Christina Aguilera crooned on my car’s radio: Say something – I’m giving up on you. I quickly shoved my key to ‘off’ position and sweet silence reigned. I sigh, peering through the rain at the shop across the street from where I parked. Bridal and Tux.

Seven months ago, I parallel parked in this very spot, accompanied by my maid of honor and bubbly bridesmaids, all of us smiles and happy tears. That was my dress fitting. Today was the day before the wedding. The now called-off wedding.

The “called-off” part brought a rush of angry adrenaline into my system and I leapt out my car. I lugged the plastic-covered, puffy, fluffy dress out of the backseat. Carrying it in front of me, I couldn’t see a thing, and after almost getting hit by two different taxis and trying to push the pull door, I made it to the front counter of the shop.

A bright blonde in a tight pink dress stood behind the cash register.

Huffing and puffing, I leaned the dress against the counter. “Hi, I’d like to return this.”

The blonde nodded as if completely understanding, but uttered the words: “We have a strict no return and no exchange policy.”

I remembered that from my dress fitting. “Can’t we overlook that for a minute?” I asked, with a pleading look in my eyes. “It’s just been a… crazy few days, and I need to get this off my hands.”

She half grimaced but half smiled at me. As if there was anything even half happy about returning a wedding dress. “Strict policy. Sorry. There’s a consignment shop two blocks over.”

Consignment shop? But I wanted a receipt that attested to the return transaction. I wanted to be sure I had something in return. Something for me to figuratively shake in his face to tell him that I would not leave this situation broken and empty handed. He may have exchanged his love for me for some other younger, blonde woman, but he could not take everything.

The fake blonde with her plastic smile disappeared into the back room, leaving me with the big, fluffy, plastic-covered mass in my arms.

Why did this whole thing seem so backwards? My fiancé told me he’d love me forever, and then he returned his love. Isn’t love the thing that is supposed to have a strict no return – and no exchange –policy? For him, love had no limitations on returns, but I can’t return anything. I’m left cheater and a giant reminder of him in the form of this lacy, itchy, wedding dress.

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