And so it came to pass…

The wedding was attended. A couple of weekends back. Yes, that wedding, and no, nothing dramatic happened. I went, I saw, I clapped and took pictures, I danced and I drank, and then the following day I went to watch rugby. The end. Only, that isn’t all there was to it, is it? Of course not, when have you ever known me to be that simple?

I saw my love
Walking down the aisle
And as he passed me by
He turned to me and
Gave me a smile…

When I first talked about this wedding last year, the reactions I got were quite strong. Seems in talking about the end of my relationship with Mr ‘the feelings are gone’, and the pathetic mess I was, and the pathetic mess I believed I was no longer, and my surprising joy at his impending nuptials, seems in all that I touched a nerve. Or a live wire. I was informed immediately thereafter, in rather unequivocal terms, to give up on my foolish idea that the man and I would be friends and that I was a fool to think that it would work. Being that I am quite stubborn, I penned a most belligerent, nay, feisty response, telling my well meaning counsellor to go jump. Life is too short, I said, to get stuck on an old hurt. And then I sat back and let the idea he planted in my head take root and germinate, patiently growing ever so slowly in the back of my mind. By the time the wedding plans were finally under way, three or so months later, I was convinced that the best thing I could do was to stay well out them. Save for the odd bi-monthly update on the phone or in the bar, I had absolutely nothing to do with the wedding. He didn’t call me to ask me to show up for the ruracio, I didn’t call him to ask him about the stag night.

Detour. Of course I called to ask about the stag night. Come now, do you not know me at all? This was my one chance at being invited to one, I wasn’t going to pass it up because of some dodgy ideas about keeping a respectful distance. Fuck propriety, I was going to the whore house. Or not. As it turned out, the plan was to have a stag weekend in Mombasa. Now while I am very foolish, evidently, even I know there is no way I can get away with an overnight trip to a whore house, just me and the fellas. Can you imagine having that convo with the missus(es)? Yes, the convo would be had, because those men cannot keep a secret, and their women (from what little I’ve seen) are quite forward, which is to say they scare me a little, they look at me like they can see their men’s sins in my eyes. So I killed that tagging along for the stag plan, although in truth the plan had already been killed for me. The fellas were none too amused with the idea of me joining them…hang on, do you think that’s why they took it out of town, or claimed to? Woi, those bastards probably went up the road to No.28 and didn’t tell me. You should see the sadness on my face right now. Detour over.

I didn’t get involved in the wedding, which felt odd because my ex and I used to be quite close, but I was suitably convinced that being involved would be even odder for all parties involved. You buggers convinced me, see? If I was planning my wedding and my future hubby’s ex was hovering around being all helpful, I would probably get it into my mind to slap her. It’s not that I’m violent or such like (I am), I just think brides are quite evil, and vicious, and I can only assume that’s what will happen to me if I ever go down that path. Stop scoffing, stranger shit has happened, no? No. Ah well… Problem is, by choosing to step back, I created a distance that made a not too awkward situation very awkward. Can you believe I forgot what the would be missus looked like? I went for one of those goat-eating thingis a month before the wedding, and his cousin introduced me to her like we had never met, because my idiot ass had no recollection. She remembered me, of course. You know that moment when you wish the ground would open up and swallow you, and then time would rewind itself to 15 minutes before you arrived, such that it never happened? Wait, if time is rewound then there’s no need for ground swallowing, is there? Stop splitting hairs, you finicky bastards. I was mortified and, worse still, I think my shame was very evident on my face. Damn my goldfish memory! Why couldn’t it remember the one person I needed to remember at that table? Why, dammit, why? I recovered well enough to not be dis-invited to the wedding. Here’s a handy tip, when caught with foot firmly lodged in mouth, complement a woman’s luscious locks, or her shoes, and then make a self deprecating joke about the deteriorating state of your memory (slap forehead for emphasis) and/or the deteriorating state of your ass (a gracious woman will always sympathise when you confess to struggling with weight issues). When all else fails, buy a round of drinks, the more expensive the better. Laugh now, but the day you find yourself in a hole of your own digging, you shall remember my words.

