Where nothing goes right, everything is bad, nothing looks good.
Your hair is jacked up, you can’t find a good parking space, you got kicked out of your apartment.
Basically, you get served a big old poop sandwich.
And you have to eat your poop sandwich.
Because there is nothing else left in the refrigerator.
|Oh so young and stupid.|
I had a week like that in the summer of 1993.
Here is some back story:
I was engaged to be married that summer to a man I wasn’t supposed to be married to.
I knew it, he knew it, the Universe knew it but we kept plugging along anyway.
I met my then fiancé on my own, I used to say through my brother because he worked with my brother but a little-known fact to many outside my family is that I worked with him for a week when I first moved to Chicago in 1989 at a chiropractic clinic.
I lasted only a week because the doctor gave me the heebie-jeebies.
But I remembered my then fiancé when my brother re-introduced me two years later while I was recovering from wisdom teeth removal surgery on my parents’ couch.
I listlessly lifted up my hand as he walked by, he stared at me, our eyes met and I was like KEEP ON MOVIN’ PRETTY BOY, and the rest was history, as they say.
Two years later, we were getting ready to walk down the aisle.
But it wasn’t an easy path.
We argued, a lot.
He was my transition boyfriend, not THE boyfriend.
I dated him too soon after breaking up with my high school sweetheart.
I should never have committed to him, to be fair to him or myself.
But here we were, picking out china, trying on rings and planning our futures.
|My friend/co-worker/ bridesmaid Wendy. And those things on our heads are called bangs.|
It was two weeks before our wedding that the Universe started throwing up flares so bright that only stupid me would walk right over.
After a beautiful wedding shower, my friend Pam threw, we all went to a comedy club for a bachelorette party for a night of fun.
You need an ID to get in and of course, all of my bridesmaids were of “age” so it wasn’t a problem and I didn’t even think to ask anyone if they had theirs before they left Pam’s home which was a good hour from the club.
When we got there, my one “friend” and her sister got out of their car and she said ” oops, I forgot my ID” guess I can’t come” then they both left.
She was one of my closest friends, so of course, that upset me that she couldn’t be there and it was more the way she said it than the fact that she could go in.
Not like OMG, I AM SO SORRY LET’S DO SOMETHING ELSE instead more like OOPSIES GOTTA RUN BUH BYE!
|By the way, I should have ended the friendship when she made us wear these dresses.|
Fast forward a week later, she comes into my workplace (which was a department store so it was fine to do so), I think I was in a fitting room when a co-worker and fellow bridesmaid came to me to tell me that my friend was there to see me.
I went out to see her and here is where it gets a little fuzzy because 20 years ago she starts telling me that I ruined her wedding day six months prior because she had found out I didn’t like her husband on the day of HER bridal shower.
So she wanted to ruin MY bachelorette party.
Makes total sense to me.
I won’t bore you with the rest so basically, this is what happened:
Me- YOU ARE SOOOO OUT OF MY WEDDING.
A day later, I went out to my car after work and the window was shattered.
My car radio was gone.
Only I didn’t say fuuuuuuuuudge.
My friend /bridesmaid/coworker was there and the whole time we looked at each other and were thinking the same thing.
You be the judge.
|Me at my bridal shower days before the crap hit the fan. Those are two of my girls right there beside me. Don’t know what I would’ve done without them.|
I know cops were called, statements were taken.
I had a badass headache and my friend Wendy drove me home.
I remember it was a cloudy June day.
I remember falling into my parents’ arms as I told them about what had happened.
Did I tell you that my fiance and I were fighting this entire week
and hadn’t talked on the phone or in person for a solid five days at this
Yeah, so there’s that.
That is when my dad says, THAT IS IT.
He called my fiance on the phone at the fire station where he worked because if a man’s voice called he might take the call as he was freezing me out because FIGHTING WITH FIANCEE.
My dad immediately handed the phone to me and I said to him:
“I don’t care. And I don’t want to marry you. I don’t love you.”
Didn’t you heaaaar about myyyyy baddddd dayyyyyy???
” I don’t know if I ever loved you.”
Now that last statement was just unnecessary.
But I don’t remember anything he said after that because I passed out and fell to the floor.
The next memory I have is of lying on my parents’ couch.
My mom had called my doctor and got me Valium.
My dad had called all of my friends to rally around me.
I might have gotten those two roles reversed because passed out on the floor but you see the love that surrounded me.
