I have been to a few wedding receptions over the last few years, so have decided to write a short story about one which is fictitious.
In six months time, I’m due to go to a wedding reception of a friend who I have known since school. Since moving to another city, we have not met face to face nor spoken on the phone, though we did maintain sporadic contact via Facebook til I shortly after I moved.
Truth be told I was surprised she was getting married, let alone invite me to the reception. The invitation via an event page on Facebook was the first contact of any kind I had with her for about two years.
She was not in a good way last time we spoke. Personal problems with her family (she is an only child) and drug addiction had taken over her life. When she ceased contact between us, I just assumed that all of her problems had reach their tipping point and the though of having to deal with them almost simultaneously had become overwhelming. I did not know of any other friends she had (besides the falseness of her Facebook friends list), so did wonder who she would call if she was in trouble. But the invitation seemed to demonstrate that she had managed to somehow move her life forward.
The reception was scheduled to take place in a function room in a community centre, as it was all her and her future husband were able to afford. I replied to the invitation via Facebook and counted down the days, more out of curiosity to how she was than any impatience on my part, to the date of the reception.
In the interim I booked a hotel and was due to buy a suit, then realised I did not have the money to do so. Thankfully I’d a suit that I had last worn seven years ago to another wedding. Unfortunately I had put on about ten pounds in weight since then. But a combination of jogging most mornings, walking more instead of using the car and reducing my fat intake paid dividends and I was able to fit into my suit with relative ease. It might have been easier to take out a gym membership and lose the weight that way. Besides not having the money for a membership, I have found gyms to be narcissistic and at time vindictive places to be in. Added to that is the dampness of other people’s sweat creating an atmosphere of stale air and they are not nice places to breathe in at all.
The night of the reception, I arrived at 7pm, half an hour earlier than I should have. I have a tendency to arrive at places I have never been to before very early, out of worrying that I will do the opposite and turn up far too late. But my friend and now husband are in the function room, so I was able to talk to them at length, Well at least I tried to, as throughout most of the conversation they speak in gushing terms about each other. I was just about to ask them how they met, when more guests arrive and they excuse themselves to greet them.
For the first hour, the reception was as typical a family gathering as most occasions are in this environment. Relatives of the newlyweds dance to the style of music you would hear on a CD complication titled ‘The Best Party Anthems in the World…..Ever!’ , children unable to play outside their houses due to parents not allowing them to, use up their energy bye running all round the hall and most other people are piling up their paper plates with as much finger food from the buffet as they can.
This is the pattern for the majority of the night. I decided to go to the bar to have a pint, as that is the only thing of interest to do at this time, when I realised that it is not open. I asked my friend why the bar is close. It was then that she tells me how she met her husband. She went to an addiction focus group as part of her rehabilitation, which he also attended. They started dating, the relationship blossomed and led them to this point. At the start of the relationship, they helped each other fight each other’s addictions. Though he was doing well in his recovery process he still had the odd urge for a drink, so therefore asked if the bar was not open for the night. I am annoyed that I wasn’t told about this beforehand, but don’t show my frustration towards my friend and just walk off and sit down at an empty table. Others in attendance don’t display the same deference and choose to leave, annoyed at the monotonous nature of the night. By half nine, about two-thirds of the people have already left.
Most that remain are dancing to ‘Oops upside you head’ by sitting down on the dance flloor and swaying first left and then right, while at the same time slapping the accompanying hand on the floor. I chose ths moment to step outside and call the taxi comapny, as so to rearrange the time of the taxi I ask to pick me up. I arranged for it to pick me up in twenty minutes. It’s only just after 10pm, but the formality of it all I’m finding restrictive and as a consequence, I am tired and bored.
Five minutes before my taxi is due to arrive, I say goodbye to my friend and her husband and surprise myself by hugging my friend as well. I say surprise as I have never been one for hugging anyone, even if I have known them for a long time. That includes both family and friends.
The taxi drops me off at my hotel and as so as I enter my room Itry to sleep. But the combination of an nap earlier that day and the heat from outside mean that I’m unable to fall asleep. The window in my hotel room is stuck, so I’m unable to create soem ventilation for the room. I switch the television on, but nothing of note is worth watching so I switch it off. Then I remembered that I brought I book by Philip K Dick with me. In reading it, I live in hope that the plotline of the book will trigger weird dreams when I finally sleep, as then I’ll have something memorable to remember this day by