AUTHOR'S NOTE: This totally isn't my story. I would certainly never do anything like this. But I, um, heard it somewhere. Yes, that's it. I totally heard this story somewhere and I'm sharing it with you. In 1-st person narrative form. (WINK)
I'm not big on revenge. Overall, it's probably a terrible method of healing. However, when someone wrongs you and leaves you to die, even in an age of encouraged Forgiveness, some things are unforgivable. As for me, I was enjoying a brand-new backbone I'd just grown and I decided to go a little Samurai and reclaim my honor. This is not the best thing I've ever done. I don't endorse long-games or plots.
However, I did what I did and for me, it was exactly what I needed to heal 100%. I'm just not proud of it. (OK, I'm actually proud of it.)
When I found out my ex was engaged, I was elated- it solved a little problem for me. You see, I'd gone through most of the various items which accumulate from a 16-year relationship, and kept what I wanted and burned the rest. But what to do with those pesky wedding albums? Sure, they were great photos of us, but would I really ever want or need to see them again? I searched my heart- the answer was a resounding fuck no. And yet, I couldn't really bear to simply throw them away, either. It was, after all, a beautiful wedding, and I'm happy to keep my memories of that day- but burning it to ashes or tossing them out? Nah. That's what he'd done with our marriage- and I'm more of a "pay it forward" type of gal.
See, I kept having these nightmares where I was angry, and shouting or even trying to fight my ex and the girl he'd cheated with. I'd even dream that I was at their wedding, mad as hell but I could never DO anything about it in the dream. Throughout our awful divorce, I'd suffered tremendously, and he'd just blithely moved on, never expressing remorse or regret. I'd been without a home while he moved immediately into her bed, and started his new life right away. I never got to scream at him. I never yelled at him, never got to argue or stand up for myself, or so much as throw a drink in his face.
I'd just wanted SOME sort of REACTION from him- SOME way of knowing that it mattered, that he was even the slightest bit inconvenienced by his choices.
I never wanted to get him back, but OH how I wanted to get him back... I WANTED that reaction...
So, I set about with a bit of deviousness. First, I had to start my publicity campaign. I'm sorry to say, but I put on a bit of a show with a mutual friend, swearing though contrived tears that I needed to BE THERE because I had some UNFINISHED BUSINESS. I hated to be less than honest, but anyone who can straddle the fence and maintain an active and ongoing relationship with the man who literally left me to die has chosen sides whether or not they intended to. This wasn't an easy break-up, after all. My ex had lied to me, and immediately moved in with his girlfriend, the same week he found a draft of a suicide note. Then he and his family, well aware of the dangerous depression I was in, simply disappeared. Working two unpaid internship jobs at the time, I had nowhere to live and actually, physically starved. I'm rehashing this in abridged form, because what's about to happen next might seem a little inappropriate.
I received zero help with the rent I was left with, zero remorse, zero compassion and zero alimony. I was left with nothing but two cats and nowhere to live.
Revenge hadn't been just been crossing my mind, it had set up shop.
I'd had no contact with my ex since he came out with the truth, that he wasn't "taking a break," that he was, in fact, long gone and already living with his new fangirl. From that point on, we only communicated through email, and kept it clean and civil. I received nothing from the divorce, and he made no offers of apology, so my only source of venting was by writing out my feelings.
I chose a few select people and told them that come hell or high water, like the Frankenstein's monster he'd created, I WOULD BE WITH HIM ON HIS WEDDING DAY. After a very simple search on TheKnot.com, I found out exactly when and where their wedding would be. I'm surprised the happy couple was so public about the details, honestly- this, after all, was a relationship begun under the worst of pretenses and a proposal issued while the ink on our divorce papers was drying.
I was also surprised by the brevity of their engagement period. Six months seemed short, but my ex was never known for his patience. This gave me just enough time to disseminate some false information to people who would ultimately (unbeknownst to them!) act as my purposeful moles. (Thanks again guys!)
Then I got to posting about it, with increasingly less subtlety, on FaceBook. As the date of their ceremony neared, I would post photos of Vince Vaughan and Owen Wilson (from "Wedding Crashers") on my wall, with captions like "SEE YOU IN VERO BEACH" and "LOOKING FORWARD TO THE BIG DAY!" Eventually, I'd use photos of The Bride from "Kill Bill," wearing her bloody bridal dress and wielding her katana. The vengeful images were for a purpose: not only did I figure someone would "leak" these photos to him, I was counting on it.
Their wedding was 3,000 miles away, and right in the middle of a busy work week for me. Was I really going to spend the time and energy to go disrupt it? Fuck no. But they didn't know that.
For all the times he DIDN'T think about me, I wanted him to be thinking about me that day. For all the nights I spend riddled with anxiety, wondering what would happen, I wanted him to wonder what would happen. And for her- she's no innocent. She knew she was with a married man when they started dating. After all, I'd sent her an email politely requesting her to take my ex's dick out of her mouth long enough for he and I to attend marriage counseling. I guess she couldn't wait.
And so, neither could I. I let them wonder when and where I'd show up, and look over their shoulder the whole day while I sat pretty on a pair of stilts in the warm California sun. Dozens of photos of me, clearly in L.A., showed up on Instagram that day. Not a coincidence.
However, after all that fuss about BEING THERE and then suddenly unable to attend, I still wanted to send a gift... which brings us back to the Wedding Albums.
Sure, their wedding was (wisely for them) set on the other side of the country from me- but I'm blessed with a widely-spread set of friends. Friends who could easily have my albums sent to them. And place each one in a separate box. The kind of box you'd expect to find in a pile of gifts. I believe one was a panini press box. Another in toaster oven box. And for irony's sake, a photo album gift box.
