When Taylor told me you were engaged to be married, I stopped breathing. I haven’t cried that way in years- it wouldn’t stop, and the tears were so big it felt as if you’d died. I was mourning for the life I thought I’d live. In some strange way I still imagined the two of us together, defying the odds and making it out on the other side of the arranged marriage ideas and differing religions. I firmly believed that when Taylor said ‘Ahmed is engaged,’ she’d be congratulating me.
But, so it goes, as Vonnegut would say. It wasn’t me. And last Friday you got married, evidence in the form of photos and videos on every website. And guess what? I saw none of them. It shocked me to hear my friends discussing it, asking if it bothered me. I somehow missed it all. The night you got married to a woman who was not I was a night I spend too drunk to look at my phone. While you were exchanging vows, my arms were looped into a stranger’s, my head thrown back trying not to taste the Absolut.
How different our lives have turned out to be, and I’ve thought all this time (am still thinking, somehow) that they were so similar, that we’d lead our lives together. You’re married to a woman who I’ve envied my entire life- a woman who gets to receive an incredible love. You’re the man, it seems to be, that I’ve always imagined you’d turn into. I just thought it’d be me on the other end of those vows, my reflection in your dark pupils, me making you smile. But instead of getting married, I spent that Friday night hooking up with a stranger, a man who was reckless and beautiful and so far away from who you are. He gave me hickies the entire width of my neck, and I laughed as it happened, laughed and bit my way through your wedding, through the photos and videos which all would have reduced me to ash.
I imagine the events of your wedding, the itinerary of the night. Perhaps you were dancing with her, your last dance of the night, as I was miles away, stepping out of a floor-length black dress, stepping into a shower that wasn’t mine. Perhaps she winked at you at the exact moment his eyes searched my body, his head nodding. There are memories of you that I’ve already forgotten: smells, outfits, dinners, conversations. I wish I would’ve catalogued them all so as to never forget the beauty you gave my world. But I’ve learned to do that now, to observe and to reflect even as the moment is happening.
I used to dream of the wedding we’d have. But the details are somewhat lost on me now, floating in the space of my soul you will always inhabit. I don’t know the intricacies of your wedding night. But that Friday night for me was one I remember in great detail-
Me: lips so purple they were black, ‘let it be’ showing through my dress, taunting, begging; sweaty, sweaty, more than half drunk, black eyeliner, body arched like a cat’s.
Him: more than half drunk, hair stuck to his forehead, stuck at the top of his head in a bun; salsa dancing, drink falling onto the floor, facial hair perfect, all of his details melting into one: a tattoo, a Cherokee sun tattooed on his chest, red and back, my fingers there, and soon everywhere.
Laughing. Water ruining my makeup, not caring, laughing into the water, into his chest, licking the tattoo. Drunk. Hard kisses on my neck, ones that would leave marks, not caring, laughing. Confirmations of my beauty, my body arching in response, the feeling of being worshipped, drunk, laughing. He’s laughing and he smells like sweat and Jack Daniels and his hair is long and blonde, his eyes so dark- never thought I could be this attracted to dark eyes. My fingers in his hair which is in his face, in the way- sliding his hair into my hairtie, him laughing, asking how I did that so sensually, everything sensual, feeling the sexiest I’ve ever felt, drunk, laughing, naked in a beach hat.
The memories exist in small snippets, a black out with a few stars still sparkling so bright. Tell me, why do the memories I have of him and that Friday night shine brighter now than the Friday Wedding I’d imagined (the two of us) for years?