By Amanda Livingston
The glass shattered.
There was a roar of “Mazel tovs!” from the eagerly watching crowd as Jerry broke the glass underneath his feet. I watched from the sidelines as people threw rice at the happy couple running back down the aisle, to the car outside that waited to take them to the reception.
As the crowd followed, I turned away.
It was over. I knew Gina didn’t love me anymore. I knew she had resisted it all along. She wanted me last year, she wanted me at the beginning. And it’s not as if I hadn’t tried. The night before, I’d come all the way to the doorstep of her mother’s house. I’d thrown rocks at her second floor window, a tired cliché, but what I thought she would appreciate as a sort of romantic gesture.
“Harry, get outta here before my mother wakes up!” she’d shrieked, finally opening up the window, her short hair springing out of her curlers, her face mask peeling at the edges, and steam coming out of her ears. She still looked beautiful, even when she was angry, which she usually was. “I’m getting married in the morning and I’m not dealing with you right now.”
“Gina, Gina my love,” I crooned, a limp bouquet of flowers clutched in my hand. “You know you love me and not that dentist you’ve got. What are you gonna do with a dentist, anyway? He can’t take care of you like I can. He can’t love you like I can. Come down, we’ll run away together!”
“Harry, you schmuck!” She’d slammed the window in my face.
I hadn’t been invited to the wedding. How could I have been? You can’t have the love-of-your-life at a wedding where you’re marrying someone else, and I didn’t expect Gina to invite me after our amorous, torrid past. But I showed up anyway, just to see if she would actually do it. Just to get some closure. When the rabbi had said, “Does anyone object to this marriage?” I’d very weakly raised my hand, but I was in the back all the way to the left and no one saw me.
It wasn’t as if I wasn’t brave enough — heck, if I’m anything, I’m brave. Especially with the ladies. I just didn’t want to give Gina a reason to hate me — and I especially didn’t want to give Gina’s mother another reason to hate me.
I had sat there, in the back of the synagogue, imagining an alternate scenario where Gina realized that she was making a mistake.
She would be up on the bimah, her veil covering her face, and then Jerry would lift the veil, and she would look at him. “Harry,” she would whisper with her perfectly lipsticked mouth — god I loved that mouth — because she would realize that Jerry wasn’t me and that it was me she was supposed to be marrying.
And then she would turn, and she would see me from where I was sitting, leaning forward in my seat with my hands over my eyes, all the way in the back to the left, almost invisible but still there, and she would shout my name. “Harry!” she would shout. “You idiot, get me out of here!” She would come running down the aisle, her family staring in shock after her, a beautiful, bounding mess of white lace and tulle, straight into my arms, and we would run off into the sunset. Kaboom. Happily ever after. Gina and I would be together, just like we were supposed to be.
Instead, I was staring after her, Gina, the love of my life and her new husband Jerry Cohen, as they drove off towards their future together, “Just Married” emblazoned on the back of his Honda civic.
I kicked the curb. “Dumb Jerry,” I muttered under my breath. Gina thought I was a schmuck? He was a schmuck! “Stupid Jerry, what a schmuck, what an asshole.” Who did he think he was, stealing Gina away from me? Gina and I were meant to be, we all knew it, I knew it, Gina knew it, her ma knew it and her daddy knew it, heck, even Jerry knew it, but he had to just come in and ruin it.
Sighing, I turned to walk home, loosening my tie. Well, there was nothing I could do about it now.