The bride is a bad ass in lacy, sequined garters. She stalks the church pews with an evil eye daring any trouble makers to piss her off. She walks with purpose, her virginal white stilettos aimed with precision toward the alter. Her mother weeps gracefully among the crowd--knowing just when to dab her eyes for effect. Her father grips her hand unwilling to release his little girl. The groom looks sea sick and sweaty next to the pastor. It's almost as if he knows he's about to be castrated.
I stifle a chuckle.
I'm a high priestess in the church of hilarity. We sacrifice unsuspecting men and women in a ritualistic slaughtering of their souls. I bear witness to their blood spilled cross the alter--Christian, Jew, pagan matters not. Each spoken word nails the coffin. Week after week I romanticize their deaths and smear their faces across our temple walls . I pay homage to their lives and glorify their immolation. Or maybe I just write about weddings in our local paper.
The bride reaches the alter, her perfect hair swept up for the sake of "innocence," her smile painted sweetly on collagen enhanced lips. Her soon-to-be victim--er--husband--pries her hand from her father. The old man weeps like a baby and takes his place next to his wife. He wraps the old lady in his big bear arms and they watch their only daughter sign her life away with two insignificant words--"I do."
I do what? I wonder. I wash the laundry. I cook the meals. I bring you a beer. I wrangle the children. I listen to the monotony of your choosing. What is it to be today? How hot Lindsay Lohan is? How long it took you to beat Final Fantasy? How I disappointed you today? How you expected better of me? Do I agree to watch you blissfully live your life while I decay in milliseconds? Ok. Sure. Lets do that.
The whole room weeps and smiles at the happy couple. I stare surly out into the clear blue sky. The open window beckons me. But I've a job to do. Mention the florist, the baker, celebrate the magnificence of the caterer. Weddings are big business, you see. Thousands for a metal band, thousands for a dress that's the perfect blend of innocence and sex appeal. I'm drowning in taffeta and lace, choking on white--always white--never mind that the bride was balling the best man in college before ditching him for her latest conquest.
"I call on ye sinners to see the Lord's perfection in this holy union of flesh to flesh, in this man and woman as they bow their wills and pledge themselves into this unbreakable bond. I urge you to throw your hands up and witness the miracle of this young couple coming to God as children and then walking away as man and wife."
Great. The preacher is a holy roller. They always have to be that much more dramatic, as if their vibrating vocal chords are somehow more divinely inspired than any other pastor's. Truthfully these evangelicals just love the sound of their own voices. I bet he majored in theater.
The bride seems to realize that the preacher is stealing the show and she glares at him. Gotta love these Southern weddings. I can almost hear her thoughts; "I did not go through charm school, vomit half the contents of my stomach every day for the last 8 years, and compete in beauty pageants to become a tried and true Southern Belle only to have you make my day about you old man."
The pastor rails on oblivious to the bride's death stare.
I watch the scene with hungry eyes. I know she'll win. It's likely that the bridesmaids stitched Chinese stars along the hem of her expensive Vera Wang gown. "Bring it on," her gaze challenges.
He sweats and throws his arms wide and bellows, "Love is not jealous! Love is kind! Love is patient!"
So she kicks him.
It was subtle. Most of the onlookers missed it, but his surprised yelp made me positively giddy with joy. Perhaps God does reside in this red velvet mausoleum after all. The preacher man clears his throat and asks, "Let anyone who objects to this union speak now or forever hold his peace." I wanted to jump up and storm the aisle screaming like a banshee--just to see what the crowd would do. Instead I held my pen poised over my notebook and jotted a quick note, "No Chinese stars; stiletto kick instead. Bummer."
The rest of the ceremony was boring and uneventful. So I hung back watching 200 people shuffle out of the church and forge their way to the reception hall where booze and free food awaits them. Two teenage girls sit in front of me. "Didn't Elizabeth look amazing?! And Eric is so hot! She's so lucky. Momma says she's a true lady. You remember her coming of age party? She looked just like a fairy princess."
The other girl laughs, "You are such a ninny. No body cares about coming of age parties anymore. It's just for show to make old timers happy." Ninny, the first girl sulks. Unhappy that her friend doesn't see the glory in being a fairy princess, she continues, " I think it was beautiful. And Momma says that I can get a man like Eric one day if I remain pure of heart and flesh. So I joined the abstinence group at school." She crossed her spaghetti arms over her yet undeveloped bosom in the gesture of a truly spoiled brat.
The girl with a functioning braincell cocks an eyebrow at Ninny. "How much you wanna bet Ms. Innocent Elizabeth gives Sir Eric a blow job in the limo on the way to the airport? And if she doesn't....I bet Molly will."
Ninny sits ramrod straight in the pew. "Oh! You mean girl! Why would you say that, Lacy May?" She seems genuinely upset. Then she stops, "Wait. Do you know about something between Molly and Eric?"
That did it. I bust out laughing. No one does gossip like the South. "Ok girlies," I say, "We best be getting to the reception hall." They notice me for the first time. Ninny blushes a very lady like shade of pink. Lacy May could care less. I think Lacy May is gonna smart off, but Ninny drags her to her feet. "I hope the cake is chocolate!" Lacy chuckles, "Don't eat too much. Your Momma will whip ya good if you grow two asses."
I rub my temples and trudge slowly to the hall. I feel the shadow of the hang man's noose looming in the distance. I sigh... Weddings.