A wedding is supposed to be one of the happiest days in a person’s life. It’s when two become one, and “I”s become “we”s. It’s the day you bring all your loved ones together, in one place to celebrate the magic and power that is romantic love. It’s a day that is supposed to be filled with pure joy and bliss. I’m a true believer in that love and it’s a day I hope to experience at some point in my life.
In just about 22 days, I’ll be attending one of those happiest days. I’ll get up at the crack of dawn to get my hair and makeup done by a random hairdresser with the rest of the bridal party. I’ll rush around helping the bride complete last minute to-dos, while trying to keep her calm the entire time. I’ll help herd a small group of 20-something females into acting like they can actually stand being around one another for more than 5 minutes. I’ll slap a big old smile on my face, even though I’ll be running around like a chicken with my head cut off. I’ll do it all.
I’ll do it all on that hot August day because I’m the maid of honor. Doing all of that is part of my “job” for the day. It’s what I signed up for when I agreed to be in this wedding for one of my dearest college friends. It’s what I bargained for, so I’ll do it. I’ll slap that smile on my face and muster through. I’ll make appropriate facial expressions that exude my cheerfulness for the day. Hell, I may even shed a tear. Outwardly, I will appear as happy as can be.
Inwardly, I’ll be screaming at the top of my lungs “Don’t do it.”
You see this day of bliss that I’ve been talking about should not be taking place. Not. At. All. For the last 9 months, I’ve been riding shotgun on the ride that’s taking one of my dearest friends straight to hell. She’s making the biggest mistake of her life, and I’ve agreed to a front row seat. We’re both screwed, but I’m not the one who’ll be standing up on that altar pledging my life to the wrong person.
The worst person.
She’s vowing her life to someone who’s done the worst possible things to her. Things you can’t go back from. I’m talking along the lines of refusing to accept the word no in situations where NO means NO. Their relationship is far from healthy, and it’s much closer to downright toxic. I don’t claim to be an expert on relationships, but I know that theirs is not a good one.
Both of their pasts are littered with dark and twisty places. All of ours are, but they’ve got more darkness in their past than I would wish upon anyone. But their pasts have lead them both to being in a downright horrifying relationship. One that’s filled with broken promises, hurt, abuse across the board, and more red flags than you can shake a stick at.
Despite all of this though, they’re getting married. In 22 short days, they’re going to pledge their “love” to one another in front of friends, family, God, and whomever else might be watching. All the while, I’ll be up on that altar with them wishing I wasn’t there. Wishing she wasn’t up there pledging to love someone who is the ultimate destructiveness to her light. Wishing that the circumstances of their lives hadn’t put these two people together. Wishing that my dear friend would realize she’s worth way more than this.
I’ve told her all of this. Time and time again I tell her that it’s never too late to change her mind, no matter how far in deep she thinks she is. I’ve talked to her on end about this. I’ve talked to others about this until I am red in the face with anger or near tears. I’ve agonized over this looming event that has no business taking place. I’ve screamed, I’ve yelled, and I’ve cried over this path she’s chosen.
I’ve also listened. I listened when she told me about all the horrendous and vile things he’s done to her over the course of their relationship. I listened when she told me about having second thoughts, and having feelings for another person. I listened when she told me she felt better with someone who wasn’t her fiancé. I listened when she finally opened up about her past growing up. I listened and I absorbed it all.
We’ve had these conversations multiple times over the last few months as her wedding day nears. I’ve told her that she should read the signs for what they are, and should realize she’s not in a healthy relationship. I’ve told her that what she’s endured is not okay, and that these instances of pure evil are red flags. I’ve told her I don’t care if she wants to leave 5 seconds before she walks down the aisle. If she wants to go, I’ll take her.
I’d do anything for her. She’s one of my closest friends, and I care for her so much. I hate that she’s choosing this. I hate that she thinks this is all she’s worth. I fucking hate that she thinks this is what a relationship with someone should be like.
I hate that she thinks this is what love is.
What she has with him isn’t love. Its fear.
That fear has continued to build since she was young, and in those dark and twisty places. It stems from so many things, but has catapulted her self-esteem to an all-time low. The fear of never having something to hold onto has pushed her into the worst case scenario. That fear has also put someone who is the epitome of sweet and light, in one of the darkest places you can find.
How am I supposed to watch someone I love and care for walk down the wrong path, towards danger without trying to save them? One of our mutual friends suggested an intervention, since many people in her life feel this way about her relationship. I would love to think that would do something, that it would rouse a change of heart out of her. Honestly though, if she doesn’t see that it’s not okay what he’s done to her and what he continues to do, I don’t think we’ll be able to convince her.
You can hold the mirror up to someone’s face and you can make them look, but you can’t really make them see unless they want to.
She doesn’t want to see.
I don’t know what to do anymore. I love my friend, and I will be there for her always, but I don’t know how to stand up with her on that happiest day and watch her sign her death certificate. He may not kill her, but every day she’s with him, her happiness and her light will dim a little more. Slowly but surely it’ll fade away, until one day she’s a shell of who she once was. And that’s the best case scenario if she stays with him.
I shudder to think of what the worst case scenario is.
So where do we go from here?
I’m still there for her, and I want to continue to be as long as I can. I’ll keep telling her how I feel, and she’ll keep defending him. I’ll keep reminding her that she’s worth so much freaking more than this, and she’ll keep denying it. I’ll tell her it’s never too late, and she’ll say she knows that, even when she continues to feel that it is too late. I’ll tell her love isn’t supposed to be like this, and she’ll just repeat to me that she loves him.
I would yell and scream and jump up and down in front of her if I thought that would help. I would talk to her until we were both blue in the face if I thought that would help. I would do anything to stop this day from happening because I don’t want to lose her to this darkness. I don’t want her to slip further away. I don’t want to get a call someday to come identify her. I don’t want to watch her give up like this.
22 days from now I will be the maid of honor on someone’s happiest day. I will smile in pictures, and wear an awful dress that can never be worn again. I will eat crappy wedding food, and pose for way too many pictures. I will watch as two individuals vow to tie themselves together legally, emotionally, and spiritually until the end of their lives.
I’ll do all of this with a smile on my face and a twinkle in my eye, all the while I’ll be screaming on the inside. I’ll spend the day wishing this all wasn’t so. I may even shed a tear, but it sure as hell won’t be a happy one. It’ll be one filled with pain and anger and sympathy.
This is supposed to be the happiest day in a person’s life. Something tells me though, this’ll be one of the worst, and that it’s the beginning of the end. I made my choice to stand by her, and she’s made hers.
22 days from now there’s no going back, and that scares me to death.