Then the preacher
Then the preacher
The preacher joined their hands
And all the people
The people began to stand
When I shouted

It should have been me…

I sat in church a couple of weekends back, staring at a man I once thought I would marry, watching him marry another woman and I couldn’t help think, was that supposed to be me? It was surreal. Part of me was doing that thing women do at weddings, dissecting everything from the flowers to the choice of music, because we know we could have done it better (don’t even try to pretend you don’t do it). Part of me was thinking about my feet, uncharacteristically shod in rather sexy pumps that were trying to squeeze the life out of my pinkie toes, and succeeding. Part of me was thinking that I will probably never end up at any altar, if only because I am not a believer and therefore will not be caught dead in a church getting married. I’ll probably be caught dead in a church at my funeral, but I won’t really be there so that’s fine. And part of me knew that I was never going to end up at the altar with that man, but I was still sitting there thinking, what if I had? In the 10 or so minutes it took them to say their vows, I went over the highlights reel of my relationship with him, beginning to end, and all I kept thinking was, this was never, ever gonna happen. The man standing on that podium was not the man I dated, the man I dated was an idiot in an Arsenal shirt (that shirt is what made him an idiot, in case you were wondering, and yes, I went there) with a Malt in hand at every possible opportunity. This chap in front of me in a sharpish suit, blushing bride by his side, was a peculiar future version of the idiot. A version I never envisioned, to be completely honest. Just goes to show how prophetic I am, no?

See? Self deprecating humour works a charm.

Then the preacher, whoa, yeah
The preacher asked that
There be silence please
If any objections to this wedding
Speak now or forever
Forever hold your peace…

The song is Yvonne Fair’s version of ‘It Should Have Been Me’, the anthem to all women who have ever dreamt of stopping a wedding in a most dramatic fashion. I first stumbled across this song about 5 years ago, hidden near the end of CD2 of a classic soul hits set (I suspect I got it from Paco, I’m still trawling through the shitload of old music he gave me, bless his pointy toed behind). I was blown away, such as I tend to be, first by her voice, then by the lyrics which for some reason always get me laughing. There’s something about the way she says ‘po-lice’ that gets me clapping in joy. Testify woman! The reason its my soundtrack today? I once played it for this ex, threatening him that I was going to storm his wedding and sing my heart out, up and down that aisle. He laughed, but I saw real fear in his eyes. I don’t think he’s ever recovered from seeing me cry, poor thing, I may have scarred him for life. Please insert very evil laughter here. When the pastor asked the question, I started chuckling. And humming…

Oh, ho, somebody call the police
That woman down there
Is a doggone thief

It should have been me
It should have been me
Oh, oh, It should have been me…

I must pull this stunt one day, how often do you get to say doggone, and in a church no less?

I felt like a stranger at that wedding. That’s what safe/respectful/none of my business distance does. I got so caught up in all my over-thinking nonsense that I forgot, a. my friend was getting married, and b. I was of no relevance in that story. Rather than back off, I should have listened to my own advice and just gotten on with being happy and shit. Yes, I was at the wedding, smiling in the photos and dancing to the happy songs, but in some ways I wasn’t really there. It’s taken me two weeks of processing and a couple of hours writing this to get to the comfortable place where I can laugh about being foolish about nothing. Foot in mouth? Been there, done that, planning on going back soon. The wedding that never was? Well it wasn’t meant to be, was it? Respectful distance? Ptuh! Like anyone other than me gave a damn.

Which brings me to the moral of this tale. Do not listen to anything anyone has to say on this blog. Except me, I’m always right. No? Too far a leap? I had to try. The real moral to this story, sometimes it’s best to just leave things be. And sometimes your first instincts are the right instincts, no matter how wise the counsel you’re given may sound. Life really is too short to be stuck in your head over analysing everything.