Hurt and embarrassed, I sat in the first class cabin of a Boeing 707. I was heading to Tennessee, anxiously awaiting my parents’ embrace. Although I’d managed to suppress tears all day, my eyes were swollen and puffy—revealing five nights of uncontrollable bawling.
As the flight attendant announced the emergency procedures, I crossed my legs and realized I was wearing two different tennis shoes. I hadn’t even bothered packing a suitcase, only a carryon with a couple outfits. I knew those probably wouldn’t match either, but I didn’t care. I just needed to get away from New York City, away from my heartache.
The plane began its ascent and I exhaled. Two hours and thirty minutes away. Two hours, thirty minutes, and fifty five seconds away.
I tried to keep my mind occupied: I flipped through a worn copy of Sky Mall magazine, watched the woman across from me paint her toes orange, and ordered Rum & Coke.
I was tempted to pull out my laptop to get a head start on the latest Matthew McConaughey movie, but I couldn’t do it. I wasn’t in the mood to write a movie review, especially for a romantic comedy.
“That’ll be twelve dollars, Mrs. Scofield,” the flight attendant smiled as she handed me a drink.
I wasn’t sure if it was the twelve dollar price tag for a six ounce glass, or hearing her voice linger on “Mrs.” for more than half a second, but I began to cry.
Five days ago, I was standing at the altar with my fiancé, Sean Scofield. He was everything I wanted in a man—kind, loving, supportive, successful. He was also one of the most attractive men I’d ever met.
I gazed into his bright blue eyes and recited my vows. “Sean, you are my first and only love. When we met six years ago, I had no idea that the guy I tripped over on the subway would end up being my husband. I wake up every morning and think of you, of us, of how wonderful these six years have been. I look forward to spending the rest of my life with you and I promise to cherish, love, and respect you forever.”
A soft applause arose from the audience and Sean smiled at me. I broke our gaze and took in the venue.
The theme for our wedding was Old Hollywood. Sean had spent over three hundred thousand dollars to bring everything to life: the aisle’s red carpet, the white Marilyn Monroe-inspired bridesmaid dresses and Humphrey Bogart tuxedos, the twenty piece orchestra, the thirty thousand red and white roses, the faux paparazzi, and the chandelier modeled after the one in Phantom of the Opera. We’d even taken three months of dance lessons to nail the routine from Dirty Dancing at the reception.
I turned to face Sean once more. His bright blue eyes were gleaming, his short sun kissed hair was brushed away from his face, and his wide smile hadn’t faded since I walked down the aisle.
Suddenly, I remembered all the times he showed up on campus to surprise me, all the times the other girls would fawn over him and jealously whisper as we walked hand in hand.
“Melody,” he said. “I loved you the first day we met. I’ve known that you were the woman I wanted to spend the rest of my life with ever since. Every day we’re together is amazing and I look forward to every day after today. I promise to love you, respect you, cherish you, and protect you until death do us part. I love you.”
I felt my cheeks redden and squeezed his hands.
“I love you too,” I whispered.
“If there is anyone here today who feels that these two should not be wedded in holy matrimony,” the pastor adjusted the microphone, “please speak now or forever hold your peace.”
I took one step towards my almost-husband and squeezed his hands again.
“Excuse me!” a voice cried out.
I turned to face the audience as whispers and murmurs filled the room. A woman wearing a long pink dress was making her way down the aisle.
As she neared the altar, I noticed her eyes were bloodshot and her face was pale, sickly pale. Her frizzy blonde hair, which hung just below her chin, looked as if it hadn’t been combed in days.
Who is this bitch?
The blonde bitch stood in front of the two of us, looking at me and then at Sean. It seemed like she was just going to stand there, as if her sole purpose of interrupting was to see if she could stall a wedding.
I noticed my sister signaling for security out the corner of my eye, but the blonde bitch began to speak.
“Sean,” she sighed.
He knows her? Is this the friend that was sent to the psych ward two years ago?
“I do love you,” she cried. “I am in love with you. The other night I wasn’t completely sure but I know now. And I know that this is the worst possible timing and I’m sorry, but I…It’s not too late Sean. Tell me I’m not too late.”
The room fell unnervingly silent, no doubt so everyone could absorb every single syllable that fell out of Sean’s mouth. There were no more hushed conversations, no more muffled murmurs. Just silence.
Sean stood motionless. He didn’t even blink. He just stood there, staring at blonde bitch. After what felt like an eternity, he let my hands go and shook his head.
“I’m sorry Melody. I’m so sorry, but I can’t do this…Please don’t hate me,” he said as he stepped down.
I couldn’t feel the tears falling down my face, but I knew they were there. I couldn’t feel my heart stop, but I knew it was only a matter of seconds before I collapsed.
I looked at my sister, who was shouting at Sean and blonde bitch as they walked down the aisle hand in hand. I saw my parents rushing towards me, but I didn’t want anyone around. I wanted to run away. I wanted to hide.