Back in the reception hall, I looked for my date. Instead I found Gwen crying like a little bitch and leaking mascara onto her chin. I don’t know why I was surprised. Last time we went to a movie the poor thing started weeping during a preview for a Miley Cyrus movie. I took her sobbing ass back to our table where we found Shane.
An old family friend quickly approached and cornered me. Always the adorable southern gentleman, Shane stood to join the conversation.
“Elly, I’m so glad to see you. Gwen kept us up to date on everything and I’m so glad you’re doing well.” I’m pretty sure I will have this strange post-cancer conversation at least once a year for the rest of my life. If that is the case, I’m hoping there’s a whole lot more of those conversations. Anyway, after the mandatory gosh-I-feel-great-and-so-very-lucky responses she moved ahead to, “Is this your husband?”
Shane and I both laughed hysterically. Between the snorts and teary eyes I answered, “No, this is Shane – Gwen and my ex-boyfriend.”
That sent the poor woman for a loop. “Oh yes Shane. I know he and Gwen dated but I hadn’t realized you two had ever seen each other.” She made it sound as though we lived in a culture where men and women simply did not interact. Shane took a decidedly larger than normal swallow of his beer.
“Briefly,” I answered. Shane just absorbed it all and smiled widely. Have I mentioned just how many margaritas I owe him for being so adorable? “Will you be having any dinner, Ms. Lonon?” he asked before escaping to the buffet line. Who talks like that in real life? The answer is Shane, folks.
Not fifteen minutes later poor Shane spotted the girl that he’d escorted to prom. I’m betting that poor bastard was the only one in the room with three exes present. Clearly the man needed to widen his dating pool.
While he chatted with her, I snuck out into the cool fall air to regroup. When this brain is muddled, crowds are particularly hard. I was tired and emotional and just needed a break. Besides, I have never been able to pass up a chance to lay on a picnic table and look up at that clear Carolina sky. You generally can’t do that in Central Park. In NC you have to worry about mosquitoes and the chill, as opposed to NYC where you have to worry about muggers, rapists, molesters and a possible criminal record.
Of course Captain Chivalry found me as soon as he finished his conversation. We caught up on all the random details of each others lives. “Do you see yourself working in music again?” he asked.
“Um, no. It will always be in my life, but working in the business nearly robbed me of one of my all time favorite things. I don’t want to resent music. It shouldn’t be something I have to do or hear. I’d rather just enjoy it for the sake of enjoying it.”
He described some of his musical undertakings and I complimented him on the videos I’d seen of his latest project – Come Hell or High Water. In his consistently shy Shane way, he modestly minimized his participation. “With music like that, you just have to stay out of the way so you don’t muck it up. I’m just glad to be a part of it.”
Seriously. You just don’t find that kind of simple goodness outside of Carolina, folks. Sorry ladies (and my flock of gays), he’s in a committed relationship (ps not gay) but I’d be happy to forward him your requests for a blind date just for kicks.
The mosquitoes didn’t feast long before we retreated to the reception hall. He mingled with old high school friends while I sat with Gwen and watched her sister swing dance. I fell into a sort of trance, trying to absorb all my surroundings, until Gwen shot straight out of her seat with alarm. I tried to focus as she sprinted towards her sister, her midnight satin train billowing behind her.
Flames. Small flames, mind you, but flames all the same…and a bit of smoke. Yes folks, the bride was on fire. I don’t know what to tell you. That’s just how we roll in the South. If you can’t afford fireworks, it doesn’t mean you can’t set the roof on fire. Let the mother fucker burn, as they say.
Shane left early. Apparently his battery was dead but God forbid he should ask a girl to help. He probably asked twenty odd other people to jump his car before admitting there was a problem to any of us lady folk. I suppose the South isn’t perfect, after all.
My tired ass didn’t make it much longer. I tried to sit through the glow sticks and electronica, but I’m just too old for that shit. I’m a Matron of Honor, after all. Driving up to Virginia I was overwhelmed by the inky black enveloping my car – the black that only exists on the back roads of rural America. I tried to find the rear view mirror, but failed miserably. The onyx sky reflected in the mirror blended seamlessly into the indigo trees ahead of me. I couldn’t find where one ended and the other began. That land down there is just plain gorgeous.
I had not so secretly hoped that Gwen’s wedding would be down in the land of Dixie, catered by Chick-fil-a and Biscuitville. Sadly I think we’ll be in Maryland eating crabs and drinking champagne, instead of barbeque and RC Colas. Hell, I really don’t care so long as no one smacks a bow on my ass and calls me Matron. I’d hate to have to leave the reception for a cage match….but I will if I have to.