The toaster oven was weighted with a bit of concrete to give it the natural heft one would expect, and padded with a dirty sock to keep it from rattling around. (That wasn't MY idea, but I kind of love it.) Each of the three boxes was expertly, professionally, beautifully gift wrapped in different paper and ribbon, to make sure they'd get the message not once, but three times. Or perhaps they'd simply open the paper but leave the box itself for some matrimonial panini emergency, years later, and get slapped again. I really didn't care when it happened- I just wanted my message to get across.
And speaking of messages, I'll flash back just once to something my ex had told me when, (still unaware of the extent of his betrayal) I'd called him desperate for help. A roommate had recently returned from his band's tour and strangled his girlfriend, and she and I had to clear out of the apartment quickly. I'd returned to collect my things, but my back-up was running late and I was terrified this person would show up suddenly and attack again, so I called my ex who lived within a mile to PLEASE just come be in the same room while I threw my stuff in a bag. I was scared. I was alone. "Call the cops," he said. "You're not my problem anymore."
And so that was the card I chose to accompany the gifts. A simple message, stating my feelings towards the happy couple: "IT'S YOUR PROBLEM NOW."
And so it was! On the big day, my friend watched as my ex meandered back and forth between the holiday inn he was staying at and the resort where the ceremony would take place. Certain he wouldn't cross paths with the groom, my Avenging Angel stacked my gifts in his arms and entered the resort's lobby. When his elevator reached the floor on which their reception would be held, (thanks for the details, bride and groom!) he approached someone to ask where their gift table would be. However, the only person nearby to inquire with was a chubby gal in white- the bride. She gamely pointed him in the correct direction, and he made the dropoff and left, but not before he "checked me in" on Facebook at the restaurant across the street from the resort.
Thanks again, Social Media- you made it possible to be in two places at once.
It was my intention that they'd open the gifts privately, later, as their honeymoon was to immediately follow their wedding, but The Universe, it seems, had a bonus surprise in store for me! ...
This was taken from Etiquette Expert Emily Post's advice about when to open wedding gifts:
"A: It is [sic] unusual for the couple to open all their presents at [sic] a brunch. It is not a shower where the main entertainment is opening the gifts. There’s nothing entertaining about watching the couple open gifts."
It was NEVER my intention for my little gift to be made public, but that's exactly what happened. The tackiest of tacky, the new couple somehow, against all precedent, decided to open their gifts IN PUBLIC at a massive family brunch the next day. And, (and!!!) not only was that enough to make me suspect I'd gotten my message across, but my ex, who can barely string two sentences together, spent the first day of wedded bliss ANGRILY TYPING A SMALL NOVELLA ABOUT HOW UPSET THEY WERE.
Bless his heart, he wrote out a play-by-play of exactly how well my plan had worked. Finally, this was exactly the reaction I'd wanted.
Ahhhhhhhhhh. (the sound of me exhaling a breath I'd been holding since he left.)
He spent (knowing his writing skills) the entire morning typing a letter detailing exactly how much of a little bitch he is, and how upset they were, and HOW DARE SOMEONE SPEAK TO HIS BRIDE ON THE DAY THEY EXCHANGE VOWS - yeah, because CLEARLY wedding vows mean so much to him!- and going into great detail about how I'd completely made ass-hats out of both of them, publically.
He generously wrote that they thought I was actually there. He wrote about how he opened the "It's your problem now" card and read it to his assemblage. He wrote about opening each. of. the. boxes. in front of EVERYONE.
Basically, he gave me exactly what I wanted, and giftwrapped it.
After that, I stopped having those nightmares where I could never touch him. Because I'd definitely touched him. In fact, I'd managed to bitch-slap the both of them from 3,000 miles away. I Keyser Soze'd their wedding. I Killed Bill.
My ex complained about how he and his blushing bride had been harassed since day one (which, I presume, was technically adulterous) but aside from that single email to her and, admittedly abundant blogging, I haven't interacted with, spoken to, or contacted them except to deliver some gifts. And it's not really MY fault if they don't like what I got 'em.
His little online rant got him all the expected cooings of sympathy he'd needed, and I'm fine with that. One girl suggested he get a restraining order, which is ironic because this is the same girl who tricked a guy into getting her pregnant so he'd propose. The same girl who I once witness pull out a concealed weapon and fire on a bluebird. (She's a single mom now in Colorado. Stand-up kinda gal- she knows about restraining orders because her reluctant baby-daddy put one on her when she snuck into his parents' house.)
Another person who 'there-there'd' my ex's bruised ego is an overweight, bitter old hag of a makeup artist who, in her heyday when she was slightly less overweight and only a little bitter tried to seduce my then-husband by crying on his shoulder about her own divorce. She'd call him at all hours of the night, needing "comfort" from a married man half her age. Again, sterling example.
Finally, the angriest man I know raged on about how disgusted he was! How furious he was! Yawn. What else is new.
In fact, since both the women mentioned above had tried so hard to hook up with my ex in the past, I say game on- go for it, since clearly being married isn't a dealbreaker for him. Also, to the angry gentleman mentioned above, why not throw your hat into the ring? My ex is no stranger to cheating with dick in his mouth.
(If you're curious -which, ironically, was HIS excuse - that's also in a blog below.)
Although none of his friends openly condoned my behavior, most folks simply expressed their condolences and hoped that now, finally, it would be over. It is, thanks. Out here in L.A., my friends and I celebrated The End Of It with hotwings and beer.
As for me, I'm happy. It's settled now. Honestly, I never expected this result, but I can actually wish them both well, as I'm incredibly grateful for the amazing adventure they set in motion. Yes, he left. Yes, they cheated. But it's all lead to where I am now, which is happier and healthier than I've ever been. And if they're happy too, all's well that ends well.
And this, my friends, ended SPECTACULARLY.