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A House Is Not A Home
It was about that time when everyone starts to pack it in. All the grandparents, aunts and uncles
and their children were saying their goodbyes and searching for the coat room. Drunken relatives were
calling taxis and my catering staff had started to close up the bar. As always there were a few people,
young people of course, who were fighting the time and continued to dance away in hopes of making
the night last.
I was standing in the doorway of the kitchen, watching them. It was like watching an old
Hollywood movie. Everyone looked so beautiful in their fancy dresses, up-dos, jackets and ties. The
bride and groom looked especially glamourous. They were in the centre of the room, slow dancing,
despite the fact that it wasn't a slow song at all. She had her arms around his neck, and his arms
encircled her waist. He leaned in close to her and whispered something in her ear. She threw back her
head and laughed. That made me angry. Angry at her for being happy. Angry at myself for being
jealous. I couldn't help but to envy her, and all the brides that came here.
I picked up my purse and made my way to the patio in a daze. I took out a cigarette and tried to
light it, but it didn't catch. I flicked the lighter again and again with no luck. I began fumbling with it,
trying to make it work, and it dropped to my feet.
The sound of my name snapped me out of my daze and I was embarrassed to realize that I had
been crying. I turned to see that it was Ryan; one of the waiters I'd hired when I first opened this
restaurant so many years ago.
“I'm sorry to bother you, but I was just taking out the trash and I noticed you here.”
I immediately feared that he was going to ask me if I was all right, and I would have to come up
with some lie to explain that I was okay. To ensure him that the tears were nothing. I began racking my
brain so I would be prepared.
“It's just that I was hoping I could skip out early, you see, tomorrow I have to...”
“Go ahead, Ryan. Have a good weekend.” I told him. It didn't matter what his excuse was, I
was just glad that he had been kind enough to ignore my puffy eyes and wet cheeks.
I made my way back inside, past the small crowd still on the dance floor, to the bathroom. I
cupped my hands under the cold water, splashed it on my face and looked up at my reflection in the
mirror. It was so unfamiliar. I thought back to my wedding day, looking at myself in the mirror before
the ceremony while my maid of honour put the finishing touches on my makeup. I'd thought our
marriage would be perfect; one for the books. And it was, in many ways. We were so happy together. I
remembered the day, just a few years ago, walking out of this very bathroom to show my husband the
little plus sign on the pregnancy test. I wish we could have been that happy forever. But a few months
afterwards, when the doctor told us we'd lost the baby, I knew we'd also lost our only chance of ever
having one. We'd waited too long to have children, and now we were too old. If only he would realize
that, too. I was so sick of trying for another. And always failing. This is what our marriage had
succumbed to. A mess of emotions, despair and resentment. Everything I didn't want from marriage. I
could hear doors opening and closing in the other room, so I took a moment to collect myself before
going back out to the reception area.
Sometime in the five minutes that I had been in the bathroom, the rest of the guests had made
their way home, and I was alone with just the bride and groom.
“Carmen, thank you so much, it was lovely.” The bride told me.
“You have a beautiful restaurant,” added the groom, who was shaking my hand.
The three of us made our way out the door. They got into the backseat of the limo and rolled
down the window to thank me one last time. “Be good to each other!” I said as they drove away. I
locked up the restaurant and got into my car. I was suddenly overcome with exhaustion. The thought of
going home at the end of a long day used to make me happy. I used to go home, share a glass of wine
with my husband, and we would just talk, and spend time with each other, and be happy. But we hadn't
been that way for a long time. I didn't feel at home with him anymore, and that scared me. I didn't want
to go home to see the man I could no longer make happy. I took a deep breath, put the key in the ignition, and drove. But I did not drive home