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The Moment I Knew

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I stood under the chuppa of the Grand Sefardic Temple in Lawrence New York wearing the Priscilla of Boston dress hand selected by my mother at Kleinfelds. My bitten nails were frosted white, my straight hair permed and some lady gave me a professional make up job, my first. My two concessions to my real self were that I refused to wear a bra and under the silk satin, princess train gown I was wearing clogs. Blue suede clogs

In his black morning coat, my about-to-be husband David looked particularly handsome, dashing even, with his wavy black hair, blue eyes, and chiseled chin. He was just one generation removed from the same Lithuanian town as my father. We would have kids that looked like Pierce Brosnan and Daniel Day Lewis by way of Minsk.

His parents, four brothers, cousins, aunts, uncles and their families flew up from Florida and packed the hall. My mother, father brother, aunt, uncle and cousin took up half a row and carpooled in my dad's Buick. That was it. My parents were Holocaust Survivors and everyone they knew died in the war or was now dead to them in some weird, warped way. I had been told since I was small that rebuilding this family was going to be up to me.

I laughed. I fought them. I rebelled. I refused. I went to four colleges in four years and majored in coke, Quaaludes, fast cars and faster men. I changed apartments and boyfriends like people change underwear.

And then I met David at a sporting event I was covering for The New York Times. He was 28, a TV cameraman, and looking for a woman to start a family. I was 24 and yanked like a rubber band between my budding career as a writer and fulfilling what I was told was my responsibility to my family. After trying more men than Goldilocks times ten, I thought I had found one just right. For my parents.

I knew he was boring, Southern slow, and cheap. Very cheap. Very very cheap, So very cheap in fact... but that's another story. He was good genetic matter and he loved me. With him I was going to recreate all the dead I'd heard about, tied to faces I'd never seen. I was going to give them Yudel, Gitel, Rochel, Mirelea, Boris, Yosef and Sheindel back. I was, of course, going to change the names.

So I clomped down the aisle holding my fathers arm. I stood on the dais, staring into the smiling eyes of my future husband

And as the Rabbi droned on about marriage and family I did an about face and looked out at the crowd. I don't know what I was looking for and can only imagine what I looked like, but I heard my best friend Mark, sitting in the front row, whisper to our other best friend Alan. "Look at Fuckin Sandy. She gonna book. Look, she's gonna run. Holy shit."

He read me right. I was gonna run. Clogs be damned. But who or what was I running to? A handful of ludes? Another guy named Rocco?

I stayed put, and as David put the ring on my finger, I knew I was getting divorced.

But I stepped on the glass, kicked my clogs in the corner and danced the night away. My parents were thrilled. I got drunk. That night I told David the truth. This was not going to work. He begged me to stay, we had a family to build, and besides how could I leave after my parents spent so much on the wedding?

I named my three children after six of the dead relatives. Chaim Yankel looks a little like Pierce Brosnan, no that's not really his name, the other two, they ended up looking like me.

When my youngest started school I told David and my parents it was over. I'd done enough.

And this time, I ran.