21: When I got married

Segment 31: When a Third WorldCame West

We stood linking the ends of each others hands in front of Diane more because it was the thing to do than because we really wanted to do it because we both felt uncomfortable and kept shifting our weights as we stood.  There we were under the white bridal arch with wicker X’s that crossed and made room for the fake plastic ivy vines to wind through their spaces to create a border that was as contrived as Sam’s idea for going through with this whole thing without any relatives around except for my dad who was doing injunctions seven feet from above us on the fourteenth floor.  Except Diane and except for the handful of English as a second language users who had seen me cross the waiting room aisle and into the door where this justice of the peace stood, no one else knew we were here.  She was saying all these things, Diane and I was thinking all this, how no one I was here, how I really hadn’t thought this through, how I’d picked out costume jewelry diamond earrings that didn’t even have the correct amount of pendants that the matching one did on my other ear.  How I’d rushed to pick out the wrong kind of cream colored shoes that didn’t really match my white dress, that I didn’t even do my hair in the bathroom, brush it, or sweep it behind my ears.  And in fact I was still catching my breath from not having had on my wedding dress in the first place and making Diane and Sam wait while heading to the bathroom to slip on it and the accessories that I was thinking would make this time more worth while.  But two minutes later practically and she’d gotten done with what she’d said and I’d said “I do” and he’d put the silver ring on with the scratches in the silver band on me and I’d said “yes” and didn’t put anything on his finger since he wouldn’t go to kismet or any other cheap store to find a plastic, hemp or hematite ring in the least, to match my own.   So there we were nearly at the end of the day, filing out with all the late workers at 530 through the parking garage except that he had a yellow carnation in the breast of his I mean my step-dad’s coat pocket, and due to me wearing a white dress down to my mid-thighs, holding some stems of dried flowers that I’d picked from behind our toilet seat from the glass blue vase of lavender.  I’d tied them with some yellow string that I used when I cross stitched the twelve days of Christmas ornaments and had some left over after I’d finished the pillow ornament with the three French hens.

“Well,” I said as we walked across level 5 of the parking garage and down the steps to the fourth floor where the elevator was, “What now?  Should we go to dinner?” It sounded appropriate and Sam agreed, but we didn’t want to go to anyplace around here so we made a promise to go out on west I-4 towards the Olive Garden on I-Drive.  I would drive.  We stepped across Robinson together without holding hands and Sam slipped some Camels out from his, I mean my step-dad’s pockets, that I hadn’t seen him slip in there before and I worried about the tar bits that would accumulate for the dry cleaners.  But I didn’t say anything, I just walked when the stick figure on the walk sign turned white and looked out at Lake Lily with her man-made fountain spitting water up into the air and saw the red awning of Lee’s Lakeside behind her, thinking that that restaurant could have been where I’d had my reception had Sam mingled with my parents more and made good with them.  But instead we hopped in either side of my black Jetta and headed west on the interstate towards the Olive Garden.

He ordered steak of course with tomato penne pasta and I had some lighter fare, the salmon with tomato concasse and spinach.  I kept looking at my ring the whole time thinking “I’m married, I’m married, I’m married”.  Because I would have never guessed it’d be this soon, I always pictured me older with my master’s degree, with some experience behind my back.  But who knew?  And Sam was smiling, he had a big grin and we looked at each other a few times and smiled and I felt close to him, like I hadn’t before, so that was good.  At least something felt right about crossing this big line that would lead to a big divide.  And then what usually happened when I ate too many bites at once was that I’d sit back and contemplate, like “When was I going to tell my parents? What if dad found out?  What was mom gonna say at church?  What was dad gonna say at temple?  What was I gonna say to my friends?”  I chewed my cheek then looked down back at my pretty simple linen dress, that I’d gotten from a rummage shop or vintage store in Chapel Hill, and I looked at my ring again and Sam so handsome and I knew I’d married my counterpart, so I took a sip of our wine and felt settled again.  “Should we order dessert?” I said.  “For our wedding?”  And Sam as usual said tiramisu because that was his favorite even though they had gelato on the menu that I rarely got to ever had and wanted.  So we ordered what he wanted with two forks, we told the waiter it was our wedding day hoping he’d give it to us for free, add some candles sing a song, have the celebration for us that no one else knew to give us.  I’d had birthday’s here where they brought out a fudge brownies with ice cream and a candle in the middle, embarrassing you in front of the long table with your family and friends, but this celebration was new.  I’d never been to one of these when you told them you’d just gotten married.  And so ten minutes later they came out with what they ordered and I clapped along with them when they sang congratulations to us, probably the same song they sang to students who’d graduated high school or college, or to new parents and blew out the candles before Sam could get to them as they lay our dessert on the table.

