While I so enjoy time travel, Modern Philosophers, I always avoid taking this blog back to that period in my life when I wore a wedding ring.
It’s a time I’ve locked away in a vault with other memories that I’d rather not have running around loose inside my head.
This blog is supposed to be about life in Maine, and I was only married for about a year while I lived here. This blog is also supposed to be funny, so you might understand why I never set the time machine to take us back to the time when I was a husband.
Now that I think about it, I’m still going to avoid that period of my life because the memory I’m choosing to share happened on the morning of my wedding. The was no ring on my finger, and I was still just someone’s fiance.
Why the sudden decision to share? I was looking for something in the cabinet above the fridge when I came across a framed photo that used to sit on my desk. It was my favorite photo of my wedding day, and it had been locked away for a very long time.
Looking at that photo conjured up some memories, and I thought it might help to put them down on the blog and send them out into the world. I don’t want to try to put them back in the vault and risk allowing others to escape.
It was married in October in Cold Spring, NY. It rained on my wedding day. I know, I should’ve seen that as a bad sign, but no hopeless romantic is looking for such things on his wedding day.
I had no no connection to Cold Spring. J liked to take the train there to wander around and go antiques shopping. It was a quaint, cute town, and since she wanted to get married there, I was happy to comply.
After all this time, there is very little I remember about the day. I’ve blocked out the memories and I don’t remember the combination to vault, so I couldn’t access them even if I wanted. Of course, some things stick in my brain. Most of my family wasn’t there, and this was the beginning of the end of my relationship with them.
It was raining, but the photographer insisted on taking photos. I just wanted to get outside and do something to calm my nerves. So, we walked down to the water.
The photo, which sits on the couch next to me as I type this, is black and white. I’m not even in it. It is just J. Looking at it now, years removed from the moment, I feel tears welling up in my eyes.
I look at the 4×6 photo in its deep green frame, and I see the woman I loved so dearly back when I was young and had my whole life ahead of me. This was the girl I fell in love with when I was 18, and who was the most important person in my life for so long that I cannot believe we have barely spoken a word to each other in almost a decade.
It was taken in the park depicted on the left. Forgive me, Modern Philosophers, but I cannot open up the vaults or my heart enough to share the actual photograph.
In the wedding day photo, J is in front of the fence with the river and mountain visible behind her. She is in her favorite blue sweater (yes, I still remember the color), a pair of jeans, and her clogs.
Her head is down, her long blonde hair covering most of her face, and she has just jumped into a puddle. The ripples in the puddle can clearly be seen, but I also remember the moment. She was giggling. Like a little kid.
Here she was, in her mid-twenties, on her wedding day, and instead of being nervous and tense and stressed, J was jumping in puddles, laughing, and urging me to do the same.
The photo is moving me to tears because I’ve built up so many walls over the years to protect me from the memories of how much I used to adore J. How she made me laugh. How she was my best friend. The person who stuck with me when my family was disappearing from my life. She was the one who slept next to me every night. And was still there every morning when I awakened. The one who was there the day I met Dr. Dre and thought my writing career was about to explode. The one who comforted me when that deal fell apart. J was the one who found The House on the Hill and made it our home.
Yes, she is also responsible for so many bad memories. The ones that require such a thick door on the vault. The ones that still give me nightmares. The memories from which I have never fully recovered.
But somewhere in that very same vault are memories like this one from our wedding morning. The blonde haired girl with the freckles, who jumped in puddles and didn’t forget to be the girl I’d fallen in love with back at NYU. The woman who got me to walk into that church on the left and promise I’d love her forever…
I’m going to put the photo back in the cabinet above the fridge, and try not to think about it again. J is gone. I never thought I’d have a life in which she didn’t exist, but that is exactly what has happened. I rarely think about her, and it’s hard to even form a clear mental image of her since it’s been so long since we’ve seen each other.
