By E.J. Gordon
We went to a wedding Saturday night. We hadn’t been to a wedding in years. We’re in that time in our lives when we are much more likely to be invited to a bar-mitzvah than to a wedding. But we had a wedding. It was for the daughter of a good family friend; a girl my husband had watched grow up, and one I had watched evolve from a teenager into a grown-up, working woman. She’d been with this man for six years, and everyone was quite ready for them to be married. It was a happy story.
Going to a fancy, Saturday night, black-tie wedding in the city is fun, BUT when you’ve got young kids, you live in the ‘burbs, and you’re out of the wedding circuit — it’s laden with logistics.
For instance, which sitter is old enough to stay at our house past midnight, and which sitter will be comfortable giving the kids dinner? And which one of us is staying sober for the night to drive us home, and does my tux still fit? Where is my tux? Do I still have cuff links? Can this dress double for a fancy bar-mitzvah dress? Am I allowed to wear nylons, or are they still passé?
Luckily, we ironed out our sitter, and my sister-in-law offered to drive us, and Jay’s tux did still fit (very impressively), and I passed on the nylons, and we were ready to get ready.
Saturday night arrives and now we’re running late, because name me one parent who is ready to leave at 5:30 on a Saturday night? The house is a mess; the dog wasn’t walked, and did someone order a pizza for the kids, and do you have the right change to give the sitter to pay for the pizza? Now I’m straightening my hair, because of the stupid humidity, and I’m concealing my zit (why do I still get zits at 40?), and trying to find that free Bobbi Brown mascara sample. I yell to Jay that he’s got to go pick up the sitter, but he wants, NO he needs to rest.
So now I’m texting the sitter to see if her brother can drop her off, while screaming: “Honey, enough with resting — you need to get in the shower!”
“I will, just give me a sec!” Jay says all annoyed. My daughter is climbing all over him, and he spills a little of his pre-Saturday night “pick-me-up” coffee on the bed.
He finally gets in the shower, which re-frizzes my hair. I fish out my fancy clutch and my new shoes. I can’t get my shoes on because my feet are still swollen from wearing tight shoes the night before. I decide just to carry them to the car and put them on when we get there.
“Where is that fucking Pashmina!” I yell, ripping through all of my clothes.
One of the closet lights is out, so I can’t tell a black Pashmina from a pair of black leggings, and I’m just not that organized to begin with.
Jay yells from the bathroom, “I thought I asked you to buy me new razor blades! Fuck!”
We switch places again. My husband asks me which cuff links he should wear.
“I don’t know,” I tell him.
“Well, come look!” he implores.
“I don’t know! They look the same!” I tell him.
“Now you know how I feel when you ask me which goddamn earrings to wear.”
A few minutes later I go check out my jewelry in the bathroom mirror. I hear a honk outside. “Fuck!” I yell. “Jay, can you turn the goddamn TV off?”
“Why?” he responds while he’s trying to get his cuff links in.
“This stupid show is stressing me out!” He ignores me, and I finally stomp over to the TV and turn it off while I sigh loudly all annoyed that he didn’t do it himself.
“I’m late too!! Don’t be mad at me!” he shouts.
I look around the room at the mess we’ve created in our massive whirlwind of wedding prep. “Whatever, I’ll clean it later,” I mutter under my breath. I grab my shoes, throw my lipstick and phone in my purse and look at my husband. He’s ignoring me. I’m waiting for him to look at me in my new dress and tell me I look beautiful, but he doesn’t say anything. I give him a look that says, “Well?”
He finally gets the hint and says, “Oh, you look beautiful.” At this point I feel like I’ve forced it out of him, so it has lost all meaning. We go downstairs and shout to the sitter that the money for the pizza is on the counter, and then we say a quick good-bye, remind them to lock the door behind us, and fly out of the house, Jay with his tux coat in his hands and me with my clutch and my shoes in hand.
We get in Jay’s sister’s mini-van. Becky looks at me and says, “E.J, I like your dress.”
“Thanks,” I say curtly, “I liked it in the store, but I got all self-conscious because Jay didn’t say anything when I put it on,” I say with an edge to my voice.
“I told you that you look beautiful!” he defends himself.
“Yes, but only after I gave you a look!”
Becky and her husband exchange a raised eyebrow, because they are the ones usually bickering, not us. We go pick up Jay’s brother. “Can you guys bring water!” I yell out to him and his wife.
“Two!” Jay yells.
“Three!” Becky yells, “No, four!”
They come toward the car, and Jay says, “Let’s go to the third row.”
“No, I hate sitting back there, I’ll get carsick.”
Jay rolls his eyes at me as I make his brother and his wife get in the back.
We pull out and head toward the highway to the city. P!nk’s song “Just Give Me a Reason” comes on. Jay says, “Oh I love this song.”
I smirk and say to the carload, “Your brother loves this song because he says I talk in my sleep about how I don’t love him anymore.”
Jay breaks into the chorus along with P!nk, “Just give me a reason, just a little bit’s enough, just a second, we’re not broken, just bent, and we can learn to love again!”
They all laugh at him, and I start to smile too. I always love it when he thinks he can sing.
We make it to the wedding early enough to go to the bar across the street and have a pre-wedding drink. We all spend a few minutes making fun of Jay’s parents, which is one of our fun group activities, then we hurry back to the wedding site. His parents have saved an entire row for the six of us, pissing off everyone around them who had wanted the “good seats”. His Mom gives us all a look that says, “Where the hell have you been?” We giggle and take our seats.
The classical music that’s playing pauses, so the whole room full of people eagerly turn their heads waiting to see the wedding party. No one comes out. Another minute goes by; I lean over to my brother-in-law and say, “maybe they forgot to bring the wedding license,” which is an allusion to my wedding when I forgot my license, and the rabbi threatened not to marry us. Just before I went down the aisle, my brother-in-law made fun of me about it, which made me cry. He looks at me now and says, “Should I go make her cry too?” We giggle and Jay rubs my leg at the reminder of our wedding.
They finally do come down. Everyone looks so happy. Everyone looks so young. The rabbi leads the ceremony. He reads the ketubah, the Jewish marriage contract, and translates to English, “I am my beloved and my beloved is mine.”
Jay leans over and says, “That’s the one we have too!”
“Yup,” I smile and grab his hand as I picture our ketubah framed and hanging on our bedroom wall.
Then the groom repeats the ancient Hebrew vows to his bride. Between the vodka I’d had and all of the references to our wedding, I feel utterly transported to the night I got married. I remember the look of shear love on my husband’s face. I remember feeling so excited that I was marrying him. I remember the way he held my hand and how I moved it behind me so that our hands were clasped at the small of my back. It was just yesterday that we were there ourselves.
The rabbi pulls out the glass and makes a comparison between the breaking of the glass and marriage, and about how no matter how broken things can get, “and things can get pretty broken,” he says, “your love can withstand anything.”
Jay leans over and says facetiously, “We’re broken, aren’t we?”
I whisper back, “We’re not broken, we’re bent.”
An hour and a half, six mini-lamb chops, and three drinks later, we were slow dancing. All of the kids’ whining, all of the messiness of the house, all of the homework and sports events, and all of the bickering had melted away and it was just us, just like it was in the very beginning …
Lisa Barr, Editor of GIRLilla Warfare: E.J. Gordon is a freelance writer, a regular contributor to GIRLillaWarfare, and “Sexpert”. Have any questions or topics that you would like her to address? Remember: No subject is taboo, and Anonymity is accepted. Contact E.J. at: EJGordon529@gmail.com.