Sam ordered more table-wine but I put my tipsy hand over his and told him not a bottle, just the glasses and I stumbled to move my plush cushion chair to excuse myself to the restroom.  We were married!  We were going to have babies and I was going to have them with him, the handsomest artist in the room. He’d be a great dad.  I came into the bathroom and passed myself in the mirror going straight to lock myself behind the restroom stall, I didn’t need to see how young I was because I already knew I was capable and we’d live in a small low-rent apartment around the corner from my mom and dad and he’d work part time as a waiter at Dante’s where he’d gotten a job, and I’d go to college, for the both of us.  I sat down to pee on the toilet seat and grabbed for the paper from the metal slot and felt flushed.  I needed water.  I came back around to the dinner table five minutes later and saw the clasp of my small dress purse opened and my wallet out.  “Where’s my wallet?” I asked, feeling the blood rush from out of my cheeks.

“Your card declined,” groaned Sam.
“What?” I said.  I felt the wine and the enthusiasm from my bathroom thoughts drain from my face and I searched around the white cocktail linen table cloth for my wallet.  “Where is it?” I asked.  He plopped it on the table from where he was storing it underneath the table.  I looked through it for other cards but one was a Target card only good for in-store, the other one a Firestone card good for the same thing.  I groaned but I was still in a good mood and I so I waved my waiter over still seeing that I had wine in my glass and that Sam still had some in his.  We could still enjoy ourselves and have a good time.  There was half the tiramisu on the table with a lump of caramel on the top that had gone untouched.  I whispered into the waiter’s ear once he got to us,

“You know, it’s our wedding day.  We’re so excited.  Our parent’s can’t be here and we’re also sad.”  I didn’t know how I came up with this part but I did: “So we’re saving up enough, I work at Disney, to bring them all here.”  I was still whispering, “So you know how it is, you do, you know?”  The man was a shorter Mexican guy who spoke broken English and waited politely but still for an answer.  “I have a roommate,” I whispered, I pulled the cuff of his coat sleeve towards me so that I could do some more whispering, “who has lots of money.  She’s rich.  I’ll go back to my house and I’ll call her and I’ll give you her credit card number, I swear.  I’ll leave something with you so that you’ll believe me. You know?”  I dug out my Target credit card that I swore I was gonna cancel just as soon as I got to my cell phone outside and I handed it to the waiter, ‘Almo’ was his name.  He seemed to agree sort of to this and I took my wine and gulped a sip of it and tapped Sam to do the same.  He looked away from me.  “I solved it,” I said.  “Don’t be mad.” I’d talked to him once more this confidently while we were smoking pot next to the wall in our old apartment against the blue couch at Elon.  “Take a sip, I want to kiss you.”  But he wrote me off as tipsy and paid attention to the game instead of soccer on TV because he loved soccer and so I ate the rest of the caramel on top of the tiramisu since he wasn’t watching and drank the rest of my wine and tried to drink the rest of his.

Of course I had to drop him off at the homeless shelter before 9 and it was 8 45 so we weren’t gonna be able to do anything after our wedding which was fine with me because I still had to drive twenty minutes to my house and I was tired from today anyway.  But it was sort of sad having to wait in the Orlando Magic’s parking lot across from the BobCarr theater while he changed out from Jim’s suit and back into his sleep pants and worn button down shirt that he used for pajamas, to go back to my house.  I had to do the same thing, changing into a pair of jeans and a long Indian cotton brown shirt I’d gotten one time at the beach.  I tried not to look at him when I kissed him because I didn’t want to think of it all, how I wouldn’t be able to crawl over into the covers with him tonight, and let him out.  I drove home and parked as usual, turned off the hall lights when my mom complained that they were too bright for her to sleep, washed my face in the sink, brushed up, and hopped into myGarfieldnightgown that had twice been shrunk in the wash.  I hopped into bed and kept the light on before going to sleep so that I could slip out from the white wicker in-table the thin baby naming book that I’d bought at our Walgreens two months before.

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