A Moment in My Life – Wednesday, September 2, 2020
I’ve long been thinking about the day when I might face the dilemma of attending a formal event as a new single again, and that day arrived when I received a friend’s wedding save-the-date announcement. Don’t get me wrong. I am ecstatic for this couple’s upcoming celebration day, and I am delighted to witness this special event. It doesn’t change my dilemma, though. It has nothing to do with the happy couple or anybody else. It’s entirely me.
Since Mark’s passing, this isn’t the first formal invitation I’ve received. I received a last-minute wedding invitation less than a month after his demise. The wedding took place in San Jose. I exercised my first ‘Plus 0’ option for that event. Luckily for me, I had a couple of friends to attend with. It is a blessing having people who care about you. My good friends, Carol and Kyle, volunteered to carpool. They even offered a room at their house in Foster City for the night since we would be home late. I accepted their carpool offer but declined their warm hospitality to stay over.
The wedding officiated in the early afternoon, which meant the guests needed to loiter somewhere and return for the evening banquet. I spent the afternoon meandering around the Japanese shops in the San Jose area with another couple of good friends, Clarissa and Chris. It was nice but different. Mark and I used to socialize with these couples at one time or another, or the ladies and I hang out on a one-to-one basis, which we still do. Now, we hang out with me being the third wheel. Something I haven’t gotten used to yet. In any event, I enjoyed being with these friends. I appreciated their kindness in allowing me to join them.
At the dinner, the five of us were seated at the same table. It was nice. It would have been nicer had it been the three couples of us. There was another single at our table. She has been single for as long as I’ve known her, which means being a ‘Plus 0’ was her way of life. As the evening progressed, the lonesomeness crept in. I was having a good time, but that didn’t change my status quo. There is only so much your friends could do for you in a situation like this. Regardless of how hard they try to help you fit in, at some point, reality bites. For me, it was when my friends got up to take family photos among themselves, leaving me seated there alone at the large round table. The lonely feeling at that moment overwhelmed me. I wanted to run out of the restaurant and disappear. I don’t care to feel that loneliness again. I have a feeling I won’t get used to it.
Later in the year, I attended a Red Egg Baby Banquet, again as a ‘Plus 0’, but friends surrounded me. At this local party, it wasn’t as obvious who was a single or a couple. It didn’t matter. It was pure merriment every way you turned, and I had a grand time.
At those two events where I had friends attending, too, it didn’t matter that I responded with ‘Plus 0’, which easily could’ve been ‘Plus 2’, but this upcoming celebration, I know only the bride and her parents, which means all of them would be busy. I already feel the loneliness ahead. This wedding is taking place out of town, too—presenting yet another challenge for me. Situations like this one could be easily resolvable if Mark were here. Then I wouldn’t be in this dilemma.
That’s neither here nor there. I’m looking forward to this joyous occasion, but I am dreading my ‘Plus 0’ response.