So, today I finally balls-upped enough to go to a website I wasn't sure I wanted to see: A-Blissful-Wedding-dot-com, which announces and gives information about the wedding of Sean Blissful* to the up-to-this-point love of my life, Alexa Marceau*. Wow, is right. She had told me about the engagement shortly after it happened, and she had told me about the website a couple of months ago, but I didn't go to it until today. If I had been avoiding it, I didn't realize it, but when I stop and look back on just how many hours upon hours I've wasted in the last two months puttering around the many useless sites on the internet, and I didn't look at this one until just today? Come on. Who was I kidding?
I realized it when I typed in the web address and caught myself holding my breath before I hit "enter". Then I realized it even more when the site came up. My breathing was even, I didn't fidget, and probably continued blinking as if I were reading a movie review; I have a good poker face. In front of me, though, was a photograph of the woman I once believed I would marry and have kids with, smiling and kissing Sean Blissful. It immediately occurred to me that I'd never even seen his face before, but there they were, together; my old girl, and the man she's been with since a few days after we kissed each other goodbye. Five years ago. Man, oh man.
On the computer screen, I moved the pointer to the box that read "PHOTOS", and I gave it a click. I readied myself for a barrage of images of the couple rolling around in the tall grass; running through the woods, barefoot, laughing; starchilly posed, as if at a prom; kissing on the mossy banks of a picturesque Canadian lake; I was ready to face that, but instead, up popped a little sign that said "(photos) Coming Soon…", and I breathed a little sigh of relief, despite myself.
I'd been invited to the wedding. She'd sent me a "Save The Date" card, and she told me that it would mean a lot to her to have me there, and I'd told her that I'd be there if I could. I meant it. At the time, I meant it. A few weeks ago, though, I sent her a letter telling her that I would not be attending, and it asked her blessing, or really, asked her to release me without guilt. I didn't make up any excuses; I just told her the truth (as I've always done). How could the first time I see her again after five years be at her wedding (to someone I'd never met, no less)? Perhaps it would be different if we'd been living in the same city all this time, going out for tea every now and then, and we had a real, tangible friendship which did not exist solely on paper and telephone wires, but we don't. We're comforting voices to each other; voices which conjure up a host of powerful memories, good and bad, but can we really consider ourselves friends until we see each others' faces again? Until we've hugged, or sat down and heard each other talk without any static or feedback for the first time in half a decade?
Regardless of whatever the answers to those questions may be, she released me from my promise with as little guilt as possible, for which I am very grateful.
All this has got me thinking a great deal about love. I suppose I'm always thinking a great deal about love (as I am a bit of a sap), but these recent events have altered the flow of my thinking a bit, at least on the surface (like new rocks placed at the bottom of a river, if that makes any sense). I went out to dinner with a good friend last night, and we talked almost exclusively about love and relationships. I suppose I'm going through a phrase where I'm trying to figure out (or decide?) what I believe in with regards to love and dating and all that. Life is so much easier for us humans when we can fit things into blanket statements and aphorisms; you just toss 'em into a box, and then you don't have to think about them anymore. It's convenient, and it's easy, but I don't think I believe it. Life is scarier when you look at all of the exceptions to every rule. One may panic sometimes when they feel like they don't "know" anything to be written in stone (which is, incidentally, breakable). They'll see all the true chaos in the world. I prefer life that way, though, because when you can look at it calmly, you can see that if there are no hard and fast rules binding the world around you (which is what makes it dangerous), then there are no hard and fast rules binding you, either. Floating in the sea may be frightening, but floating in a sea of endless possibility and wonder… that's another thing. That's freedom. That's life. There is no path to take, only a direction to turn in. The possibilities are as endless as our imaginations.
* Note: "Sean Blissful" and "Alexa Marceau" are fictitious names.