That night, I felt anxious before my girlfriends and I had even arrived at the bar.
Once we were seated, I didn’t sip my drink. Instead, I gulped down cocktail after cocktail to take the edge off my mounting unease.
"Last night out before you’re a missus!" my friend Jaz, who knew me as a party animal, whooped as I downed yet another strawberry daiquiri. She winked and gestured to the barman for a refill. "We’re only just getting started!"
To the cheering friends around me, my eagerness to get plastered made it look like I was in the mood to revel. But I wasn’t drinking to celebrate my imminent marriage.
Instead, I was drinking to escape the voice in my head that warned: "Angie! You’re not ready to commit!"
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I was getting cold feet.
An hour into the drinking session, I excused myself to go to the toilet. My legs wobbled beneath me when I stood up.
In the quiet cubicle, I took my time. I needed to be alone. I didn’t understand why, but I felt overcome by a powerful mix of anger and grief. My friends were too rambunctious with happiness, too excited on my behalf.
Deep down, I felt jealous of their carefree lives. Why were they so keen to celebrate the end of my freedom? I wanted nothing more than to go to bed in a stupor, away from their banter and laughter and high hopes for my future.
Instead, I loitered by the hand dryer, delaying my return to the bar. I took deep breaths to try to ease the tightness in my chest. What was wrong with me? Why wasn’t I happy?
I felt certain I loved my husband-to-be, Jayden. At the same time, a part of me resented him for wanting to tie me down.
After our wedding, we planned to move back to his hometown. I pictured myself, decade after decade, supporting his hobbies, prioritising his career, having sex the way he liked it.
Had my future been decided? Would that be my life?