The Wedding

“Do you remember our wedding?”

“Do you want to dance?”

“No”

“Why not?”

“I’ve asked you a question do you remember our wedding?”

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“Do you remember our wedding?”

“Do you want to dance?”

“No.”

“Why not?”

“I’ve asked you a question do you remember our wedding?”

“Honey, of course, I remember our wedding. You wore white, I was in a rented suit and the man who married us hated me.”

“My Grandfather married us.”

“Exactly.”

“You are sure Grandpa hated you.”

“Pretty sure.”

“Nonsense!”

“No, no, it’s okay. I wouldn’t want to marry off my daughter or granddaughters.”

“But if you were marrying off our son?”

“Well… every son should marry…eventually.”

“Uh-huh.”

“Do you want to dance?”

“No, I’m pretty much danced out.”

“Don’t want to dance with an old man.”

“No, I just don’t want to dance.”

“Well, at least you will be seen with an old man.”

“I’m sitting here.”

“Ah thank you. Especially for sitting next to me for nearly 25 years.”

“You’re welcome.”

“Woman, has it been that bad?”

“Being married to you?”

“Yes, being married to me.”

“No.”

“No… and what else?”

“Did you expect more?”

“Yes.”

“Well, you don’t remember our wedding so why should I expound upon our marriage?”

“For the love of God… I remember our wedding. Your Grandfather married us and your Father gave you away. All three of your brothers were either ushers or standing next to me. And we all knew that before that night was over I’d convince you to step out of that frilly white dress you wore.”

“My dress was not frilly!”

“God help me.”

“Were you nervous? I would have thought you would have been over that. I already said yes.”

“Yes dear, you said yes. They didn’t.”

“Well for Pete’s sake, they didn’t threaten you or anything.”

“How do you know?”

“All right that’s enough.”

“Well, you won’t dance with me and you won’t tell me how you feel being married to me so what am I suppose to do?”

“Hm. You are at a disadvantage aren’t you?”

“How do you mean?”

“You must speak to me sitting here, don’t you?”

“Now what is that suppose to mean?”

“Well after 25 years you’ve become accustomed to being around me. Relaxed enough to spend hours in your books, write, putter in the garage with your wood working… it’s been some time since you’ve asked me my opinion… well on you.”

“Oh, so I’ve become a bore.”

“I don’t recall calling you a bore.”

“I sound boring.”

“You may sound boring but not to me.”

“Okay, I’m a little confused.”

“Did my Grandfather wear a rented suit or his black suit?”

“His black suit with that white color of his.”

“Did my Mother wear the lavender suit?”

“No, she wore that apricot looking thing—your Father was furious at her for buying two dresses for one wedding.”

“Do you really want to know what it’s like being married to you?”

“Yes… really I want to know.”

“I like being married to you.”

“Well, that’s a relief, why?”

“Because when I walk past you while you are reading, you’ll gently take my hand and pull me to a stop and say ‘listen to this’.”

“Any book you prefer over another?”

“No–I prefer the sound of your voice.”

“Oh.”

“And lately I’ve come to appreciate that you don’t shave on Saturdays. And you don’t seem to mind that most of your beard has turned white. I kind of like the way it feels when you kiss me.”

“Really? I can probably manage that a few more times a week…”

“No, once a week is fine but I appreciate your quick response and willingness to expand.”

“Oh, my pleasure. Anything else?”

“I appreciate you cleaning out the cat box every Saturday.”

“The cat box? You witch! You had me hook, line and sinker.”

“No, really you have me hook, line and sinker.”

“Really?

“Really.”

“And when did that happen—I mean when you decided you loved me?”

“I don’t know it just happened sometime between year one and 25.”

“Not before?”

“Possibly.”

“Hm… And no regrets about Jeff Smith?”

“What do you know about him?”

“That I had a pretty close call with you, because of him.”

“Robert, when did you decide you loved me?”

“The night you put your suitcase in Jeff Smith’s Chevy.”

“What are you talking about?”

“The night you ran away. You were sick of this town, your overprotective family and terrified you would work the soda fountain at the pharmacy for the rest of your life.”

“I told no one about that.”

“You lied to your mother, told her you were with Lydia that weekend. You’d see her at church.”

“Robert, I told no one about that!”

“I watched you leave and about cried in my hymnal Sunday morning when I saw you in your usual spot.”

“You watched me leave. Understood I was gone. You asked me to marry you not too long after that!”

“I didn’t want to watch another Exodus.”

“You fool!”

“Why?”

“Well—how did you know—well nothing happened?”

“I didn’t. And frankly, I was a little shocked on our wedding night—well when everything was intact.”

“Robert!”

“I was pleasantly shocked.”

“Robert!”

“Why did you come back?”

“I don’t know.”

“You don’t know.”

“Really. I cried like a baby 20 miles from town. I remember he tried his best to convince me I was doing the right thing… but I couldn’t stop crying.”

“It took him a full 24 hours to get you back 20 miles from town?”

“He dropped me at my Grandfather’s.”

“I thought you said you didn’t tell anyone.”

“And I didn’t. Grandfather never asked. I fell asleep, exhausted on his couch and he fixed me scrambled eggs and sausage the next morning.”

“Hm,”

“Yeah, hm.”

“Listen we are at this wedding, there is dancing. We don’t do much of that sort of thing, so would you like to dance with me?”

