A Father's Death, A Boyfriend's Proposal

Love, Heartbreak

Losing love and learning to let go.

By day, I flew off the handle at the slightest provocation, throwing tantrums that later embarrassed me. When the cats peed all over my Tod's driving loafers, it was somehow my fiancé's fault. When he had an opinion about the wedding—the calligraphy on the invitations, cocktails versus punch—I accused him of not trusting my judgment. I hated myself for the way I was acting, but I hated him more for not putting a stop to it. Dread of the wedding began to seep into the corners of my mind. I watched him juggling his schoolwork with a night job bussing tables and I pictured a life of deprivation. He seemed endlessly needy, emotionally and financially dependent. I felt like the success of our relationship, our social life, the management of our household, all rested upon me.

I never shared any of this with him. I was ashamed of seeming weak or petty or overly demanding-the very things of which I accused him. Nor did I confide to friends, having decided that my fears must be a normal reaction to such a huge commitment. Then, a few weeks before the blessed event, I met a close friend of mine for drinks in Union Square.

I admitted to having blocks of ice for feet. He laughed it off, saying, "All the great divas have at least one brief, failed marriage," and advised me to forge ahead.

Lots of friends and family came to the wedding. I was only the second one in my crowd to walk down the aisle, so it was still a pretty novel affair. My mother, looking beautiful in her raspberry silk dress, was unable to stand. My boyfriend and I each lit a candle for our fathers. We made our vows and sealed them with a kiss and it was all over in a blur of cake and flowers and wine and tears. That night we boarded a plane for Mexico on our way to the Caribbean coast. We arrived in time to celebrate the New Year, washing down a Snickers with champagne from the minibar. I remember feeling wiped out, tired to the bone, and frighteningly empty.