Chapter 1 – Runaway Groom


I’m so very sorry we’re meeting this way, I must seem like a mess.

I assure you, if I suddenly stop crying and begin to laugh it’s not because i’m not right in the head but really the whole ordeal is hilariously tragic. We hear about it, we watch cute rom-coms about it, but never in our lives do we think it could happen to us. The groom, running out on you at your wedding? How unlikely!

Wait? As in he literally, got up and started running away from you? 

That’s where I stop crying and begin to laugh, you see. Because the whole image of it was quite hilarious. He stood up and said something to me, which I couldn’t hear over the loud music and so I just gazed up at him smiling like a love-sick over-plucked smokey-eyed Disney Princess (tiara included) who was about to spend the rest of her life with her Prince. At first, I thought he stood up to fix his Bisht, but then as he turned his back towards me and first, started walking, then began pretty much sprinting to the exit. That was when his words fell against my ears — I’m sorry, I can’t do this. 

Dramatic, for a grown man, no?

Everything was a blur after that. Phones were pulled out, Snapchats were sent. His mother and sister ran out after him, my grandmother fainted. I’m just trying to list out as much as I could remember because at one point the tears started streaming and mascara got in my eye and it was like a really horrible black and white movie playing out in front of me.

At this point its been an hour or so since the “Great Escape,” (if you will), and I’m safely tucked away in the honeymoon suite surrounded by most of the uneaten buffet food that was hastily served to us by the hotel’s very apologetic and utterly horrified staff on pretty silver trays. I’m told the guests were asked to leave due to a made-up family emergency and a handful or so of my closest family members escorted me quietly out of the wedding ballroom. I, as the universe would have it at that point, had gone temporarily blind from the seeping mascara and tiny fake lashes that had may their way onto my eyeballs. Once safely upstairs, my cousin and best friend, Lulu helped out of my skin tight Elie Saab dress and gently removed the bobby pins that hid in zigzags across the side of my head. My sexy wedding night lingerie was tossed into a closet and replaced with an over-sized hotel robe.

“He’ll come to his senses.” Auntie Khawla said.

“We won’t take him back, he has humiliated us!” My mother shrieks, yanking out extensions from her hair. “But just in case, have you checked your phone?”

“I turned her phone off.” Lulu answers for me.

I pick up a square shaped cheese pastry and bite into it. I try to recall the conversations in the few weeks that led up to tonight.

There were no signs. Things were perfect with Ahmad from day one. Did I mention his name was Ahmad? No? I’m sorry, you’ll have to forgive me my mind is all over the place. Let me give you a brief summary. Six months after returning from Washington where he worked for a leading investment company, my soon-to-be-ex-husband walked into his mothers bedroom and asked her to find him a wife. Over the next few months an assortment of the country’s finest were hand picked and placed in front of him. I, one of the finalists, eventually became the chosen one and on a cold Saturday evening the women of Ahmad and Co. knocked on our door and I officially became engaged. Ahmad was handsome and charming and never seemed to run out of interesting stories to tell of his years abroad and i’m ashamed to say, I was smitten from day one.

At least, that was the version I was privy to. What would be exposed to me over the course of the coming weeks would shatter my reality into the tiniest of pieces and turn the man I married into a complete stranger.


But we won’t talk about any of that tonight. I’m sure the videos of my husband sprinting away from me have managed to make their way to every Whatsapp group in the country by now and all I can do about it is eat my weight in wedding cake and watch muted TV in bed.