Teaser 290: Friday as a Bad Omen Is Superstitious
Friday was the crazy day. A lot of people don't like to be married on a Friday. They consider it a bad omen. That's superstitious. Naturally, I never told Serena or anyone else I married my first wife, the ex now, on a Friday. It didn't go so well, but Serena liked Friday. We'd have two days to ourselves in the bridal suite of the swanky Beverly Hills hotel with a spa and constant room service. I even had the spa the first time, too, and I never told Serena either. I'm not superstitious. I figured if it was a bad omen I would survive the divorce. I survived the first one. If it turned out worse, it would be the will of the One, and you cannot fight that.
It did start badly when Serena called me in the panic of her life demanding to know where is her ring? What did you do with the ring? I didn't have it. Why would I have it? I only saw either ring one time, at the jewelers, when we bought them together, her rock and my modest gold band. “They're both still at your house, Serena. Get a grip and think where you saw them last.” After about two hours searching everywhere, one of Paolo's brood opened the top drawer of the night table on the left side of Serena's bed and found both boxes sitting right where Serena had left them late one night while she was admiring, and dreaming, about the wedding. The two hours of frantic searching set her back some and I got another call later, this time accompanied by some crying and apology. She's going to be late. “Don't be too late, my beloved. I have a firm engagement with some dear friends in Beverly Hills and I'm not missing it. By the way, you're invited, in case you've forgotten.”
Serena laughed. “Aren't you nervous? Aren't you mad at me?”
“You bumbled and stumbled and mumbled through your Oscar speech, Serena. You don't handle big, emotional days well and I love you all the more for it. Relax and concentrate on what you're doing and everything will take care of itself. There is nothing you can do to piss me off today.”
Lena and Esperanza were shocked I wasn't nervous. They both asked if I was nervous on their respective wedding days. “Are you kidding? Knowing in a few hours you would be inextricably bound to me, essentially belonging to me forever? Why would I be nervous about that? Unless, you two have been planning something all along? And what would that be?” I laughed loud.
Esperanza replied, “We've only been waiting for Serena to join us, my beloved.”
“Oh, that will tip the balance, I'm sure,” I mocked her. “You are talking to the husband who has successfully wriggled out of every embarrassing or damaging incident he's faced with every one of you, you should recall, and why not? I have sixty some years of experience, experience you can only dream of.” I smiled widely, victoriously. “Not to mention your husband loves each of you and places each one of you high above all others, blamelessly, faultlessly, reverently, but I won't mention it.”
Serena had planned to be at the cathedral an hour before the service started. Forty-five minutes after our arrival at that time, of the two main actors in this real life drama, I was still the only one in attendance. Waiting in a back room many would wander there and ask how I was holding up. “A wedding is not like a baseball game. Everyone understands, right? You don't forfeit the wedding because one of the two doesn't show. Who else can I marry who's here today, because I've got a big reception planned and I've reserved the bridal suite at the hotel. I'm not wasting that!”
John proclaimed, “Al-Barrak, the man with no nerves at all, who will say anything.”
“What's Pamela got planned this weekend, John? Has she ever considered two husbands?” Since I said it with a completely serious demeanor, the other boys laughed outrageously. John merely turned and walked out the door. “You're not leaving early, are you, John? I haven't gotten started yet.”
With ten minutes to spare Serena burst through the back entrance of the cathedral, in tears as you might imagine, in the company of her family members, all of whom I was certain had performed admirably in helping her get it all together on her big day. I don't mean it facetiously. You know I won't write it that way. Esperanza flew into my little room of sanctuary to inform me the bride to be had arrived, though in somewhat less of an emotional state one would normally expect to witness from a bride to be, “since she's crying buckets of tears, Al.”
“Well, at least she's not drugged up.” It hit me after a second. “She's not drugged up, is she? She's not drunk, is she?”
Esperanza looked at me severely. “No, she's not either of those, but she needs to calm down. What's wrong with you?”
