Originally posted to Blogger – Sunday, July 03, 2005
Re-acquainting with old friends. The new divorcee.
Last night was the wedding of my friend Becky Gehling. I met Becky back when I was an assistant youth director for Nameoki United Methodist Church in Granite City, IL. This would have been around 1996-1998, during my freshman and sophomore years of college. Becky was a senior the year I started, so she was more of a peer, not one of my “kids”. Eventually she met Travis (a couple of years my junior in high school, but one of my best friends) and they dated for awhile. Their brief relationship turned into a solid friendship. His continued contact with her kept me in touch as well, long after I left the church and dropped any intention at youth ministry.
The ceremony was held in that same church, that I hadn’t stepped inside of in six years. The pastor of my time had since been transferred, but his son Joe was among the guests. Joe was a high school freshman when I started my tenure at Nameoki. He was bright, funny, charming, and musically talented. We immediately became friends, and he was one of my favorite aspects about that whole experience. I hadn’t seen him in years, and was delighted to run into him again. He was there with wife, Katie, who had been his high school sweetheart (they got together about the time I was leaving the church). We ended up sharing a table at the reception, and he was just as entertaining as ever. Our wives hit it off quite well, too.
Also at our table was my old pal Dale, who I met at Nameoki as well. Dale and I have hung out sporatically over the years, as whatever bands we were in crossed paths, or we ended up at the same parties. I got to meet his fiancee for the first time. Travis rounded out the table with the 3 couples. It was odd to share the evening with that group of guys, a flashback to associations from years ago. Funny how weddings do that.
Over the past four years, my mid-twenties friendbase has lined up and fallen into marriage like so many dominoes. The shock of another pal getting hitched has definately worn off. I’ve been married for almost two years, and am happy as pie to call my best friend Wendy my wife. I think it may been a little more difficult on Travis, though.
Trav is the first member of our group to get divorced, hopefully the last. He just signed the papers a day or so ago. (He and Carrie, one of the first couples to tie the knot, were also our “most likely to end in legal hearings” superlative.) Being newly single, the wedding reception was his chance to get some bridesmaid booty, or the attentions of another single female wedding-goer. Alas, Trav is currently asleep on my couch after rolling in late, so I’ll assume his night wasn’t so eventful. Unless he managed to hit it before coming home. He’s certainly capable.
Ever since he and the wife split up, his weekends have been filled with nothing but weddings. Never been divorced? Remember that high school dance, watching your ex dance with johnny football hero / susie homecoming queen / harold the av nerd? Remember what that felt like? Quadruple it. Then punch yourself in the face and give yourself a wedgie. That’s probably a solid example of the overall pain and discomfort. Now add alcohol. Cue moodswings. Happy drunk one minute, misty-eyed bleeding heart the next, Travis got a front-row seat at his (now fantastic looking) former-girlfriend’s wedding bliss. I know he’s happy for her – she’s a wonderful person and she deserves it. But it was also a long day of reminders of his own failed relationship.
I’d say that’s the textbook definition of “bittersweet”.