Today (in a month’s time) marks the date that could have been my 15th Wedding Anniversary.
May 17 was brought up by my mother and aunt during their recent trip and it came up by random surprise during our dinner conversation at a popular noodle restaurant last week. I nearly choked on my fish ball and managed to retain my composure. I did not remember the date at all, to my own shock, and admitted this fact to them. While my Dad continued eating in benign amusement, Mom rolled her eyes and my aunt simply stated “It must have really meant nothing to you.”
I remember that A had kept quite a few of my CDs, including one of my favorites at the time, a Julia Fordham album, which was also greatly loved by my closest friend, W, whom I shared the ‘I Forgot The Date’ story with during dinner earlier tonight. Her husband, Y, quipped, “You dodged a bullet there!” and chuckled, while my friend grinned with soft knowing eyes. Even his mother asked, “Didn’t you meet him at a book store?” to which I meekly replied, “Yes, at Barnes and Noble,” as I sat there, bewildered on how she could remember that detail.
I decided to play some of Julia’s songs as I write this, after returning home and opening my closet and staring at the top shelf, where I know my wedding dress, made of white French lace gifted from my Mom, is kept rolled up in layers of tissue in a bag, tucked deep in a corner. I decided not to look at it or try it on. I now recall getting the dress custom made by a talented young local designer, who was just starting out at the time. Getting a similar dress made by him now would probably cost a small fortune. Come to think of it, there are several lovely outfits made by this designer that I still keep, yet avoid wearing.
If I had gotten married 15 years ago, it would have been a simple ceremony in Miami, followed by a dinner reception at a charming French restaurant that had big trees with magical fairy lights. And we would have had our first dance as husband and wife to “At Last” by Etta James, selected by my then fiancée.
I barely remember the diamond engagement ring in great detail – I think it was a decent sized solitaire, with French baguettes on either side – which was returned to A, and our matching wedding bands were supposed to be pavé diamonds… or was it channel cut diamonds? Again, my memory fails me and I’ll be damned to ask my mother for these details, which she would surely remember.
I somewhat recall going through dozens of beautiful wedding invitation samples, brought back from a trip to Miami, all of which were discarded with the final chosen design, along with the many heavily earmarked bridal magazines, years ago. I recall feeling relieved that the wedding invitations had not been sent out when I decided not to go through with the wedding, although many of my extended family and closest friends had been asked months prior to save the date. I recall some of the many disputes A & I had, along with having to mediate with our parents, during our clash of Chinese and American cultures, related to wedding arrangements, dowry and other expectations.
Where did the time go? What happened? Why did I not marry A? These are questions that swirl around me.
If I had married A, would I still be married to him now? Would we be entertaining our friends like W&Y, who would visit on holiday, at our beach side place in Miami, or on a yacht in the Caribbean? Maybe. Maybe not. Who knows? I refuse to speculate or dwell on the What Ifs.
“Love Moves in Mysterious Ways” per Julia Fordham.