Retracing steps up the aisle

Bud and I have been best friends for 40 years. His first date with his first wife, Sadie, was dinner with Jennifer and me at our apartment at 30th and Michigan in Chicago sometime in late 1973 or early ’74 (Jennifer being my first wife). I shot Bud and Sadie’s wedding the next year.

Sadie was good, witty and irreverent. She and Bud lasted a couple of years, and I was sorry to see her go, although he was the one who went. Then Bud married again and I shot the wedding, and I married again, and kids came and grew, and he and his spouse divorced, and my wife and I didn’t quite.

Yesterday Bud called to tell me he’d gotten a letter from Sadie asking if he’s the Bud she used to be married to. While I was talking to him, I found Sadie on Facebook. When I friended her, she responded, “ARE YOU KIDDING ME? ANTHONY! HOLY FUCK! HOW ARE YOU?” I’ve missed Sadie, especially since she’s 61 now—not whatever she was the last time I saw her in the late-’70s—and after all these years she sounds the same, even on Facebook.

Minutes later, Sadie, Bud and I were in a three-way call, and Sadie and I had more to say to each other than did Bud and Sadie. That was the best part, and when Bud and Sadie began to talk to each other, the conversation took a nosedive into old resentments and fears, and I started to feel like a voyeur, which I don’t normally mind. This time I was self-conscious and uncomfortable. No more three-ways.

I’ve thought about trying to contact Jennifer, my first wife, although she never sent me a letter. I poked around online a few years ago and learned she had achieved some success in the field of housing in San Diego and had once worked for a politician. She had married again in the ’80s, and a friend told me he saw her in Las Vegas quite a while ago now.

I still felt like such a heel; I never tried to call or email her. I was an awful husband. I’d’ve been willing to see her in person, and I thought about going to San Diego to find her and her mother, who’s apparently still kicking, and I never did.

I’d like to think that if I saw Jennifer again that we’d greet each other afresh. We won’t, though, because Jennifer died of cancer in April. Dammit.

Hey, I’m gonna collect some of these essays, and I’d appreciate it if you’d EMAIL ME with the titles of the ones you think I should include. Thank you.