“No… I want to go home.”

“Why?”

“Because today is Saturday, and you had to shave.”

“So?”

“Well, I think tomorrow the world can wonder where we are for a day and you can catch up on your reading.”

“What else can we catch up on?”

“You’ll just have to wait and see.”

The Scariest Time of Day

There’s a kid I know that can’t be insulted and I envy him. No one will play with him so he played by himself until he saw me. I watch for him near the swing set when his mother drops him off in the morning. He talks and plays with me now.

The scariest time of day is just after lunch and on the playground.  It’s better if the clouds are low but when the sun is out, yes that’s the scariest time of day.

There’s a kid I know that can’t be insulted and I envy him.  No one will play with him so he played by himself until he saw me.  I watch for him near the swing set when his mother drops him off in the morning.  He talks and plays with me now.

We met just as the new school year was starting he seemed a little lost, not his jovial self.  He didn’t run about the playground trying to fit into games.  He looked around, his bright blue eyes scanning all the children, laughing, fighting, crying or hiding.  The sun was high and I was nervous for I felt exposed.

He was cautious in his approach and spoke to me.

“Hello,” he said

I said nothing.

He told me his name but I won’t tell you.  He’s my friend now, none of you wanted him.

“Why are you always at this swing set, there are lots of places to play?”

He reached out his hand and I shied away.  It was broad daylight and I needed to stay in the shadows so he sat down and played in the grass next to me.

Once a playground assistant came to him and asked what he was doing.

“Looking for a four leaf clover for the girl who won’t tell me her name.”

“What girl?”

“The girl who can’t come out into the sun because she’s afraid.”

The playground assistant peered into the shadows where I stood and narrowed her eyes as if she could just see me.

I became suddenly angry at the intrusion.  I don’t know why.  Maybe because he wasn’t doing anything but being kind to me and nobody cared before now.  The playground assistant shied away.

“You shouldn’t do that,” said my friend.  “People don’t understand.”

“What does that mean, ‘people don’t understand,’?” I asked.

My friend shrugged. “I don’t know, it’s what my mother says when I’m sad that nobody likes me.”

“I never told my mother nobody liked me,” I said

“Where is your mother now?” he asked.

“Long dead,” I said.

I liked my little friend all the more because he didn’t try to sympathize.  He simply gave a little shudder, looked about the loud, clamorous playground with one worried playground assistant always glancing our way.

“Would you like to come home with me?  You can stay in my room, out of the sun and play with the toys I have in the closet,” he said.

“Who would take care of you on the playground if I’m in your room?” I asked.

“I’m sorry your dead,” he said suddenly.  I felt he meant it.

“I’m sorry too and more so that you find me less frightening than the living around you,” I said.

 

Pigs, Acorns and Blue Neckties

“We are the mighty pig herd held captive by inert acorns,”

“We are the mighty pig herd held captive by inert acorns,”

“I hate when you take on the epic like voice.  You sound like a 1940s-silver screen flop.”

“We grunt and we rumble but we are hindered by our own…our own…what?”

“Could you be serious, we have about three minutes before all the guys in silk, blue, ties are in here.”

“We grunt and we rumble and we are hindered by our own want to snuffle.  How’s that?”

“Sickening.”

“We’re going to get fired you know that.”

“Well yes, if you decide to tell them that we are pigs held hostage…”

“Captive, get it straight, I said captive.”

“Okay, captive.  If you tell them we are pigs held captive by acorns that’s pretty much a shoe in for a firing.”

“How in debt are you?”

“Well, there are still the student loans.”

“You’ve been out for six years.”

“College is like a mortgage.”

“College is an acorn.”

“Well, I just broke my ankle on it.”

“Listen, this is not our fault.”

“No, it is my fault.  I should have stayed in Indiana, bought those 15 acres down the road from my Mom and Dad, married and made something of that coffee shop down on the main street.”

“You can still do that.”

“I told everyone I’d be a VP in human resources in this mega corporation.”

“But it’s a classic, a classic 1940s silver screen flop.  You go off a cocky, arrogant know-it-all and come back a humble but more likable gentleman farmer and weirdo bohemian coffee coinsurer.  Indiana would love that and you can marry me.”

“I’m not a homosexual Gary, I’m not going to marry you.”

“But what will you do without me?”

“Stop being called a pig for one thing.”

“Ah, here they come.  Oh, my, you’re right.”

“About what?”

“They all have some shade of blue necktie on.  That’s bad, that’s very bad.  That means they’ve read the benefit’s package we’ve put together.  They have actual knowledge.”

“Gary, that’s why we sent them the report.”

“Yes, but that means we won’t even get to stay for the coffee break.  There’s usually a coffee break in this meeting, good coffee breaks and that was my one consolation to getting fired today.”

“Well if I can scrape enough money together maybe they’ll let me come back next year as the coffee vendor.”

“Hey, I hadn’t thought of that – truly.  Now there is an idea.  See we can still stay together.  I’ll be your PR and benefits guy.  You can snuffle around for money and real-estate.”

“Well, the only options for two idiot guys who tell their upper management team that the Great Society, is dead and employee accountability needs to resurface in the company will probably not only be receiving pink slips today but also have to face the long lonely world of self-employment.”

“Fifteen acres and a coffee shop huh?”

“Yup.”

“Well, here’s to crushed acorns.”

“Skinny pigs.”

“And no neckties.”