Wednesday, August 30, 2006
No Way Out
One of the most disturbing weddings I ever attended had the names of me and my most recent ex everywhere -- the matchbooks, napkins, balloons, posters. This coincidence, the bride and groom having identical names of me and my ex right down to the spelling, gave me pause. I couldn't turn around with seeing something marked. I went to this horrid event because one of my closest friends was the maid of honor -- I had only a fleeting acquaintance with the bride and virtually none with the groom, a man loathed by all at the wedding, except the bride. The affair, an expensive one at a huge hotel, included the standard horrible rendition of a Disney song during the wedding, sung so poorly it was my first smile of the evening. From that point on, I determined that this was comedy, not tragedy, and should be treated as such. It was hard to remember that, though, when I heard "The Wind Beneath My Wings" for the fifth time at the reception. Some sufferings are just too much -- I would have settled for a good Doobie Brothers cover band after the third time.
I sat next to the maid of honor's boyfriend, who I was supposed to keep company, and made sarcastic remarks to entertain myself. I had a boyfriend at the time who had his monthly National Guard weekend during the blessed event and did I envy him his excuse. He was a sweet man who claimed he'd rather be with me than go play soldier, and I almost couldn't recognize him in his army fatigues when he left for these weekends, the transformation was so complete. The bride, an unpleasant unattractive woman with a laugh that sounded like a cackle, was determined to make this fairy tale day the best one of her life. She'd just recovered from her third abortion (the husband found out and cried himself sick the day John Candy died -- the events were forever locked in his mind) and had stopped sleeping with all her exes in anticipation of her rebirth as a wife. Michelle the Bride had so much make-up on that she looked every bit the drag queen as she came down the aisle and she spent a lot of time at the reception telling everyone how she was going to fuck her new beloved in the limo even though she was staying at the hotel she'd had her wedding in, just like in a popular movie of the time, No Way Out, which starred Sean Young and Kevin Costner in a very hot sex scene that I in no way, shape, or form wanted to imagine the newlyweds reenacting. This, Michelle the Bride said, is the happiest fucking day of my fucking life at the end of the night in the bridal suite where she would start her time as a wife. Things are going to be different, she said. I'm different. One of the bridesmaids had turned on the television, and I kid you not, Uncle Buck starring John Candy was playing. I turned the channel and there was Only the Lonely, another John Candy vehicle. So much for the new life.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"I looked at him and he looked at me and we both wondered how something so ugly and sad could happen between two people who never argued except over the use of the subjunctive." Mrs. Harris
1 glass of champagne
1 splash of peach schnapps
1 splash of orange juice
Serve chilled and garnish with a cherry.
Benedictions and Maledictions
Conscious Pain and Suffering
A man with no legs gave me and my sister
a hundred dollars when my dad crashed
a plane into a power line. I watched him
ride around the neighborhood, his wheel-
chair so silent that you didn’t know where
he was going until he arrived. Sometimes he’d
do a black panther salute to the Texas sun, a
Vietnam Veteran ball cap to protect his head.
It’s not like you’d imagine. He didn’t lose
his legs during the war. A doctor amputated
his good leg, still having to take the one gone
to diabetes. A week before my father died,
the man’s wheelchair slid into a ditch where
he remained for over an hour. I wasn’t there,
but I can still see my dad pulling a big man out
of a hole, before the heat became too much to bear,
knowing there would be even hotter days ahead.