The Apathetic Groom: One of My Wedding Photos Shows the Truth
A lifetime captured in one snapshot
I wish I could show you. I really really do. I am still debating about if I could or should. It was a photo of our wedding day. It was taken after we were pronounced man and wife. It was candid. We were walking the aisle to go back toward the exit of the church. I don’t think I had awareness of the camera so much, because all eyes were on us as we walked by everyone in attendance.
I look beaming and happy. I have a huge smile. I could not be smiling any bigger. My eyes are squinting from smiling so big. I am leaning into him. I have my hand holding his arm at the elbow. My hand holds him like he is the one I love and value.
His look is half relief and half- it is reminding me of the Beetlejuice character from the movie. His eyes were open, but there is no light or life behind his eyes. It was as if he was exhausting out a groan. I am also imagining Frankenstein. He also has a look that says: “Oh my God, I have a full bladder but I am pasting on a fake, feeble smile anyway.” It is not a smile. It is more baring his teeth. [OMG, I am feeling disturbed and horrified just looking at it. I have to put the photo away.] He seems to be focused on the photographer taking his picture. His arms are hanging down to his sides and limp. The arm that my hand is holding is limp and lifeless. He is not holding, reaching for or connecting with me. There are no indicators of warmth or affection.
I get it, there are a lot of things to be considered. Everyone can have a bad photo, right? I typically don’t like photos of me. He wasn’t ill. If he was drunk or hungover, I didn’t know it. I wouldn’t think so because his parents and sister’s family were staying at his house with him. I suppose anything is possible.
I saw the photo again, during my divorce process. I was taking all the photos out of the album and put them in a bag. Out of a large stack of photography proofs, this one struck me. Hindsight perspective really is 20/20. After over twenty years of experience and learning who he really is behind the carefully crafted mask, I can see it. It is as if this photograph is showing the story of my entire life in one camera shot.