Thursday, May 27, 2010

Going to visit Mum is not always a bad thing

Going to visit Mum is not always a bad thing.

It was time for blood tests and Dr visits.  (Who knew being anaemic could be so tiring.)  Blah, blah, routine, blah.
Pardon me for not getting into the specifics of my medical history on the interwebz, but it just was not all that interesting to me.

But, so, my mum.

Not always the best communicator in the world.  She has sprung some surprises on me that I doubt she will ever surpass, but you would think she would warn me about taking me to a wedding.

She said it was "last minute" - but I know she just loves that last-minute shopping emergency.  (Well, you need a new dress, and new shoes, and a hat, and a purse.)  I asked who's wedding it was because depending, I would be better suited in a black leather mini and six inch stilettos.
    "Don't be silly.  Even with six inch heals, you'd still be the shortest person in the room, so what's the point?"
After I picked my jaw back up off the floor, she reminded me that I only got half my sense of humour from my dad.

So, what was the style? Socialite? No.  Fashionista? No.
    Norman Rockwell.

Gee, Mother Dearest, I did not think you knew any "normal" people.

Moving on, Mum totes me along, all dolled up,  to the wedding of a friend of a friend of hers.  Like, a real, church wedding.  With a real reception and everything.
    Yeah, so, normally I feel like this fear of bursting into flames when I visit a church, or that by walking into one, I make it dirty in some way.  This time, I did not feel that way.  This place did not seem like a church.  It did not _feel_ like one.  Granted, I did _not_ go do the communion thing.  I just stayed put.  I am a champ at that.

Well, sometimes I think I am just being a little paranoid, but I think I really have a grip on when I am being looked at - not just because I do not like to be, but because I (think I am) an observant person.  Maybe because I was dressed like someone from another century.  Maybe because I was there with Mum.  I don't know, but it was not like people were looking at me like I had a third head or anything - or that they could hear my internal monologue.  (Notice I did not say "hear the voices in my head."  That would be crazy.)

The bride's dress was amazing.  Really pretty.  I feel kinda sorry for the bridesmaids... their dresses were really nice too, but kinda purpose-built.  They will never really be able to wear them again.  Oh well.  Not my problem.

Moving on to the reception...

There was an open bar and (I cannot get horderves close enough for spell check to figure out what I am trying to spell) while the wedding party went through all that photo stuff.  I am most thankful it was not me.
Then the the happy (or doomed) couple comes around.  I see this old man over in the corner.  I was sure I would have noticed him before because of his uniform: WWII, I came to find out, but that is not important.  It was a really old man... alone... drinking.
I do not normally cling to the parental unit when at parties, but I was not sure who she told them I was, or who she was to anyone yet.  I mean, we sat on the bride's side, but neither of us had spoken to anyone.  I would have been very lonely if not for my constant cerebral passengers - but nevermind that.

(Oh, mercy - my backup drive just made a rather sick little sound when I just started backing up after my trip.)

Anywho, where was I.  Oh, yeah.  I did not want to say the wrong thing or whatever since I didn't know who we were supposed to be.  (Mercy. That sounds... weird.  Oh well, it made sense at the time.)
After waiting like an eternity, after much hoopla from the wedding party with introductions and toasts and whatnot, one of the bridesmaids comes over and talks to Mum.  This is our apparent connection to the event - the friend of a friend.  THEN I feel like a moron because I finally recognise one of the photographers.  But, so, anyway, Bridesmaid says to Mum, "I thought your daughter was in her teens."  I may have glared.  I am a brat that way. 
"She is," Mum says.
"Then she may want to meet some of the boys over... or is she..." Bridesmaid trailed off with a question mark.
What, 'is she...' ...only barely in her teens? ...taken? ...a mutant? ...not that way inclined?  Do I have to endure this here too?
Then Mum had one of her more glowing moments "She is not much of a mingler.  Gets that from her father but it keeps her out of trouble.  I don't have to worry about her."
Another guest commented with some kind of pride, "Mine is such a flirt.  She could not wait to check out the guys."
Mum said, "I'm sorry to hear that," but I think _someone_ had been hitting the bar too heavily to comprehend the comment for what it was through all the possible meanings.  (I found out later that Bridesmaid had complained to Mum in the past that her daughter (Chelsea, Kelsey, Marimba - I don't remember) was such a "flirt" that the authorities had to bring her home from "lookout-point."  She apparently got a kick out of the remark.)

So, I discretely work my way over to get a better view of the old soldier - via sideways glances and whatnot.  People come up to him and say how well he looks, how good it is to see him, etc. but there is no one just visiting with him.  His glass is empty and without even thinking about it, I go to get him another.
I saunter up to the bar and ask what the war vet was drinking and ask for a glass.  Bourbon. Neat. (Whatever that means.)  I have a smell, wrinkle my nose, and - with a shrug - turn to take it to the stranger.
I set it down, then back away to the next table over (where I had been before getting up to get him another drink.)  He looked at it for a while, then returned to staring out into the room at nothing in particular that I could discern.  Finally, he takes a drink, looks at the glass, nods, takes another.  He nurses that glass for a good thirty minutes before it is empty.  His head slowly starts to tilt and droop and soon he in dreaming.  I can watch him more plainly now.  He is kinda moving a little in his sleep and I get the impression that he is dancing.  This goes on for just a little while and he is still again.

There is the throwing of the bouquet, followed by the groom crawling under the bride's dress and removing her garter with his teeth.  (I was like, hello? Children present?)  After some more commotion, everyone files out to see the newly-weds off and pelt them with rice, or bird seed, or whatever the trend is now, and the old soldier wakes up.  The DJ seems to be starting to wind things down and I walk over and ask him for a waltz.  He asked me what I would like to hear and I said, "just a waltz.  It doesn't matter." 

The caterers were clearing the tables, the food, plates, glasses, linens.  There were a couple of people sitting with sleeping little ones.  And I walked over to the old man.  He looked up at me and looked puzzled.  I asked him if he would ask me if I would care to dance.  He stood up slowly, straightened himself up tall and proper, then escorted me to the dance floor where we danced the waltz through the end of the song and into the next. 

People flowed back into the banquet hall and watched us while they gathered their belongings and a few older couples joined us on the floor until we were no longer the centre of attention.

Only.... that did not really happen.  Maybe he fell asleep at some point, but I did not get him a drink.  He got his own.  And they started playing some tunes he apparently liked and he danced with an imaginary partner off to the side.  I sat and silently listened to comments about the sad, old, crazy man.  I wanted to shout at them.  I wanted to go dance with the guy.  But all I did was sit and try to keep my tears from messing up my makeup.  I am pathetic, but that is not as nice a story.

Mum asked me what was wrong and I couldn't even tell her.  Sorry, Mum.

1 comment:

  1. I hope all went well with the tests. While I'm not a fan of stilettos (Unless we're talking about the blade ;) )I'll second the vote for the black leather mini. ;)
    Bridesmaids dresses are meant to be ugly so that the bride looks more beautiful by comparison.
    You're not pathetic at all, my friend. You were at a celebration among strangers, it may have been awkward if you had acted. Your feelings show you to be a better person than you give yourself credit for here, my friend. And perhaps, in telling this story, you'll give someone else the courage to take action in the future.
    And if nothing else, you have a great talent for writing. :)