(Left at the altar, you decide to seek revenge on your ex.)
Nan waited in the foyer, dressed like a princess ready for her coronation. Her flowers, deep red roses, made her white dress even whiter. But as she waited, her hand clutching her father’s arm, her face whitened by degrees as she began to understand that she was not going to be married that day.
As she crumpled against her father, his arms tightened around her, holding her up. Floods of tears ruined her makeup, but it didn’t matter. She watched as her bridesmaids, confused and tearful, consulted each other and the groomsmen. No one seemed to have any answers. The murmuring of the guests began to rise in volume, until the preacher spoke to quiet them. He walked the aisle to meet the bride and her father. After a quick consultation, he went back to his place on the platform.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, I am very sad and disappointed to announce that there will be no ceremony today. Our bride has asked that you enjoy visiting with each other in the reception room, where there is food waiting. We don’t want it to be wasted. Please give the family privacy today and in the coming days while they sort out what has–or has not–happened here today. Thank you.”
In her bedroom, Nan was mute and motionless. She played a video over and over in her mind, looking at every scene of her relationship with Adam from the very first time they met until the disaster of the wedding that didn’t happen. Her dress was stored away in her closet. Her flowers, over time, faded and died. She wanted to die with them. Never, ever had she felt so alone, abandoned, deserted. For it to happen at the crowning event of her life was unbearable.
Time, however, does help someone who is grieving to gain a different perspective. Nan went from hopelessness to determination and back again, circling around in her grief. Anger, denial, bitterness, guilt, depression, and finally acceptance. It was a long process, but bit by bit she began to piece her life back together. Her closest friends stayed in touch but gave her time and space. Her parents dealt with the shambles of an un-wedding.
Nan went back to work. She remained quiet, responding when she had to, until finally her boss called her into his office. She admired and respected him, an honest businessman who showed concern for all his employees.
“Nan, you know how sorry I am about your wedding. I know it will be some time yet before you feel ready to take on the world again. I just have one question for you: Are you going to let Adam’s lack of character control the rest of your life? If you do, he has won. You need to think about that.”
And she did. She hated hearing it, but she recognized the truth. Adam was controlling her thinking, her emotions, her behavior. For a long time, she had hoped to find a way to hurt him for hurting her, but she could never come up with anything good enough to take away her pain. Now, however, as she considered what her boss had said, she realized that her best revenge was to forgive him.
“Forgive? That means he gets away with it,” whispered a little voice in her head.
“He won’t ‘get away with it’ if I can begin to forgive him, and let it all go,” thought Nan. “Not if I can show him and myself that I am just fine without him; that what he did has made me stronger, not weaker.”
So she plucked up her courage and began to put her life back together. She socialized with friends, enjoyed physical activity that made her body strong, renewed her interests in things outside her working day.
Inevitably, the day came. There she was on the sidewalk, chatting with friends, walking past shops and stopping now and then to admire window displays, when it happened. Adam, his arm draped over the shoulders of an attractive young woman, came from the opposite direction. Nan saw him, stepped out in front of him, and enjoyed watching his face go pale as he approached.
“Adam! Hey, it’s been over a year since I saw you! I hope you’re doing well. And I want you to know that I forgive you, and that I’m doing just fine.” She gave him a megawatt smile and stepped out of his path.
She heard the girl at his side say, “Forgives you for what? What did she mean? ADAM!”