I used to think the term “temporary insanity” was just a dubious courtroom plea. I found out the hard way that I was wrong. When you’re fraught with this condition, it’s kind of like meandering in a thick fog—only you’re too bemused to even realize you’re lost. Then, when it finally lifts, you feel you’ve awakened from a horrible nightmare—the kind that makes you relieved you’d never really do anything so stupid. Except you did.
Well, it’s taken almost a year for the enormity of it all to sink in. Looking back, I wish I had just heeded the numerous, glaring signs. Let’s start with the weather. How often did we get a 105-degree day on Long Island? Although never reported by the meteorologists, I now know the reason for this anomaly: the fires of hell were attempting to engulf my picture perfect wedding in a dramatic, raging inferno. Just a subtle reminder that I’d sold my soul and was on borrowed time.
As we were announced into a resplendent ballroom filled with enthusiastic guests, it was as if a UFO had plucked me out of my should-be life, only to plop me down in some sort of bizarre alternate universe. For it had been less than a year earlier that I was this close to seeing my dreams of fame, fortune, and romance come to fruition, when they exploded in my face like a cruel joke.
With Craig’s hand gripping mine, and the Starbright Orchestra’s lead singer channeling Frank Sinatra, the glorious, Gatsby-esque room that had so enchanted me, began spinning even faster than my shell-shocked, post-nuptial brain. What some brides know is that when you find yourself sashaying down the aisle on what’s supposed to be the happiest day of your life, things can sometimes turn bafflingly surreal. Sensing something’s terribly amiss, you chalk it up to jitters, refusing to acknowledge a most unpleasant fact: the man standing before you in white tie and tails is far from the soul mate you hoped for.
If I could have seen this truth in real time, I like to think I would have mustered the courage to make a mad bolt from the chapel. But I was thirty-six—trampled, lost, and romantically bankrupt—so the only thing running away that day was the train I was riding, and I kept my seat, although I was destined to wreck.
Incidentally, my theatrical background helped in my resolve to commit matrimonial suicide. As I entered the chapel, my thespian tendencies kicked in like an Ethel Merman-infused survival mechanism, ensuring I’d focus only on my given lines, blocking, and manic desire to please my audience. After all, as Ethel sang, “the show must go on”—and somehow, ironically, I was finally the star. My name is Rebecca Ross; welcome to my wedding day.