Always the Reporter, Never the Bride

Always the Reporter, Never the Bride

I know this because I listen, sometimes for two or three hours straight, to the brides and grooms as they reveal every moment of their relationship, often sharing things t so private, so raw and honest, that they would usually be reserved for siblings, best friends and maybe parents.

I’ve been sent photos of the dress, the venue, the menu and invitation. I’ve arrived before the weddings start. I’ve been the only one in the room with the bride to get pre-wedding thoughts. I’ve watched first dances, the couple moving so closely together that they are one entity, and I’ve listened to eloquent and emotional speeches and toasts.

I’ve interviewed parents, relatives and the person who introduced the couple. Couples have cried on the phone in retelling their story. They have longed for a deceased parent who can’t witness this moment or have despaired about the once-best friend or stepsibling they want to invite but for a number of reasons can’t. And I’ve witnessed families come together in ways my own never has.

With strangers, I have somehow gotten to share in something that was never mine.

Every happy couple has made me ask myself the ‘What if?” The “Can’t we give it one more shot?” But the intense desire to make our once-intoxicating love work is hit with the reality of knowing it can’t because I know my true soul mate wouldn’t treat me the way I was treated.

So, I cover these weddings and as I watch these couples interact, I soak in the simple but significant gestures I long for: a shared knowing glance, hands that magnetically clasp together, kisses that silently tell their stories. I still look around the room, taking stock of the guests, briefly wondering who else may be looking for their person.

The couple’s cherished moments remind me of the commitment my person couldn’t keep and the broken promises yet to be fixed. That longing is so thick and real that it rides home in the cab with me, a lump in my throat, and is still with me when I enter my apartment.

Experiencing other people’s lives move forward together, their dreams solidified while I’m standing on the sidelines, is often lonely and isolating. Even though I’m working at these weddings, I feel the very heavy presence of knowing I’m alone — not just at this event, but I am alone, as I see so many others partnered or surrounded by family members and friends. And so I can’t help the moments when tears creep to the surface, thinking of the future and the happiness that await these strangers I’ve grown to care about.

I cry for the vows I’ve not had the opportunity to exchange yet. And sometimes, when the bride or groom says, “I do,” I utter the same words ever so softly, a dress rehearsal for the words and sentiments I hope one day someone will say to me. I know it isn’t the wedding I need. It’s the person. The one I’m still waiting to meet. The one waiting to meet me.

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