Journey through space to the Planet Fabulous, where the Ruler of the Universe will see you shortly.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Attack with A Blunt Weapon

Clare looked glorious, but is there ever a moment when brides do not? It's not just the frock, I'm sure - there's an inner poise and grace that wells up from within. Radiant, that's the word. And Clare certainly was that. Although I'm a firm believer that anyone can do anything in a wedding dress and still look amazing. Like dance, serve burgers to guests and run across busy roads.

"Ooh. Salmon. Lovely!" I said.
"What are you, one of those 'vegetarians'," the woman said from across the table, saying the word like we Gentlemen Who Can't Catch say 'vagina'. I frowned; I'd barely taken her in as we sat down, but there she was, issuing judgment from over the centerpiece.
"Oh come on. You can't be a proper vegetarian and eat fish," I said in my best matter-of-fact voice. Probably came across as a bit prissy, but who the hell did she think she was anyway. Hmph.
She didn't look up.

It turned out that Richard, a man to our right, loved nothing more than running around in fatigues, locking and loading and shooting likeminded men with a pellet gun in a forest near Worksop. He seemed nice enough. Clearly had a subscription to every gun magazine going, and after a few pints would probably try to count the ways he knew how to kill a man using the cutlery in front of him. Including the rather fetching ribbon the napkin was wrapped in.
"I wish you'd assassinated James Blunt," I exclaimed, plucking a name out the air. I was going to say Geri Halliwell, but I do try and butch up for these things. You never know who you're going to sit next to at a wedding, and the last thing you want to do is have an outbreak of rampant homophobia on someone else's big day.
"I like James Blunt," she said. It was barely audible, but the point was being made.
Well. Clearly the woman had no redeeming features at all. I resolved to make as many attacks on James Blunt as I could for the meal.
She went back to texting someone, then started scraping at her husband's summer pudding with all the deftness of a JCB digger.

* * *

People were starting to cry.
I hung my head slightly. I didn't really know anyone here that well, coming along as my flatmate Jay's 'plus one'. It felt slightly intrusive to be at the service; there were aunts, great grandmothers - whole rafts of women sobbing into their hankies. And I was getting nothing but a slight sadness and embarrassment that this didn't mean as much to me as the poor bridesmaid over there who was a mess of snot and mascara.
At least there were no hymns. There's nothing like celebrating a blessed union like a loveless, dirgy old tune about some green hills miles away.
The hall was draped with ivy and fairy lights. The window they were in front of gave the view of the sea rolling in, and the clouds were low and spectacular.
It was so lovely. I wished I could have shared it with someone.
I thought on: there was only one person who would have appreciated it as much as I could have. Who I'd have liked to have been there to see what I was seeing.
And that was my recent ex.
Right then, I had such a physical feeling of missing him I almost gasped.
"You may kiss the bride," someone announced.
Something pricked at my eye. I put it down to hayfever.

* * *

It had taken us this long to get to what our occupations were, which was a surprise. Although we did have that stalwart 'so how do you know Neil the groom' to go through first. Most of us knew him through playing Warhammer. Or in my case, wandering though the kitchen while he and Jay were playing Warhammer and offering him a tea.
"You work on Doctor Who?" asked her husband. She was still texting, barely looking up over her glasses.
I nodded, and also mentioned the spin-off Torchwood, where I'd help design the computer graphics they use on the main Hub set.
"Oh mate, let me shake your hand!" he said, and grasped my palm in a firm grip, and proceeded to unspool about how scary the Daleks were.
"I couldn't stand the Yetis," said my new arch-nemesis to no-one in particular.
She turned out to be an RE teacher. Or a PE teacher. I couldn't hear over the crowd.
"I've never been a fan of organised religion," I said, edging my bets and preparing to clamber up onto my soap box.
She thought for a second, and I could feel myself tensing for the retaliating blow. "Hmm. Neither have I," she said.
We caught each other's smiles by accident.

