So. I’m no longer living in sin. I’ve been legalized. Gone is my hippie rebellion against the norms of tradition. My naked, mutinous ring finger is naked no longer.
Almost three weeks ago at 11:00 in the morning I rejoined the Wife-Force. I was a little belligerent about the whole thing if I’m honest. I’m not going to obey The Viking! I’m not going to let him boss me around! He’s not the head of the household! And I’ll decide when and how much I’ll honor him depending on his behavior at any given moment and not because some official tells me I have too! Because I was happy as a sinner!
And because I was busy ranting against Wife-dom in my head, I forgot my bouquet at home. We were half way to the ceremony when I said “Ahhhh fuck!! I forgot my bouquet!” And now I’m going to be late for my own wedding. I muttered all the way back home about the stupid trappings of an obsolete institution that has kept women in subjugation for centuries.
When we finally arrived at the park, an itty, bitty, teeny, tiny woman marched to the car like a miniature Stalin. I hadn’t met our Commissioner of Wedded Bliss before this moment and, quite frankly, I didn’t know they made them so small. The top of her head barely reached my chin!
She took one look at me and started chanting soothing words and platitudes. “You made it. That’s great. Take a deep breath. Let it out. Take another breath. Let it out. This is your special day so enjoy it. Concentrate on your love. Your soon-to-be husband is a wonderful man and he’s waiting for you.”
I thought, “Don’t tell me how wonderful his is! I’ll do the deciding around here!”
But he was waiting for me and he is wonderful. He was smiling and his face said “Take it easy. It’s going to be fine.”
My face said “I’m not going to be a great wife, you know.”
His face said “I already know that.”
My face said “Thank Gawd!” and “Can I have a Lemon Gin and Tonic now?”
His face said “Soon, but not right now because it would break a couple of laws and might anger our miniscule Commissioner of Wedded Bliss.”
We held the ceremony under the trees beside the Bow River in Bowness Park. It was a pretty place and convenient and we didn’t need to make reservations or pay an exorbitant fee.
We had only just begun the ceremony though when a helicopter came buzzing in low from the east. Someone said “It’s the Paparazzi!!” Our Commissioner of Wedded Bliss looked annoyed because this was a solemn occasion and no place for jokes!
I further annoyed her because I couldn’t figure out where she wanted us to stand. In my defence, she kept moving. She would stop and stand still so The Viking and I positioned ourselves in front of her, facing each other, and then she would move somewhere else. Every time she scurried I would lose her behind the drape of my jacket. It was like a Marital Musical Chairs game except there weren’t any chairs and there wasn’t any music. This wasn’t supposed to be so difficult. Stand still for fucksakes!
And then two young ladies floated by on the river in a raft and Brad pointed at Junior and yelled “Single man here!!” Then one of the ladies in the raft shouted back “Single girl here!” The Commissioner sighed heavily and gave Brad the Stink Eye.
When it was time to make our vows to each other……. “OH MY GAWD I’VE LOST MY VOWS!!!” I started patting myself up and down and turning in tight circles, there was a pressure in my head and my vision started to blur. The Viking was standing there, his vows in hand, more than a little alarmed. Just before I passed out, someone calmly touched my arm and handed me my vows. The Commissioner of Wedded Bliss was chanting “Take a deep breath. Take your time. Take a deep breath. Take your time.”
We finally made it through the vows. I lost my shit twice but everyone just stood there and waited for me. That’s the thing about having only my closest loved ones at my wedding – they already know me and expect their patience to be tried.
There were other comments and more laughter and the Commissioner’s make-up began to settle in scowl lines around her eyes. She had a few more things to say about marriage but, to be honest, I wasn’t really listening because I was married. Again. Holy. Fuck.
And everyone breathed a sigh of relief. Mission accomplished and no one had to go to the hospital.
Once she had completed her duty, The Commissioner of Wedded Bliss sprinted to her car, shouting over her shoulder that she would file the paperwork. This was, in all probability, the least solemn and dignified ceremony she had ever attended.
And then it was time for pictures. Ugh!! A gaggle of young women in spandex and baseball caps came through like Olympic Speed Walkers and Brad wanted to get them in the pictures. More rafters floated by, unintentionally photobombing us. The Paparazzi made several passes overhead, forcing the photographer to shout her instructions.
We climbed among the rocks, sat on a bench, hugged, kissed, smiled and smiled some more. All the while I couldn’t help thinking “Where in the hell is my Lemon Gin and Tonic?!”
The Viking kept saying “Be careful, Babe! You’re going to fall!” every time I had to move to a different rock. Junior and Erik had their hands out, ready to catch me at the slightest wobble. All I could think about at that point was the Sponge Paper Towel commercial with the Sponge Guys surrounding the kid with a huge jug of orange juice. And that made me laugh (maybe a bit hysterically) which made me wobble even more.
However, I didn’t fall, didn’t break a leg/arm/finger nail and we all made it back to the house for a big Danish Feast. My part in this thing was finished, but it didn’t stop me from trying to interfere. The Viking kept sighing deeply and shoving me out the door to sip my drink in the shade.
Erik & The Viking served up the most delicious Danish Feast ever and Annette created a beautiful table to serve it on. We were surrounded by people we love and were feeling like the most blessed couple on the planet. And then the Completely Viking Wedding came to a crashing, shouting, screaming halt.
Because Brad turned our Wedding into Fight Club. It took us days to come to grips with all the carnage. We had been under the strictest orders from Mim to be especially kind to Brad because they had had a fairly severe fight the week before. So we did our best to ignore his bullishness throughout the day. It was all for naught though, because he couldn’t have killed the Wedding faster if he’d brought a machine gun.
I’m in knots about it. I’m ashamed that my new sister, Annette, was treated so disrespectfully. I’m embarrassed that Junior’s friend was witness to the whole debacle and even our neighbors heard the shouting and screaming. I’m furious that our Wedding was ruined. And I hate the taint on what should have been the happiest day of our lives. I’m particularly enraged at the position Brad put Mim in. She was as embarrassed and ashamed as the rest of us but he weaselled his way out of any accountability; trading on her love for him in order to forgive what he did to us.
We’ll be asked to get over it, to refrain from bringing it up so he doesn’t feel like it’s hanging over his head for the rest of his life. The memories we have will be less important than his feelings no doubt, and we’ll try to do it because we love Mim. Maybe had he come with a sincere apology it would have been easier but that’s not what we received. We received a belligerent, narcissistic declaration that negated any responsibility on his part. He breezed into our home, said “That conversation shouldn’t have happened last night!” and then breezed out again.
Out of the ashes though were a few salvageable memories. The love and laughter we shared with everyone else was lovely and we’ll cherish the fact that they were here with us on our Wedding Day. Junior’s friend turned out to be a great girl and we consider ourselves lucky to have met her. I hope she’ll come back sometime so we can show her what we’re really like.
So, there were some redeeming moments that we will try to focus on instead of the shitty way the day ended.