was wearing an engagement ring, I was free to conduct myself however I saw fit. I didn’t give much thought to the fact that no one at the wedding knew of my current status with Dexter.

With my mother’s “expiring milk carton” comment fresh in my mind, I became immediately fixated on the topic of discussion amongst all the ladies (married and single alike) at the wedding. The hot orthopedic surgeon. Within five minutes of starting a conversation with him, I had him crouched down before me, examining my ankle and calf.

While I am marginally attractive, there were certainly more beautiful women at the wedding than me. I did, however, have the advantage of a significantly-sized engagement ring, which the hot doctor said he didn’t notice until much later in the evening. By the end of the evening, we were making out against his car in the parking lot of the hotel. And in my mind, I was explicitly holding up my middle finger and directing it at my mother.

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