The moment I knew our marriage was over was just 10 weeks into our shiny union.
We married on November 28th, 1987 and, by February 14th of that next year, the moment occurred. The fact that it took me another 22 years to actually divorce him is a whole other story.
It was Valentine's Day 1988. As a new bride, I was excited to prepare a "romantic" dinner and set the stage for an evening of sensuous food and an even more sensual finale with my brand new husband. I excitedly pulled out all our wedding china, crystal and silver. I ironed the perfect white damask napkins. I cooked in our tiny kitchen and cleaned our tiny apartment. I bathed and dressed carefully to set the tone. The menu was simple and elegant (by 1988 standards). Salmon, wild rice pilaf and Chinese pea pods cooked to the perfect sweet crunch. Dessert was to be (of course) strawberries dipped in chocolate. Champagne was chilled (probably Korbel-the Veuve Clicquot days were still far far away). I donned a favorite piece from my trousseau (yes, I had one). A sweet, lacy cotton batiste "teddy" with satin ribbons threaded through to bind my waist. I topped it off with a white linen apron delicately embroidered with lilies of the valley (another part of the trousseau). My plan was to serve dinner in the apron which hid the sexy little number underneath. At the appropriate time, I would tear off the apron to reveal the real "dessert" and the evening would unfold from there.
And this is how the "moment" occurred. I lit the candles in the sterling silver candlesticks and called my brand new husband to the table. It was perfect-china gleaming, crystal bowls of pea pods and wild rice pilaf piled bountifully and, in a place of honor, my piece de resistance, the salmon. It was lying upon an antique platter, garnished with fresh dill and thin (almost translucent) cucumber rounds. Divine. Martha Stewart would have applauded, my mother would of approved and I would seduce my brand new husband with my skills, all of them.
He sat down at the table. I was at one end, he at the other. He opened the Champagne and poured us both a glass. We raised our glasses and looked deep into each other's eyes. We took our first sip and lifted our forks. Then, it happened. The Moment. "Salmon?" he said. "Yes. Salmon" I replied. "I hate salmon" he snarled and promptly left the table, never to return.
As I sat there, in my apron, covering my little outfit, I felt like a fool. I was so shocked I did not even get mad. I merely got up from the table still gleaming with promise and removed my embroidered apron. I cinched my satin bows around my waist and cleared the table. Why I did not walk out at that precise moment and call a lawyer I do not know. What I do know is that two children and 22 years later, I finally walked out. My moment happened early on in my shiny new marriage. It seems I was dazzled by all the finery surrounding our union, not the union itself. Now, though battle worn and sometimes weary, I still believe in the power of a little lace teddy and a bottle of Champagne. I plan on wielding both those tools again someday. I will make sure it is with a man who can look past the salmon and just see me. Bon Appetit.