And yet, she sure did make me smile on that October morning so many years ago…
God bless you for remembering the good as well as some of the bad. How does that Judy Collins (?) line go? “It’s love’s illusions I recall…?” I have one of those vaults…or something very much like it…too. It’s hard not to compare or speculate on what might have been. Now this isn’t the same temptress who is attending school across the country, is it??? I sure hope not!!!! 🙂
Goodness no! The Girl Who I Adore is not my Ex-Wife. Yikes!!!
HALLELUAH! HALLELUAH!!!!! ORT-ORT-ORT!!!! 😉
Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:
WE GUYS ARE DEEP RUNNING RIVERS AT TIMES!
Wow, that’s some depressing shit. I’m divorced and I would never have thought my ex would ever have some memories of me like that. I can say I never think of my previous marriage that way. I think my previous marriage as more a of a nightmare where I was the prisoner who gave in to the fact that I can never escape as I look out the barred window.
I guess we all have our own Deep Thoughts and memories…
Keep remembering the love–it prevents you from turning into a victim. 🙂
I’ll see what I can do. No promises. 🙂
“No promises” is an excellent start. 🙂
Okay then! 🙂
Bittersweet. Try to let go of the bitter and hold on to the sweet. In the end, those are the parts that benefit you and your peace of mind most. (I know. Easier said than done sometimes.)
The photo actually gave me an idea for a screenplay, so it might end up being sweet after all…
That’s pretty tough. Everyone has old wounds and it’s funny what rips them open. After everything I’ve gone through this last year, I refuse to look back. I don’t want to waste any time!!!! Travel light my friend!
Okay. I will.
Hope I didn’t scare you with my new gravatar! Hahaha! I felt like being a bright red head!
It’s a cute pic.
Thanks! It’s a wig. I cut my hair in the same style! It’s just not that red…
Red heads are trouble…
This is beautiful. Thank you for sharing. Time heals.
Yes, it does. And a vault helps, too. 🙂
Thanks for that window into your soul. Dying to hear “The Rest Of The Story”! : )
You’ll have to buy my memoirs. 😉
Seriously though, it’s good of you not to badmouth her, although she obviously caused you some pain.
I believe in karma…
this was a wonderful and very bittersweet post, austin. there is someone out there who is meant for you, and you for them. i had an early marriage as well, and know that it was meant to happen at the time, but that things change and there is more to come. hang in there )
I will, Beth. I know I’m a catch. 🙂
Reblogged this on The Return of the Modern Philosopher and commented:
Many years ago today, on a rainy day in New York, I exchanged wedding vows with someone who no longer speaks to me. I thought I’d share this post about a very distinct memory of that day…
Wow. That was moving. I don’t have one of those vaults; my memories just jump out and ambush me any time. But let’s not talk about me. I really enjoyed this post. Thank you for sharing part of yourself.
I’m glad you liked it. Just seemed appropriate to share it again today…
I’m sorry your marriage ended badly. But I’m glad that you can look at the good times as well as the bad. Just remember, don’t shut the door of your vault so tightly that you miss out of the good times of the future.
We shall see. My security team is determined to make sure my heart does not get breached again…
Life happens, the bad after the good, Austin. I’m glad you had this good day in Cold Spring on Long Island, my friend, but I’m sorry what happened years later turned into into a sad day.
I survived my Un-iversary. Thanks! 🙂
Wow Austin ! That is as real as it gets . I feel your sadness reading this . Thxs for sharing .
I’m glad you liked it. I saw you shared it on Twitter. Thank you!
Oh, wow. This is so achingly beautiful. Thank you for sharing this memory. You brought up the authentic emotion with such grace and a genuine kindness both for yourself and your ex. I love this.
I”m glad you enjoyed it…
Photographs are so powerful at evoking old memories, even ones not directly connected to the photo itself. Do you think.it would helpful for you to “dip into” the vault now and then to work through some of the difficult stuff? I remember I kept a memory box of my first marriage. When the marriage ended I looked through the box again which brought back both happy and painful memories, but I’m glad I did it. Sometimes allowing ourselves to feel the pain can help us move through it.