Flash in the Pan

A Quarterly Posting at Tiny Lights

Shock And Shame

by Judith Matson

I walk across the lawn towards the front of the church. The wedding starts in just a few moments. I feel nostalgic and find myself reminiscing about past times - my two failed marriages, being in love, the meaning of "forever."

My son-in-law Karl grins as I approach the church entrance and says cheerily, "Guess who I found?" I smile. Karl works in the small community where I grew up and often meets my former neighbors or schoolmates. The man with Karl looks about my age. Who might he be?

I approach and greet the man, extending my hand and saying, "Hi, I'm Judith."

"You don't know who I am?" the man asks in a hesitant tone. I don't recognize his voice.

I look closely. I don't recognize his face. "Well. . . your teeth look familiar," I say. (They do!)

"I'm Robert," he replies.

My eyes flare, my stomach lurches; I pray for lightning to strike, the earth to swallow me up. Nothing happens. Reeling with shame, I try to faint, but instead stay upright. I dash off to the bride's room, drowning in confusion and humiliation. I am desperate; a swig of alcohol sounds just right, and I don't drink.

I was married to Robert for eight years and thought him my soul mate. What happened?

He shaved off his beard.

Judith Matson of Calsbad, CA is a psychologist in private practice and wants you to know that, to her shame, this is a true story.

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