My Wedding Day
My Wedding Day
On my wedding day I woke up on top of my sheets with my clothes still on. After I took a moment to understand where I was, I imagined my situation was a celebratory welcome banner from the real world letting me know what I just got myself into. A Motel 8, I realized, especially one located behind a liquor store, is probably the most certain place to learn such lessons.
I had checked in to the motel at two o’clock the previous morning after I had tucked my fiance Beth into her own bed at the hotel she was staying at across the street. Two O'clock, even for a bachelor, was too late to impose on my friends who were either already married or living in some distant part of Los Angeles. So I wandered between the three other motels on Whittier Blvd. until I eventually stumbled onto this one.
I was surprised to find that the room had all the bare essentials that a motel usually offers, possibly more if you count the used ash tray sitting on the chair in the corner. Thankfully the imagined sound of gunshots from outside was drowned out by the heavy rain drumming at the air conditioner jammed through the window.
I turned on the television and was surprised to find that the 1987 film The Predator was still being aired on TBS. I suddenly remembered the early days before Beth and I were dating and The Predator somehow materialized on television three different nights we were hanging out.
Still slightly fearing death however, I turned it off.
The bed was a solid rectangular slab only a few notches in quality above a piece of granite and only a few notches below a pile of moldy leaves. For the most part I was okay with it, except for the fact that it lacked any kind of sheets under the blanket. I briefly cursed 60 Minutes for ever letting me know of the prominent presence of blood and semen stains left over on hotel beds, before I curled up on top of it and decided I would sleep exactly as I was.
Later that morning I opened the bathroom medicine cabinet in search of a razor and instead only found the uncensored message of “F*&% YOU,” written against the wall in red ink, followed by “No, F%$# YOU!” written underneath it in black. I decided to stay out of the argument and closed the cabinet.
I changed my clothes and walked back across the street to Beth’s hotel. I had the key to her parents room and entered to find it empty. It was strange to think that my wedding day was so completely absent of other people. Briefly I questioned whether I missed the rapture or if at some point during the night I had been killed at the scary motel and was now stuck in some sort of strange purgatory.
If any of those are the case, I thought, Beth will be so annoyed with me. Luckily, they weren't.
I used the shower in that hotel room since I was afraid the other motel would give me AIDS, and then attempted to iron my clothes without burning holes through them. Luckily I succeeded.
A knock on my door turned out to be the photographer, and she took a variety of pictures that depicted me exactly as I was, a guy who, in a haze of equal parts happiness and nervousness, tried to get ready for his own wedding but still had a collar sticking out and several pock marks still on his face.
Two doors down Beth was being prepped by her friends and family. I meanwhile used her razor in the other room to shave my face, all the while singing “I’m your Venus, I’m your fire, Your desire,” out loud.
I arrived at the church to find myself locked outside, and figuring that I might as well make some use of my time I decided to move some of the spare tables on the roof of the building to the ground floor.
After a while my friend Anthony appeared, and at a loss for something else to do before I was married, I decided we wander over to the Asian dollar store around the block.
For the past two years the dollar store had been the bachelor headquarters for Anthony and I. It served as our one source for nutrition and entertainment. As we grazed the shelves of poorly produced home oddities, there was a clear understanding between us. No bachelor party could succinctly summarize the feelings in that moment of analyzing cans of Tomato Energia, the worst drink we had both ever purchased from the 99 Cent Store, as moments like these are the unexpected ones in which we bond over. In a few short hours I wouldn’t be wandering by myself anymore, but in a few short hours I would also be wandering away from so many others.
We took photos of ourselves in a Japanese photobooth which was a complete mystery to us until it somehow spit out glittery prints of ourselves consumed by randomized Japanese characters.
Anthony put them away in his pocket until we wandered back to the church. There we met up with the rest of my family as we continued to wait for the doors to be opened.
My brother in law Chris was in the church basement beforehand mixing Sangria into buckets. “It’s actually pretty simple, and pretty cheap too.” He told me while pouring boxed wine together with a bottle of 7up. Taking a taste, we realized what kind of magic potion he had just concocted. Later he told us that “Jesus helped me make it. I'm not even joking.”
I returned upstairs to the courtyard where I was told by the photographer to wear a blindfold and wait. I stood for ten minutes outside until the gentle rain started to turn into a downpour. Just as I was beginning to wonder if this was a form of torture, I was handed an umbrella.
Ten minutes later my blindfold was pulled down and before me stood Beth in her white wedding gown. Her hair was pulled up and she had a beauty that seemed to glow from her very being. With an umbrella in her own hand she leaned towards me and kissed me, and with her kiss I felt the whole world gently wash away like gentle drips on a watercolor painting.
I smiled in awe of what I felt, and I felt a different kind of blindfold cover my eyes. It was a simple and honest joy. From then on the wedding seemed to be a dream recalled upon waking. I can only vaguely recall the experience of saying my own vows, or of the frantic reception, everything seems to skip ahead to our first dance in which I floated along with Beth with a haze of tears in my eyes. Everything is perfect, everything is right.
We kidnapped all of our friends and rushed them to the Japanese photobooth, jamming as many as we could inside until the printed pictures we received were composed of nothing but faces growing out of the same being.
My friend Jon decorated the car for us, and in his fashion made sure that it was as inconvenient to drive as possible. Using the keys to break off the strings he wrapped around the doors, we hopped inside and drove away, dragging the baskets, balloons and various food items he had tied to the back.
The next day I recall finding several lemons wedged into the rear window. Several weeks later we would still be finding string and post-it notes attached to various car parts. And even several months after that we would look at the photo we had taken in the magical Japanese photobooth and think of the parts we still had tied to our friends and family and feel the wash of joy knowing that a part of them was tied to us as well.