Thursday, 26 January 2012

A clue that everything isn't going to be alright

There are many reasons the only marriage I’ve ever had failed, and there were clues as early as our wedding day that things were going to go bad, if not immediately, then some time shortly after that. (In the event, it took the traditional seven years for things to truly fall apart, but I spent six of those getting pregnant, giving up smoking, having children, getting very fat, taking up smoking again, getting very thin, and going mad. So they don’t count.)

First, I chose green as my key colour. How was I to know that of all the colours a bride may wear, green is the one not to opt for – it’s bad luck. (‘Married in white, you’ve chosen right; married in green, you’re ashamed to be seen’, apparently.) Also, I carried arum lilies, my favourite flowers – but which are more usually used at funerals (more bad luck). And we got married in May, traditionally the only month of the year to avoid for nuptials (‘Marry in the month of May and you’ll surely rue the day’).

But it was about a week after the wedding, when my new husband and I were house-sitting for my parents, that an incident highlighted the almost certain future downfall of our partnership. My mother had a wall of family photographs, and she wasted no time in blowing up one of our wedding pictures, framing it beautifully and giving it pride of place.

I came across my husband staring thoughtfully at it one morning. “What’s wrong with this wedding photograph?” he asked me. (This is the actual photograph.)

I examined it closely. “My brother’s face is partly obscured?” I guessed.

“No,” he said.

“My sister’s hand on my mom’s shoulder looks like a tarantula?”

He shook his head.

"My other sister looks like she has antennae?"


“The two women in blue shouldn’t have been standing together?”

"Nope," he said.

“Okay, I give up,” I said. “What’s wrong with this wedding photograph?”

“I’m not in it.”


My ex-husband actually showed remarkable good humour about this. He took the picture off the wall, and carefully prised open the back. Then he went through our wedding pictures and chose a suitable one of himself, which he cropped into a head-and-shoulders format. This, he glued into the top right-hand corner of the pic, in much the same way as a member of a sports team who isn't present on the day the team photograph is taken, is represented in a school magazine. Then he put the frame back together and hung it back on the wall. And that's how it stayed until my mother finally realised what had happened, and with much apologetic bowing and scraping, replaced the pic with one that included the groom.

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