Last year, while attending my first wedding, I realized that I wanted nothing to do with marriage for the next few years. I think only a month ago the intimidation started to wear off and I figured myself ready for, well, love. Those intentions were dashed when I went to my second wedding just recently. I don't know if it was when Deborah and Jesse, my two friends who were wedded, exchanged vows or if it was when the honored guests started making speeches, but somehow, one way or another, I again started edging myself away from the idea of ever getting married. But that's beside the point because I went to celebrate someone else's marriage and not poke fun at myself. I arrived at the venue a few hours in advance, hoping to help set-up. White chairs were aligned on the lawn with a white backdrop being held up by bamboo sticks. I felt a little overdressed at the time; the people decorating the place were all in street clothes. I headed towards the chair to help wipe them down, only to be greeted by an army of gnats and bees. An hour later, my friend pointed out that I forgot to wear a belt. My excuse was that I rushed out of my house but it's probably more because I'm getting old. Embarrassingly, I quickly drove to the nearest place I could find a belt for cheap; even in desperate occasions, I was looking out for my budget and refused to spend more than $25.
An hour later, I came back, suddenly surrounded by dozens of people arriving for the wedding. To them, I looked like one of those good-for-nothing late comers. I started talking to a few people, only to be asked a few minutes later to grab lighter fluid and a bag of charcoal from the nearest supermarket. Apparently, the cooks didn't have enough.
I rushed to Waldbaums and came back in thirty minutes. I had to park my car outside the gates because the ceremony was just about to start and they were waiting for me to return. By now, I definitely seemed like the wedding crasher. I wanted to explain myself, that I just saved dinner by going to Waldbaums, but all I could do was stare back at everyone else.
The wedding ceremony began right as I took my seat. I looked around me and realized I barely knew anyone. Suddenly, I was glad I decided to get a haircut the day before. With the vows exchanged and the ceremony over, I got off my seat and started towards familiar faces. A part of me wished that we were forced to talk to people we didn't know but, again, I thought myself "too old" to bother myself with cumbersome small talk, until someone pointed that I haven't even turned 21 yet.
Before the wedding, I had never worked food service before. I ended up helping serve plates of pulled pork to all the guests. Every time someone would go down the line and reach me, I would smile and say "pulled pork?" The first person person to reject me ended up taking a small portion after I told her that she was the first person to say no to my pulled pork. I didn't bother telling anyone else after that. Surprisingly, a lot of the Chinese guests knew what pulled pork was, though I wish I knew how to say it in Chinese.
I sat down at my table a little later and started at my plate of food. People started making speeches and I listened eagerly. In a way, I wanted to be up there, with a special anecdote to tell or an embarrassing encounter to share. Through it all, I couldn't help but wonder when I'd ever be a groomsman. I zoned out a little, making brief speeches in my mind, only to be pulled back to reality by the raising of glasses.
I guess I'm not really old since I didn't leave the venue until most of the guest left already and we all know the truly old people leave first. Nevertheless, I was fatigued for having attended a wedding where I felt an eerie combination of joy, melancholy, and relief. I felt happy for Deborah and Jesse but a little sad for myself. Yet, I felt relieved at my sadness because it meant I still have much to live for, or at least I hope I do.
My next wedding might come at any time but I'm hoping it won't be as intimidating as my first two. It's easy to start feeling envious because everyone around seem to be getting married but it's also easy to put off marriage as an unwanted burden. Regardless, even for the briefest of moments, I think it's impossible to not feel an insurmountable amount of joy for the married couple when it's all said and done. For me, that's what I try to focus on.
One day, God willing, it'll be my turn. But, as I drove off on a cool breezy summer night, I decided to enjoy having a friend sitting next to me instead of my wife.