The first wedding ceremony that I can remember attending was a bit awkward.
Written and illustrated by Alejo Porras de los Ríos.
It was held in a dark and gloomy venue with about five other witnesses, and the bride-to-be (who was one of the first friends I ever made) had actually proposed to me only a week before. True story.
My friendship with this girl started back in the good old days of preschool, a time of innocence, happiness, and the simple pleasure of having a dodgeball thrown directly in your face. She was a good playmate and, more importantly, a great co-conspirator. We devised strategies to attain the precious blue sleeping pads during naptime. There were only two, and we wanted them so badly that we joined forces to ensure we would get to them before anybody else. During breaks I would help her to reach the window and peek inside the room so she could see where the blue ones were located and then we would discuss the best route to get them when the break was over. Sometimes that meant having the fast kids count during hide and seek games so we could 'hide' near the door and have an advantage of proximity. When the bell rang we would dart inside the room and snatch up the blue pads every time. We were invincible.
When Kindergarten rolled around, I was gripped with despair when I realized I was going to be transferred alone to a new territory. I could have won an Oscar for my dramatic performance the first day of school, screaming and crying my lungs out while holding my mom's hand in a death grip as we walked through the halls. Right as we passed through the door of the classroom a high pitched voice called my name. I rubbed the tears from my eyes and, to my surprise, there stood my favorite friend and accomplice. She was beaming with joy as she came over, grabbed my arm and drew me towards the table with other kids. I released my mom’s hand and didn’t even look back to say good bye.
When my friend finally proposed to me, the days of preschool and Kindergarten seemed long ago. We didn’t fit in those pale blue uniforms anymore, we could take a bus alone, and I could even dress myself for school (including tying my own shoes). Seven years old is practically adulthood, right? For my friend, at least, marriage was clearly the next step.
I was confused by her proposal. She didn’t get down on one knee or bring any token as a sign of her interest, and the way she said it was almost casual. It was also odd to me because, in the movies, it was always guys proposing to girls, not the other way around. Plus she hadn’t shown any signs of that kind of interest before. So after a few seconds of consideration I had to decline her offer, pointing out that marriage was a big deal and I didn’t feel ready.
“I mean, I'm not tall enough to reach the top of the kitchen counters, and I don’t even know how to cook," I explained. "I don’t think we would survive!”
She couldn't argue against such sound logic. (Food is a big deal. Ask any married couple.) Everything went back to normal for a few days, until she decided to propose to another guy: a friend I played soccer with during recess. She was a persistent creature, and he gave in to her tenacity. It didn’t bother me that she had moved on so fast; what annoyed me was that she would interrupt our soccer games, taking him away to discuss wedding plans (or kitchen counters?) and not letting him be with us. We could see that he regretted this decision.
But finally, the day of the wedding arrived and a small group of invitees gathered during recess to witness the union. Of course, it had to be at school, and the only unlocked room to be found was a damp storage closet. We crowded inside for the strange ceremony officiated by the bride herself. After saying “I do” on behalf of both, she happily announced, “You may kiss the bride!"
There was an awkward pause as everyone (including the bride) realized what came next.
"Oh, umm.. Could everyone like… turn around and cover your eyes, please?” she asked sheepishly.
No one knew if they actually kissed, but we also didn't care. We just wanted to get back to our soccer game. Fortunately a wedding reception was not part of the plan.
Apparently satisfied with that rite of passage, kiss or no kiss, my friend moved on to more important things (like trying to complete her Sailor Moon sticker collection) and immediately forgot her husband, to everyone's relief.
As soon as I was tall enough to reach the top of the kitchen counter, I started searching for my own wife. I knew I was looking for a co-conspirator, one who would let me play with my friends but also not forget about me in favor of other cool things (like stickers). Fortunately I found her, and (bonus!) she even kissed me in front of the whole congregation. True story.