Runaway Bride – Finding Myself

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The moment I stood at the altar, a sea of expectant eyes staring back at me, I felt like I was suffocating. The grand cathedral, with its magnificent stained glass windows depicting love stories of the past, seemed to press down on me. The golden cross at the front seemed to loom, watching every beat of my hesitant heart.

John was at the other end, looking every part the prince from my mother’s bedtime stories. He was the perfect man, kind, loving, and understanding, with a soft heart and a soul that resonated with mine. And yet, as I took my first step down the aisle, I felt a deep sense of incongruence.

This wasn’t about John. It was about me, the years of whispered expectations, and the looming shadow of tradition and religion. It was about my parents, both devout Catholics, who saw marriage not only as a union of two souls but as a rite of passage to secure a place in the community and the afterlife.

But as the organ roared to life, the weight of my mother’s cross pendant against my skin reminded me of the countless nights I lay awake, questioning the institution of marriage. I believed in love, in unity, but I also harbored a deep-rooted need to understand myself outside the confines of labels and social constructs. There was so much I wanted to discover – about the world, about my passions, about who I was when no one was watching.

Pausing mid-aisle, I locked eyes with John. There was an understanding, a depth of connection. And as tears welled up in both our eyes, I whispered, “I’m sorry,” and turned away. The gasps of horror from the attendees were deafening. But I needed to break free, to breathe, to find my essence.

I fled the cathedral, the heavy wooden doors closing behind me, muffling the cries and whispers of betrayal. The sun outside seemed brighter, the world vast and open.

The next day, amidst the ruins of what was meant to be, I met John at our favorite park. He looked at me, not with anger, but with sadness and concern.

“I loved you enough to marry you,” he began, his voice trembling, “but I love you more to let you find your path. Even if it means letting go.”

Tears streamed down my face. “I wish it could be different. But this is something I need to do. For myself.”

John nodded, pulling me into a tight embrace. “Find yourself,” he whispered. “And maybe, one day, we’ll find our way back to each other.”

With a heavy heart, I packed my bags and began my journey. Every new place, every experience, every emotion was a step towards understanding myself better. And while I was eternally grateful to John for setting me free, a part of me hoped that our paths would cross again. But for now, I needed to journey alone, to uncover the woman I was destined to be.

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