About a week or so ago, I woke up in my bunk at work with a very anxious feeling. In my deep sleep only moments before, I'd been having thoughts of my wedding. It wasn't a dream with a full storyline, but instead quick flashes of images of me at the alter.
There was no haze or gap between asleep and awake. In the time it takes to snap your fingers, I was very awake and very scared. There was a heavy weight on my chest and a shaky feeling throughout my whole body. For a brief moment, I was convinced that the world might just end if I went through with the wedding.
Yeah, I know. You'll never hear the kids telling that tale on "A Wedding Story."
The good news is that I hadn't felt that way before that morning and I haven't felt that way since, either. I'm not really sure what brought on those feelings in my sub-conscience, but if I had to put money on it, I'd bet on Alex.
As you know, we haven't spoken since December of last year. As you also know, she is one of probably only two women that I have ever really loved. Not talking to her this year has been the absolute best thing for me... It's also been the absolute worst.
For several weeks last month, every day brought a debate to my head whether or not to call Alex. A huge chunk of me knew that the silence hadn't betrayed me so far, so why chance things? The other part of me knew that this was a person of immense importance to me... and that I was leaving her out of one of my biggest days. I swayed back and forth between sides so much that it literally made me sick.
I passed within a few hundred yards of her house on my way to south Louisiana last weekend. I thought about taking that exit off the Interstate. I thought about what I might say to her. I wondered how I would explain the last 11 months. I went so far as to compose a text message to her.
Alex had been the one that put the idea of not drinking Cokes into my head. I thought it only appropriate to let her know that I'd made it a full year without one. I typed out the message. I pulled up her number from my contacts. I clicked on "save draft."
For as much as it hurt me inside to want to talk to her, I had no idea how the conversation might go... And I was too chicken to find out. I could see her upset with the silence -- hurt that we'd come together so passionately last year to split into completely opposite directions. I could see where she'd be pissed that things developed with Jessie so quickly after they had ended with her. I could see her pissed that Jessie is "getting her shot" and I denied Alex hers.
Of course, I won't lie. I was also afraid that she wouldn't care. Maybe 11 months without Fletch was enough to prove that she didn't need me in her life -- in any form -- any longer. Maybe I'd find out that she didn't miss me the way I've been missing her. I remember a time in college when her heart wanted to be with me and her mind refused it the chance... She tried so hard -- and unsuccessfully -- to dismiss me. I could hear that tone in her voice come back from the dead to tell me once and for all that she didn't need me.
I know I've thought about this way too much. I know that I just should have called her up long ago and let us make peace. I'm not sure it will ever get easier to do. The longer I wait only adds time between us. And if I think it's hard to explain being engaged to a former lover, it's probably harder to explain being married.
The bottom line is that I wish she were in that church on Saturday... No, not as my bride, but as my friend. For as more time passes without us talking, I think it will be her friendship that I will miss more than any romantic moment.