subject line: How I got over you. Volume 12.

 

stillwater, oklahoma.

The first time I watched My Best Friend’s Wedding, I was sure I was in for the Julia Roberts rom-com I signed up for. Girl and guy are apart for Reason A, Reason B makes it more complicated, yet they find Reason C to get back together in the end. Signed, sealed, delivered with a bowl of dutch chocolate ice cream and a box full of tissues. Well, needless to say when it jumped from the guy at the end of a wedding aisle with a different girl (Julia Roberts playing the dutiful maid of honor) to the reception, I freaked out.

WAIT WAIT WAIT. A reception means a marriage and that means Julia Roberts didn’t get the guy, and if Julia Roberts can’t get the guy how will I?! Popcorn was spilled, ice cream melted, and the rewind button pressed with a vice grip on the remote. This was not how it was supposed to end.

Ten years later I watched the same thing happen at MY best friend’s wedding. He was at the end of the aisle, tears rolling down his cheeks as the love of his life floated to him, and tears rolled down mine as I watched. I didn’t want him to look at me, not really, but a part of me ached for those big brown eyes to meet mine.

See me.
Remember me.
Think of me.
One more time.

The most beautiful day was the most heart breaking. I watched all of his dreams come true, wildly happy for him while wildly sad knowing that one upon a time he had seen me in that gown in those dreams. I was a spectator at my best friend’s wedding, and it both wrecked me and released me.

We were fourteen the first time, young and love-struck, holding hands between classes, sneaking notes in textbooks, doodling the days away dreaming of someday. Around seven months in, the fuzziest socks couldn’t warm my cold feet and I panicked. I planned. I pulled away. Somehow, by the gift of God, we remained friends. Best friends. He dated other girls, I dated other guys, yet we were a team. We worked together, performed together, worshipped together, and even went off to college together.

I never would have guessed that by introducing him to the bright eyed gal in my small group I’d hand him my replacement on a platter.
”Here. See? She’s what you want that I couldn’t be.”
Or was it what I chose not to be?

I asked that question far too many times and for too many years, so that’s not what I’m here to answer.

Remember that wedding day? That glorious occasion that left us both sobbing, my eyes on him, and his eyes on another? I celebrated and mourned, congratulated and grieved, and I even caught the bouquet. How fitting, right?

The thing is, at my best friend’s wedding, I didn’t desire to walk down the aisle to him or exchange those vows. No, he had found his match. What I was grieving wasn’t the love of my life, but the hand I had held, the shoulder I’d cried on, the musicals I had rocked out to in the car. He had replaced me, which was the most natural thing to do, yet I had no replacement for him. It had been a slow fade, but on that day the deal was sealed as I lost my best friend.

His parents ran to hug me, the pastor and I chatted over dinner, and his grandparents kissed my cheeks.
There was so much history being locked away forever.

How’s a girl to recover?
What about those pieces of my heart I gave away?
Could I get them back?
Did I want them back?
I had been over him for years, but how would I get over THIS?

It wasn’t until I carried the beautiful bouquet back to my hotel room that round two of the tears flowed. But this time, a beautiful release.

Yes, I’d given part my heart away, yes, I had stitched myself up many times before, and no I didn’t know if they were still in the box of letters he’d saved or if he had tossed those out years ago.

But I had done the brave thing.
I had pulled a Julia Roberts and danced at my best friend’s wedding anyway.
And that was the start of something new. Something unknown. Something brave. And I was in, bouquet in hand, ready for my leading role.