Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Kimmydon Week 29: Wedding Day


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Kimmydon's Choice: Both

Wedding Day

Six months had seemed plenty of time to plan a wedding, plenty of time to make bookings and purchases....

Six months was the blink of an eye. Holding Christopher’s baby boy, Jesse, I was reminded of it. The last six months had changed him from the baby in the saucer, gumming crackers, to this toddler who ran, yelled and climbed anything he found that he could. As an only child, I thought Jesse would make an excellent ring bearer and flower boy, mainly because we didn’t have any other candidates. No one else had any children, and Peter had only distant relations that he didn’t know well. They’d been invited, just the same. Grandma Netty and his father’s parents had flown in for the ceremony, arriving days before. We were sharing his old bedroom while Grandma Netty stayed in Sarah’s old room.

My parents’ house was hosting a night-before party. Mary, Jamie, and Jamie’s brothers were here. My bridesmaids were still trying to convince me to go out, particularly to a strip club, arguing that this was my last night of freedom. I was more interested in spending it with my parents. I didn’t seem to visit them enough anymore. I hadn’t talked to Don or Chris in ages, either and was keen to catch up with them.

Jesse, tiny fingers pudgy, grabbed my hair and pulled.

“Ouch!” I yelped, wrapping my hand around his. I tempered my reaction, not wanting to frighten him. “Let go, please,” I tried to say calmly, the way Jennifer, his mother did.

He grinned baby teeth and said, “Ba!”

I couldn’t help but smile, even though it undermined my authority. “Yes, Jesse, I’m Beth. Now please let go.”

“Ma, Ba.” He smiled broader at the two word combination, something very new to him.

Jennifer strode over and helped extract the tiny fingers from my hair. “Good thing it’ll be up tomorrow,” she mused. “He loves hair.”

I agreed quickly, rising to see Chris and his family out. Turning back to my parents and friends, I was seized by the arms, Mary and Jaime pulling me up the stairs to my old bedroom.

“Good night, Mom! Good night, Dad!” I called over her shoulder, sensing I wouldn’t be coming back down tonight. After smearing my face with a thick mask, Jamie and Mary sat in the open window, Jamie playing with my bloomers. The frilly satin made me smile. Mary was still amazed that I’d chosen such a short dress.

“Bloomers, Beth? Really?”

“Well, it is a short skirt,” I said in my defense.

“It is. I’m fine with that, but bloomers?!”

I shrugged, closing my eyes and putting cucumber slices on them. “They came with the dress.”

“I like it,” Jamie said, flicking my bloomers, making them snap. “It’s like a baby doll’s dress.”

I nodded, unseeing. “Exactly. I’m going to have my hair in a pair of pigtails, too.”

“Why the kid theme?” Mary asked. “Are you feeling immature? Eager for babies of your own?”

I shook my head, sighing. How to explain? “No theme, I just like to be able to move easily, and the dress is pretty.”

“Oh, come on, Mary. Let’s let the princess have her dreams of babies.”

Taking off a cucumber slice, I threw it at Jamie, the other was for Mary. Mary scowled at me, but Jamie just caught the slice and ate it.

“You’re really sure about this?” Jamie asked, suddenly concerned. “You haven’t even been dating a year, Beth.”

“I know, and I am sure I want this. The sooner the better.”

“If you’re sure, Bet,” she said, happy again, hugging me and kissing one of my green cheeks. “Tasty. Got any tortilla?”

“Go on,” I told her, shoving her slightly.

“We’ll be back in the morning, Beth,” Mary said, hugging me as well. “I’m so happy for you.”

Sleep was elusive, my mind straying to worries of things not done, items forgotten. The next day brought sunshine and my bridesmaids jumping on her bed.

“Ack! Get off!” I cried, shielding my face with my arms.

They giggled but slid down. “Hurry up! We have to make you pretty!” Mary said, pulling my arm. She said it like it was a chore.

Jamie stood still, looking out the window she’d sat in the night before. “When are they bringing Jesse?” she asked, going from cheerful to concerned in a heartbeat.

“Ummm. Noon? No, one. After a nap,” I said as I buttoned up a shirt that wouldn’t muss my hair after it as finished.

“Call them.”

“What?” I asked, confused. Mary had been spinning me around but stopped now. “Why?”

“A bad feeling. I’ll call Chris.” She pulled out her phone and started dialing. She grinned as soon as he picked up. “He’s okay?” she asked. Then she nodded and hung up.

“How do you do that?” I asked. Sometimes she seemed psychic.

“That’s what Chris asked,” she said with a chuckle. “Jesse took a spill off the kitchen table. No one knows how or why he was on the kitchen table. Good news? Just a bump, no scratches. He’ll still be pretty.”

I shook my head hoping that would the only bump of the day.

It wasn’t, of course. Mary and Jamie fought over make-up for twenty minutes before agreeing on something that might suit me. I was just glad they agreed. I never went crazy with make-up myself. Of course, a half hour later, they cleaned it all off and started again. It was an effort not to lose patience. The hair was worse. I was trying to sneak some lunch while they were busy working on each other, taking a breather while their attention was diverted.

Mom came into the kitchen and kissed my cheek. Her make-up was on and her hair dressed. “How you doing? Nervous?”

I’d seen her Mom and Dad moving in and out over the morning, but they’d been absent for a while. Dad came down and stole some of my carrot sticks, making me smile. He loved stealing off other people’s plates.

“Nope. More worried about my bridesmaids, actually,” I whispered, hoping neither heard me. Mary didn’t respond.

“We won’t hurt you,” Jamie said snidely.

It was true, and soon after, I was playing outside with Jesse while a photographer took pictures. He was happy in his little white coveralls and dark curly hair.

“Are you ready, Jesse?” I asked, noticing people were packing up and loading into a car out front.

“Ba!” he said happily, bouncing his dimpled knees. Then he stumbled to me and wrapped his arms around me neck. Thankful my hair was all up, instead of in the pigtails I’d planned, I carried the twenty pound, chunky baby with me to the car and set him in the carseat that Jamie fastened around him. His parents were already on their way to the church.

“I’m so proud of you,” Mom said, hugging me again, “and so happy.”

Mom had tears in her eyes already, and I patted her back. “Don’t cry, Mom. You’ll be blotchy before we even get started,” I teased.

“Right. You’re right.”

At the back of the church, I heard the similar words from Dad. “We love you, Elizabeth,” he said, using my full name. He never did that. “Be happy, and keep making us proud.”

Jamie, who was my maid of honor, moved to the aisle ahead of Mary, holding Jesse. “Okay, run to Mommy,” she said, giving him a nudge and pointing him to Jennifer in the front pew. Soon after he started, Mary followed sedately, ready to pick up the boy if he fell. He didn’t, and Jamie was moving behind Mary.

I stood next to Dad, shaking a little in my lacy shoes. I tried not to look at the front of the church.

“Time to give away my baby,” Dad said, sadly.

I kissed his cheek, chuckling at him and his silliness. “I’m not going anywhere, Daddy. I’ll always be your girl.”

He squeezed my shoulder and hooked my arm. Squaring my shoulders, I looked down the aisle, a little terrified. What I saw calmed me instantly. There, at the altar with Gary at his side, stood Peter, my life, my love, my husband-to-be. Michael, a cousin, beside Gary, but I barely saw either of them. For me, there was only Peter, and it took all my determination not to run down the aisle and trample Jamie on the way. This was my day. This was my place. I wouldn’t wait any longer.