I’m of that age when people get married. This latest wedding started for me last Saturday evening. I was invited to the Hen Night in a classy city-centre restaurant.
I hadn’t seen the bride in well over a year, so when she came into the restaurant, I gave her a massive hug and a squeeze.
Two minutes later she went to the loo. Five minutes after that a bridesmaid approached us, telling us the bride had had a car accident the day before, was covered in bruises from the seat belt, was in major pain and had to go to the hospital.
Oh no! Being the self-centred person I am, I couldn’t help blaming myself. I hugged her tight, now she’s covered in bruises and on her way to the hospital. Five days before her wedding. Clearly, all my fault.
We got word on Facebook that the wedding was going ahead. Phew! I hadn’t quite managed to ruin it.
The wedding was at 1:30 in Rush. If I left at 12:30, I was sure I’d be there in plenty of time. I put on some clothes to wash at 11:00. The laundry in Hall is fast and a wash and dry take about 40 minutes each. No problem getting on the road for 12:30.
Of course, I didn’t factor in the time it takes to separate whites from colours, to apply stain removers, to transfer clothes from the washing machines to the tumble dryers, to get the clothes down to the laundry and back up from the laundry.
With all this laundry-related coming and going, it was 12:45 when I started getting dressed. And then I discovered that the hole in the bum of my suit trousers, which I had had repaired before the last wedding I was at, had reappeared. The hole was now bigger. In fact, it was more of a gaping chasm, rather than the little rip it had started out life as.
My freshly washed blue shirt had a never-before-noticed rusty orange stain on it.
I donned my stained shirt and my holy slacks and I was on the road at 1:08, for a 1:30 wedding in Rush.
I drove like the wind. Except the wind doesn’t have to obey traffic laws. I do and I did and I pulled up at the church at 2:18. Only 48 minutes late.
There is a large sign on the side of the road, saying St. Maur’s Church, and behind it there are two buildings. One is large and imposing. It is old, has a steeple and a big stone cross on the roof. The other is squat and modern. Without even thinking about it, I ran into the old building with the church tower.
Of course it wasn’t the church. It was a library. I’m guessing the staff there have a lot of fun on wedding days.
I went to the modern building. This was, indeed, a church. I sidled into the back row.
I’d missed a fair bit of the wedding in that 48 minutes. In fact, they were married when I entered. The couple were still on the altar, facing the assembly (including me) when I tried to sneak in late.
The trendy young priest moved on to the communion phase of the wedding. I obediently responded with the assembly at the appropriate places in the ceremony.
Now, I’ve recently glammed up my iPhone with a squidgy orange button. It’s very lovely. However, it does mean that I sometimes press the home button on my phone accidentally in my pocket, simply by flexing my thigh muscles or just jiggling about.
The assembly had all just said “Lord, I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I will be healed.” Silence fell.
And then my pocket started speaking. Siri, the voice recognition software on my phone announced, “I’m sorry. I didn’t catch that.”
The entire left hand side of the church swung around. Accusing eyes burnt into me. I shuffled my feet and tried desperately not to look guilty, but at the same time smiled apologetically. I have no doubt guilt was written all over my body.
The ceremony ended and I got a proper look at the bridal party. They were, it goes without saying, gorgeous. They had white lacy wedding umbrellas, which I immediately fell in love with. And the bridesmaids were in white, which I liked so much as an idea, I might steal it for my wedding.
Anyway, at this stage it was about 3:00. A friend of mine was coming from work. I was to meet her at 6:00 and bring her to the reception. I’d been told that dinner would be served at 6:30.
I drove along the seaside of North County Dublin, admiring the wildness of it all. I had a lovely afternoon and met my friend at 6:00.
We were at the hotel not long after 6:30. We made our way to the room where the wedding was being celebrated.
The doors were closed and the sound of speeches filtered through the door. Crap! I’d managed to be late for the same wedding twice in one day!
We were, of course, sitting on the opposite side of the room from the door we came in through. More shifty sidling ensued as we made our way to our seats.
Our empty seats were directly in the bride’s eyeline. When we took our seats, one of the people at our table whispered to me guiltily. He’d drunk my champagne. I didn’t mind. He was very handsome.
Dinner was lovely. The handsome man had a lovely girlfriend and they were so interesting that I vaguely considered asking them if they were interested in adding a third person to their relationship.
Unfortunately, they had been drinking for about five hours by the time dinner ended. I was driving and sober. The conversation became more of a drunken lecture and my unconventional relationship ideas faded away.
As the music started we chatted to the groom, whom we had never met before. After a few politenesses, I said, “I’m Connor.” He replied, “No, no, no. That’s fine.”
Now, maybe he doesn’t believe in names.
Or, more likely, maybe he didn’t hear me over the music and thought I’d apologised for something.
What for, I wonder? Was it for squeezing his new bride all the way to a hospital bed only five days before? Or maybe for arriving late to the wedding? Or maybe for coming to the wedding in a torn and dirty suit? Or maybe for interrupting his wedding with my phone? Or maybe for arriving late to his wedding for a second time in one day?
I don’t know. Whatever the answer, I wish them both eons of joyful marriage.