My friend posted the photos on Facebook. It was a lovely wedding. The bride was pretty and her face beamed with love and joy. She looked how every bride should look on her wedding night: Happy.
I looked at the groom. He seemed happy, too, though he looked much older than when I knew him. His gray was showing and he appeared to not have missed many meals over the years. I scratched at my well-insulated six pack through my T-shirt. I guess I hadn’t either. I was happy for his sister; my friend who’d posted the photos. She had always wanted a sister. Now she had one. Was I happy for him? I honestly didn’t care. I did have a twinge of worry for the bride, though.
He was selfish and vain decades ago. He was arrogant and prideful even as late as the last conversation we had had…and deceitful and vindictive. I was the one who had been hurt. He had taken advantage of my cousin while she was drunk. I noticed. I dumped him, thankfully before I’d given him the physical love that he had been pressuring me for. And then several years later, I saw him again and he seemed like he had grown up finally. I asked about his mom and he told me that she had had a new baby and that their house wasn’t far from where we were. I went to see the family, who I had missed. I was there for maybe twenty minutes and then excused myself to go back to the club where I’d been. I was meeting a friend there to say goodbye before I moved to Europe.
The last time we spoke, he nastily called me a freak and spoke of some imaginary encounter that we had allegedly had at his mother’s home that night. He knew it was bullshit. The stuff he claimed happened has never happened; not with him or anyone else for that matter. He was just being the spiteful, venomous jerk that he had always been. And I blocked him from social media. And I cut back on my interaction with his sister. And when she posted the photos from his wedding, I thought about how things could have gone had I not walked away all those years ago and I smiled.