I try to maintain the illusion of grace. It doesn’t always (often?) work, but I do try. This weekend I didn’t succeed quite as well as I’d have liked.
Saturday was the first wedding I’ve attended as a single adult. Ever. I confided in another single girl on the shuttle to the ceremony. She had never attended a wedding with anyone else and had some good tips for those awkward moments I didn’t know to expect: how to bow out when a fast song changes to a slow song, how to decline when someone else’s husband offers you a pity dance. I listened, but truthfully I was so excited about the wedding, so happy for my friends who are in love and certain of what they’re doing (which I was not), that I didn’t really consider the ways I ought to modify my typical, coupled behavior.
I drank too much. I mean, who doesn’t drink too much at weddings? (I always drink too much at weddings.) But, I am used to having someone there who will make sure I get home safe and don’t make a spectacle. Not this time.
During the reception I began catching up with other old friends who I hadn’t seen recently, certainly not since all the changes of the last year. That’s where I got a little out of hand.
Most people are genuinely shocked about the breakup, and sad. We seemed like a loving, stable couple; for a long time, we were. Telling someone makes me feel a lot of things. Guilt, disappointment, and defiance, for starters. Why defiance? Because I feel compelled to prove that I’m okay, that I did right by myself. The little chip on my shoulder burns, and I have. To. Show. Them.
I didn’t realize I was doing it until I woke up in my hotel room at five in the morning, wearing my party dress, with a dead phone and no idea how I’d gotten home. The last thing I remembered was being fully present and lucid on the dance floor. I dragged out of bed, put on my coat, and did the walk of shame to my truck to juice my phone back up (I always, always forget a wall charger).
I laid down across the bench seat, closed my eyes, and hoped I hadn’t done anything to ruin such a sweet evening. No messages, no missed calls on the ticker; good signs. I sent a text to a friend asking if I owed her thanks for getting me to bed, knowing I’d have to suffer through a few hours of uncertainty for her to wake up. I went back up to my room to rest as well as I could, and hope I didn’t remember anything because there was nothing to remember.
Thankfully, there wasn’t. At nine my friend let me know that I’d danced hard but appropriately all evening and headed straight for my room when the shuttle dropped us at the hotel. Aside from a few suggestive comments to my girlfriends, I at least looked like I kept it together; a three on a 1-10 scale of shame.
Not so graceful, but I suppose I managed.