I have this picture.
I found it yesterday, buried deep in the bottom of shoebox, stored inside the trunk where all of my pictures are kept, along with my favorite pieces of the boys' schoolwork and projects, and misc Mother's Day cards.
I had forgotten all about this picture. This picture of 5 couples, faded and bent, was taken at one of our weddings of our small group. The men, boys really, were all roommates through college and after. As one would rotate out of the apartment, another would find his way in, yet the group never really got larger - it was always the same 5 guys.
This picture bothers me but i can't throw it away. Kind of like an accident on the freeway, I stare at it, not really wanting to see what's right before my eyes, but unable to look in the opposite direction.
There was so much there to see if we had kept our eyes open and been honest with ourselves. maybe even honest with our friends. I mean that's what good friends do, right? We're supposed to be the ones who say the truth even if it's hard to hear. We didn't do that with each other. We didn't do that with ourselves.
Everyone of us is now divorced from our other half in that picture. Looking back now, hindsight being 20/20 and all (funny how that works) - i am not surprised.
The bride and groom in the picture - the bride decided she had chosen the wrong gender to be partnered to. Up and left a year after their wedding and moved in with her girlfriend. My best friend and her husband that are to their right in the photograph - he was my ex's best friend - he left her for another woman ( I posted about that situation here). The couple next to them, he refused to work, she supported him financially and emotionally and then couldn't take anymore and left. Then there were the "seniors" of the group. They had gotten married first - and had 2 little girls by the time this picture was taken. He decided he played for the other team too. And lastly, there is me and my ex. We had only been married 6 months. I was SO happy. But choosing to ignore what was in front of me - he was not happy. Did not want to be married. But i had forced the issue thinking once we were married he would realize that it was what he had wanted all along. stupid, i know.
I guess I'm bringing this all up because i have this friend that got divorced 3 years ago (not one of the picture people- more recent friend) and the other day she sent me an email and said how her ex-husband's leaving her took her totally by surprise. She was still in shock. She was planning on retiring in a couple of years with him by her side. They were planning their first daughter's wedding when he dropped the news on her.
I love my friend. But really? She REALLY didn't see? Someone that you lived with for 25 years ups and says one day - i really don't love you, i haven't loved you for a long time and i'm leaving, and you DIDN'T HAVE A CLUE THAT WAS COMING? How is that possible?
Looking back at that photo yesterday, i knew that 2 in our group needed to "come out". We knew most of us weren't prepared and some of us were pressuring others to commit when what we should have done was back off and grow up - but we went on bachelor and bachelorette parties and stood with them at the altar and never uttered a peep. Never pulled them aside and said "please please get somewhere quiet for a few days and THINK THIS THROUGH. This is serious business mister. Nope, we all just wanted to play grown up and buy our houses and have our babies.
I worry about my friend because i don't want her to go down another path with someone else and not evaluate where she's going and who she's going with. I want her eyes open and I want her to be honest with herself about what and who is staring back at her. That kind of responsible honesty we owe ourselves - don't you think? There comes a time when you go ok, THAT was a flag.
Because if i'm honest with myself - looking back at situation - i had a clue. i had numerous clues. But i chose to be an ostrich. That worked out well. Not again.
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