"Home from work so early, Mike? There was something for you in the mail. It's on the dining room table."
I close the front door and deposit my motorcycle helmet on the
kitchen counter. Sauntering over to the sleek rosewood table, I eye the
pile of mail on it. I spot my cellphone bill and pick it up, but
there's something else. A glossy silver envelope, addressed to Mr.
Michael Altermann. I don't get mail very often, unless you count bills,
and my interest is piqued. I try to open the sleek envelope without
ripping the silver paper, but it tears a bit anyway. It doesn't
I remove a stiff card from the envelope. It is cream colored, with
embossed writing in soft purple. I read it and blink. I am, it seems,
invited to the wedding of Michelle Martinson and Adam Pritchard, which
will take place at "The Royal Garden", a popular and upscale banquet
hall in the city, two months from now.
Michelle. Once upon a time, I thought I was madly in love with her. Once, the sound of her
voice was enough to set my heart to pounding in
my chest. I still remember the smell, the taste of her. The way I would
delight in her body, savoring every inch of her, devouring her. The way
her fingers would clutch at my hair and the way she would look into my eyes when she came, shuddering beneath me.
There was another girl, the sexy and dangerous type, with a lethal smile and
killer cleavage, and when I thought I had a chance with her, I broke it
off with Michelle. What can I say? I was young, hormone-driven and
Michelle cried and begged me not
to leave her, telling me that she loved me, that she couldn't,
wouldn't live without me. She continued to call me for a few weeks, but
in the face of my stony silence she eventually lost heart and stopped
trying to contact me. Meanwhile, I had my little fling with the other girl, but it didn't work out, and by the
time I knew what I had given up, it was too late. I had lost Michelle.
I couldn't bring myself to contact her, after that.
Since then there have been other girls. Some of whom I felt a deep
connection with, some who I was sad to lose. They all
seemed to want more commitment than I could offer them. They wanted
permanence, something concrete. That's not what I'm looking for. Or maybe I just haven't found The One yet.
I haven't thought about Michelle much lately; haven't talked to her in
She sent the invitation to my parents' home. Does she know that I
still live with them? Or is it just that she figures that my parents
will forward it to wherever I'm living now? Probably the latter, I
I won't go. I don't want to see her, standing next to the man she
has chosen to spend the rest of her life with. I don't want to talk to
her, see her, flushed and excited, and reluctantly tell her, when she asks,
because surely she will ask, that I'm still working odd jobs, still
living with my parents.
I don't want to see the pity in her eyes.
I chose this life. Things could have been different, maybe they
could have been better, but you can't go through life second-guessing
yourself. All the girls I slept with are getting married, meanwhile, I
still live with my parents. Sometimes, that's just the way things work out.