'The First Marriage' by Cherise Wolas

I should have left my ex-husband at the altar after the screaming match we had the day before we married. A fight so vicious I still recall my fingernails scrapping the hardwood floor as I tucked my head between my knees fearing an actual blow was headed my way; imagining how horrid to be a battered woman with a Ph.D. The day before our wedding I was curled like a comma in a corner of the dining room, in a duplex apartment with wrought iron lights like torture devices from the Middle Ages. An apartment I hadn’t wanted but he did because, as he said, my home was “too you,” by which I decided he actually meant we needed more space to live in happy peace. When I agreed to relinquish the home that I loved, I imagined that in this old large, musty duplex, the new bedroom, our first together, would be a haven; our life filled with sunny sex on Sundays. Afterwards, naked in bed, we would crunch on Butterfinger bars and create our future story. The home I had left, for him, had clean lines, pale floors, whitewashed nooks, and noisy rubber tree birds outside the bedroom window. My home called to me the day before we wed. I crushed myself into the dining room corner and imagined being home again, snailed in a suede chair, staring at the dark night. There, I would sip Pernod, listen to soaring music in the star-dusted room, still yearning for the day we would wed.

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