Always a Bridesmaid...Sort of--Part 1
I’d hoped to announce something exciting like that my lastest WIP is done. But it is not. You want to know why it’s not?
Because of dress fittings.
What kind of dress fittings, you may ask?
Bridesmaid dress fittings.
That’s right. I’m a %#$% bridesmaid. At my advanced age—I’m a grandma!—I somehow manage to succumb to the fate that I’ve avoided for all these years (I think. I may have accidentally been one, but I'll explain that later). Truthfully, I’ve not avoided it on purpose, but I’ve just been really happy to not be asked to stand up in line with six other of the bride’s besties wearing some taffeta monstrosity chosen for its correlation to the wedding color and theme. I love dresses—you KNOW how I love dresses—and some bridesmaid dresses can be kind of ugly.
Before I get into that, here’s how I got wrangled into bridesmaid-dom. My friend, whom I will call Ann so as not to out her as the bridezilla that she has become in mid-life, got divorced about five years ago. It was a traumatizing event complete with infidelity, harsh accusations, failed couples therapy, soul-crushing dating experiences, and everything bad you’ve heard about that occurs during rancorous divorces. As Ann's friend, I tried to be there for her, and it was heart-breaking to see her emotionally distraught journey.
However, fast forward to one of the nice stops on that journey—Ed (again, not his real name). Ed’s a helluva nice guy. He’s someone you’d want your daughter to marry if she were a fifty-ish divorcee. He’s just a pleasant man who loves Ann to the ends of the earth, and to see them together is wonderful. I’m sure their marriage will be super duper, as Ed likes to say, if we can just get past the wedding, which is where I come in.
Ann and I have been friends since before she married The Jerk, which is what she lovingly calls her ex-husband, who is also still a friend of mine. It was one of those things where we all hung out together and enjoyed life, friendship, and whatever the future would hold. Many in our group of friends was pretty laid back. We liked to hang out a lot on the beach. I mean, a lot. We’d have intellectual discussions and make plans to save the world. Some people played volleyball; some ate whatever was cooking over the fire. There could be several activities going on all at once, and people sort of drifted between them as the spirit, or the glow from their beer, moved them. This relaxed chaos was so prevalent that it could happen that a wedding would be going on right next to the group discussing Tolstoy or water birthing, and if you stood up to go to the bathroom at the wrong time, you might end up a member of the wedding party without even trying. This may have happened to me once, but it was pretty painless (I think I yelled woo-hoo and then two people kissed and the officiant stumbled away to get some clams), so it didn’t bother me. I was kind of a hippie sort, so whatever.
And now here we are, some years and a couple of kids and grandkids later, and I find myself set to traipse down the aisle in a lemon yellow—it’s lemon, I swear by all that is holy—strapless dress (Strapless? At my age? Even if gravity didn’t hate me…really?) on the arm of some seventeen year old who is not my husband in front of--get this--three hundred people. I didn’t even know she knew three hundred people! Hell, I don’t know three hundred people, at least not that I would invite to a wedding.
I agreed to be a bridesmaid because my friend excitedly asked me, as a lifelong friend, to be a part of something special to her and her life’s journey. I thought she meant a small gathering of her closest pals watching her and Ed agree to share everything, including his Stars Wars action figure collection, not an event to rival a politician's announcement for her presidential candidacy. However, as the preparations for her big day progressed, I realized that she wanted to have a big fancy wedding that included as many people attending as being in the actual wedding party. When I asked her why, she explained that she, as she put it, “wanted to get it right this time.” If by “get it right” she means have a lot of people in one place at the same time watching old ladies trying to keep a their breasts from flopping out of strapless dresses while she pledges her undying love to Ed while white doves fly around the church and a choir sings “their” song in the background, then, yeah, I’d say she’s on the right track. If she’s talking about having a successful marriage wherein two people create a life for themselves and their family based on love and friendship, then I’d say that, no, her love caboose derailed somewhere between "I really do love Ed" and "I'm still angry enough at The Jerk to have a wedding that will wipe out all the memories of the wedding I had with him before he dumped me for someone else."
Well, that's the first part of this saga. I'm sure it's going to gets worse before it gets better. Why? She invited the The Jerk and his new wife to the wedding, and they've RSVPed that they are coming. Yeah, my first official gig as a bridesmaid is going to be VERY interesting. Until my next installment of Oh, This is Bad, This is Very, Very Bad...