They paged my brother (remember pagers?!?!) who was watching a boxing match with friends.
He left his friend’s apartment (my now husband) and headed home to be there and was organizing a search party to kick said former fiances ass. ( I wish I were kidding. No, I don’t)
Amid all of this chaos and nightmare and just drama, this is what I vividly remember: the love.
The next few days were painful but recalling this really crappy week some 21 years later, all I can remember is love.
This unconditional love that only the people who totally and completely have your back can give you.
Weirdly enough, I now look back fondly at this week.
I have never experienced this amount of love, devotion, and back-having in my entire life.
I woke up from my Valium haze later that evening and I
remember gazing upon a room full of amazing people surrounding me, wondering how they even got there because of VALIUM.
I remember all of us going to the apartment I was to share with my fiance.
Like this pissed off jilted fiancé witch hunt.
God bless the people who got in the way of that caravan.
I remember once inside the apartment, dumping my entire beloved cassette tape collection in the garbage, I was so angry.
I remember my mom, dad, brother, brother’s friends, and my bridesmaid’s going from room to room and pulling out all my things: stuffed animals, Madonna Truth or Dare on VHS, grapevine wreaths, shoe boots and wanting to torch the entire apartment.
Which is ironic since my former fiance was a firefighter.
I still regret dumping my entire cassette tape collection.
In the days after, I recall walking around my mom and dad’s house in a haze of emotions.
What just happened? What will people think? What do I do now?
But I didn’t need to worry about that because those I loved had my back.
I remember my brother’s familial rage that someone did this to his sister.
I can still hear him say, “you don’t mess with my family”.
I remember a close family friend bringing soup from a favorite local restaurant and stacks of gossip magazines.
I remember my mom taking care of me, checking on me as I
slept, worrying about my emotional state.
Her lovingly redecorating my bedroom with new comforters and decor to make it
special since I was all of a sudden living at home longer than I
I remember my dad writing the most loving, kind and gracious letter to our many friends and family members who were
to come to a wedding in less than two weeks informing them that it was no longer happening.
My parents handled every single thing.
I had to do nothing.
No going to venues and canceling, no talking with photographers, not one thing.
As a parent now, I can now appreciate all they did.
I did then but not to the magnitude and to the extent that I do now.
Thank you, mom and dad, eternally.
The summer of ’93 was bittersweet to me, a turning point summer really.
There was the bad at the beginning of the summer, well bad to me at that time but it was good in bad’s clothing.
I remember my brother teaching me how to drive a stick shift in the high school parking lot the weekend before my soon to be ex-fiancé called the wedding off.
We were laughing and listening to Whoomp There It Is and singing at the tops of our lungs.
I will never forget that.
|Me on my “honeymoon” in Michigan.|
I won’t ever forget taking a trip to northern Michigan with my mom and dad, scheduled over the weekend of my intended wedding date.
My parents planned it to get me away, shield me from being anywhere near a limo, a wedding bell or a taffeta dress that weekend.
In addition to working two jobs, writing an inspiring regret letter and running all over God’s green Earth canceling wedding plans, they also found time to book hotels in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to get me away on a “honeymoon” as well.
My parents are so much better than your parents and I mean that in the best possible way.
I remember organizing a massive field trip to Taste of Chicago with my kick-butt friends and many more to get me “out there” again.
To show everyone that I was okay, normal even, that I could laugh, have fun, be a 23-year-old.
I also remember meeting my someday husband that night, thinking he was really cute and funny and a little annoying as well.
Exactly how I feel about him today some 22 years later.
I remember returning to work after my “honeymoon” to co-workers who showered me with hugs, took me out to lunch and covered shifts for me.
It was this summer that I officially fell in love with Chicago after living here for four years.
It was the first time in years that I actually felt like I was living.
People occasionally ask when Illinois became home to me and I believe it was that summer.
Those amazing human beings that grabbed a hold of me to keep me from slipping.
The power of human love, touch, and support is completely underrated in our society.
Much better than any drug could provide for me.
It is from this love that I recovered with very few emotional scars.
I had “my people”.
We had this.
The man who broke my heart in the summer of 1993 did me a huge favor.
He gave me one of the best summers of my life.
At the time, I would have thought that sentence was just plain outrageous.
But now, I can look back with clarity and see what that summer was.
A gift with a poop sandwich appetizer.