* * *

I'd had a terrible night before. I've been half-seeing a boy. It's a good thing, as he's got a boyfriend and I'm taking the time to discover myself. And most of the boys in London, for that matter. Gays, eh? Well, it started to go wrong. Just a little, but just enough for me to question whether it was a good thing for me to be seeing him when I'm in this state.
There's nothing like looking out onto a blistering sea on your own, wind picking at your tie as the sun sets while you mournfully ponder your life.
Until you realise you've started looking like an Alias cut-away scene, usually where they play soft rock. So you snap out of it with a giggle and go and get more wine.

* * *

It turned out she was called Ann. She thought the new series of Doctor Who was very good, but as sci-fi went, she much preferred Aliens.
"I just love it when she gets into that big machine at the end and yells 'Get away from her, you bitch!'"
Everyone had joined in with her last bit, and we started discussing the merits of Sigourney Weaver's shaggy perm, sadly lost to the acting community since Alien3. We all mimed a tear.

* * *

Someone told me you should always invite a gay to a wedding. They're always the first up the bar, and first on the dancefloor. And the natural friend of the Wedding Gay is the Cynical, Worldly Woman. You can normally find them around any alcohol, barstool or away from any men. If you find one at a wedding, you're guaranteed a good time.

* * *

"Oh yes, all men are bastards," she agreed. "Me, I can't nod off until I've read three chapters of a serial killer before I go to bed," she said.
And she taught children. Clearly I approved.
By this point I'd moved around and accidentally scratched Ann's arm with a wild gesture, while we compared the relative merits of Keanu Reeves. She knew every word of the classic 'Rebecca' too. Recited swathes of it for us at the table right there. Brilliant.
By this point, we'd discussed belief, boys and where the best place for your cat to sit in order to get the cutest picture.
"You know," she said. "I've been thinking. Of things I could get you to do for me for free."
"You cheeky mare!"
"No, go on. We have no budget at school. Come in and talk to my girls! They'd love you! No, really, they would!"
What a strange turn of events, I thought, loving every minute.

* * *

We said goodbye to the bride and groom, who thanked us for coming and getting everyone up dancing.
We said we were just doing our jobs. And told them we'd had a brilliant time.
At the start of events, I hadn't known anyone; by the end of it, friends all over the room. Neil and Claire made the most beautiful couple.
I wish I could have gone back to the beginning. I'd have cried at the service like everyone else.


mike said...

Oh, don't. You'll set me off and all. I can already feel the ocular prickings.

Best Glitter For Brains post Evah.

Ollie said...

I'm normally a bitter old crow, but after reading that I feel like I've just sat through a Beaches marathon. I was very touched.. and not in a naughty way.

Inexplicable DeVice said...

Oh, it restores the milk of human... ? Something or other, anyway.

Whenever I hear: "You may now kiss the bride", I always expect the entire congregation to leap to their feet (except those without legs, of course) and rush the meringue'd woman, each one intent on planting a smacker on her.

I don't know why. I just think it'd be funny.

First Nations said...

fantastic, my darling.
as always, i adore you recklessly.

The Lady V said...

That must rank as one the most fabulous pieces of writing you've done. Beautiful, darling.


Clare said...

"I wish I could have gone back to the beginning. I'd have cried at the service like everyone else."

I LOVE this ending. And the rest of it, too.

ViVi said...

oh well done, Lee!! gorgeous writing, really. :)

klee said...

The gays are always first on the dancefloor at weddings. Usually teaching the 7 year olds how to dance to S Club.

"No, sweetheart, it's REACH for the stars..."

Adam said...

i prefer you when you're bitter ;)

Gary said...

Aw! And yes, lovely writing.

Qenny said...

I missed this one when you first wrote it, because I've been avoiding blogging for a while, but I'm very glad I read it - it was lovely, and such a beautiful twist. I'll give Adam a slap for his comment next time I see him. :)