“I could marry one of the younger actresses out in the crowd, the ones who always say, 'No.' When I simply explain it's only for the weekend and you can wake up Monday morning and scream at me, 'I divorce you,' four times, boom! We're done. Then I don't waste a reception and a bridal suite...We don't even have to consummate the marriage. It's only a temporary assignment.” Esperanza shook her head violently, wearing her superb gown, and stomped back to the other small room where the bride to be was gathered, her contingent trying to help her get her act together.
“You could marry me,” Rebekka softly offered.
“Ha! A professor of drama! That should go over well since the drama would never end with you, Rebekka, and why would it? It's your profession.”
Okay, I admit. Some of what I was saying was not delivered in a true state of humor and meant to be funny and it probably wasn't even sarcastic. I think I had passed sarcasm hours before.
“Al-Barrak,” Monsieur Farabé addressed me, “you have a solemn duty to perform soon, but your spirit is drifting which is unlike you. Let us return to an appropriate spirit, please.”
“I'm sorry, Rebekka,” I stated sincerely, somewhat embarrassed. “I apologize. It was rude of me.” Rebekka nodded and smiled warmly. I considered it would still be minutes before Serena was composed enough to get on with it, so I stepped out into the cathedral to find John and apologized to him. Lena came out to look for me, advising Serena was as ready as she was ever going to be.
Nothing would be started until the opening music started so I told the musicians—yes, we had an entire ensemble—to start in five minutes. The bride and groom were ready. Lena went back to Serena's side to tell all of them and I went back into my room with John, again serving as best man, and the boys and I all got ready. No more snide remarks. I hugged them all, saving Monsieur Farabé for last. “Do you have your presiding speech?” Monsieur Farabé nodded. “Do you have your copy of mine, John?” John nodded. “Okay, when the music starts we all step out. I follow all the boys and you come out last, Monsieur Farabé, and we'll get this show on the road.”
Once the music started the groomsmen and the presider all stepped out one by one to take their places near the lectern at the top of the stairs. I waited at the bottom of the stairs to receive the bride to be. A few minutes later, Serena appeared at the entrance to the aisle, her arm entangled in her father's arm walking next to her, and the bridesmaids followed, Esperanza in the lead. The entire ceremony was...pompous. I described it all day and night with that word and no one disagreed. It was Serena's intent to have a ceremony as pompous as possible. To lighten it up, though, there were many times when all of us forgot our lines, though we had some in the audience prompt us, since we printed all of it for everyone attending. The only one who performed flawlessly was Sofia as the ring bearer with both rings. When Monsieur Farabé signaled her, she stepped right up from her standing position at the end of the bridesmaids with no hesitation. She was the most solemn of all of us, because even Monsieur Farabé forgot his lines and had to consult his paper, after apologizing and lifting his eyebrows so the audience could chuckle. The audience chuckled quite a bit through all the pomp. Most of them were performers and entertainers themselves. They all appreciated the performance, especially the parts which broke down consistently. I chalked it up to Friday, not that I'm superstitious.
We made it through and everyone had their shot throwing rice. I noted Tom, standing next to his actress wife, wound up to throw a fastball at me, but the entire handful of rice sailed three feet over our heads. I shook my head. “Should have had your stunt man here, Tom. You still have no control.”
There was the book for all the guests to sign, the line of congratulations took forever, we finally made it to the ballroom at the hotel and the reception commenced. Ry Cooder, who declined my invitation to the wedding, told me, “I hate those things, especially the Catholic ones because they go on and on, you have to arrive at the church and sit through all of it for its interminable length and the music is usually awful, but,” he paused on the phone, “who's going to entertain at the reception?”
“I have no idea. It's still Serena's domain.”
“Tell her I'd love to play for her reception. I'll gather some guys and we'll play some tunes which are respectful, generally, mostly, probably. We'll even do it for scale and all you can eat and drink. You'll have to throw that in, too.”
“You're not saving us anything, Ry. We'll have to order another dozen cases of champagne!”
- Just Desserts, Segment Thirty-Six “Unquenchable Desire” by Gregory R. Schussele, © 2021
contact me, as always: firstname.lastname@example.org