I was the blushing bride in the one-of-a-kind white dress. I was the woman who promised to love him for better or worse, never imagining that the worst was about to happen. And during our first dance as husband and wife, I was happier and more in love than I had ever been up to that point; there are even pictures to prove it. But it ended there. He changed the day after the wedding like he’d drunk the wrong Kool-aid or something. Evidently, while I had partaken from the “happily ever after” cup, he had sipped from the cup of “now I own you” and for some reason I accepted this, at least for a while.
I had heard that this kind of thing could happen; that the man of your dreams could become a stranger as soon as he said “I do”. But I never thought it would happen to me or that I would become a statistic in the ledger books of the world’s most freaky marriages. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that he would do a complete 180 and I would spend the next five years wondering why he went crazy. I wanted to fix him in the worst way but that was impossible because, let’s face it, you can’t fix crazy. But I didn’t know that then; I had to learn it the hard way.
If we had lived in a house with a basement or even a root cellar I would have been down there, flashlight and shovel in hand, looking to unearth a pod, like the ones in the classic horror film “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”. The whole town went bonkers in that movie, as the pod people took over one after another, but at least in that story there was evidence as to why it had happened. Unfortunately, in my tale of woe, I had no such proof. But deep down I wondered if my husband had been usurped by an imposter too. I mean what other explanation could there be? Over night, he had become controlling, bossy and downright snarky, expecting me to suddenly become the embodiment of “The Little Woman” who would cook and clean and cater to his every need. I don’t know where in the hell he got such an idea as this was something I had yet to do, despite the fact that we had been together for seven years at that point. So you can see why I might jump to weird conclusions because, even as far-fetched as they might seem, it would have explained a lot.
These behavioral changes were shocking, not to mention deeply disturbing, but I met the challenge with a stiff upper lip and tried to do his bidding, determined to make the best of things, even if it was the worst of times. By nature, I am an eternal optimist and I couldn’t bear to think that the wedding of my dreams had morphed into my own personal “Nightmare On Elm Street” so I kept my focus on the future and hoped that if I shook myself hard enough I might wake up and all would be right with the world once more.
Looking back I can see that I was acting like a pod person myself, pretending to be someone I was not, in an effort to smooth the troubled waters. Perhaps I should have seen the obvious, gotten out while the getting was good, run for my life but I didn’t. Instead, I stayed, hoping for a different outcome. I have long since sent that imposter back to whence she came but to this day, I can remember what it felt like to lose my way and assume a life-form that was not of my own making. Although I saved myself in the nick of time, I’m not sure if my ex was quite so lucky or if he even realized what happened to us or why everything went so terribly wrong. To hear him tell it, the disillusion of our marriage was all a big fat mystery and he was a paragon of virtue from whoa to go but, if you ask me, I think that’s really just the pod talking.