This second week of November provides two sets of words and a sentence prompt. Choose one set, both sets, sentence prompt, just a few words--it is yours for the taking! See what you can make from them:
Wall, mail carrier, cool, flourish, wedding, creep
Poll, graduate, floor, message, break down, exclusive
The sentence prompt for this week:
Half the names on the list had already been crossed off.
I missed last week's and honestly, I've been such a raging mess I'm not sure I could've participated anywho! This week, despite feeling lower than shit, I'm going to try and write. Well, write slightly more than I cry, I think that's a good, realistic goal for myself...
Ahhh, back to the clacking. Let's do this :)
The small event hall looked like a reunion for wannabe vampires not a wedding reception. Garish red tablecloths overlaid with black lace laid the stage for centerpieces that quite obviously did turn out as the design had implied. Black silk roses encrusted in silver glitter and small clear beads did not lend a mote of romance to the air. I shook my head at the red mesh jammed into the vase, its base meagerly filled with black and silver pebbles. Pinterest had claimed yet more victims.
Romance wasn't guaranteed at any wedding, but this one had come to the table with far less chance than most. The bride was a recent college graduate and new mother, the groom a grocery store bagger/stocker/checker and recently deflowered virgin. Had a poll been wrought the outlook for this marriage, it would've been bleak.
He had been nineteen and playing basketball for a community college back east when Natalie happened into the gym. Like hooking guppies in a toilet bowl she stomped over to him in her knee-high faux suede boots and handed him a folded piece of college-lined paper with her number on it. "You need to call me," she had commanded. He blushed, he blustered, a day later Ryan called.
Ryan was a nice boy, a sheltered boy. Natalie was twenty-one and could feign nice pretty well but excelled at head spinning mania and biting sarcasm, pushing away and reeling back in. "The doctors say I can't get pregnant," she coaxed one night and hooked him for him good.
The wedding ceremony's atmosphere hadn't quite achieved solemn despite the bride's traditional voluminous white gown and puffy veil, the groom's rail straight posture and meticulously leveled clip on tie. I watched the beads of sweat at his temples as the reverend's Adam's apple bobbed with agitated swallows throughout the ceremony; I guessed Natalie's tattoos hadn't inspired much faith.
Their nine month old's cries were soothed by impromptu grandparents and otherwise ignored. Natalie was still, concentrating on her posture and smile. Even I struggled to detect when she was being genuine or manipulative, a sorry commentary on our sisterhood.
The guests waited for their cues: nervous giggles, tears, smiles, but they were given no chance to orchestrate a community aw or appreciate giggle, silence reigned. Polite applause sealed their fates.
In the reception hall I avoided the exclusive tables for family members near the front, escorting my toddling son toward a table at the back edge of the room. I glanced toward the front of the hall and the newlyweds' table positioned before of the stage, behind the dance floor. The back wall had a variety of LED lights projecting streams of red onto the industrial taupe with two beams of pure white highlighting a gigantic, sparkling black 'S' suspended behind the stage and the DJ's equipment.
"Good God, it's my prom all over again." My husband scoffed as he pulled my chair back for me. He smiled and scanned my face, "How are you doing?"
"I made it through the ceremony," I smirked. Sighing heavily I shook my head. "It's still emotional. I don't think I can make it much longer. I thought I would be over this by now...."
"No worries," he grinned viciously and kissed my head as I plunked into the proffered chair. "You are doing what you can and damn everything else. They don't deserve anything from you. Not a thing."
Settling into his chair he watched me fumble with my napkin, folding and unfolding the white linen as I suppressed tears. It had been nearly 18 months since Natalie had told me she was pregnant. I had just delivered my son when my mother had shown up with Natalie and her new boyfriend in tow. Instead of being about her new nephew or the change to our family, the visit was about her.
You should sit down for this. Natalie loved to prime an audience. Now don't feel like your sister is stealing your thunder. Mother knew how to trigger the sibling rivalry and negate my emotions with sickening efficiency.
As the postpartum depression settled in a few months later the breakdown seemed irrevocably tied to that afternoon when Natalie had sprung her news, Mother had shushed me, and Ryan had shirked in the corner. As her baby shower neared my depression suddenly worsened. As her due date approached I was again dragged back from any progress and thrown down into the depths again. I couldn't visit my nephew, I simply sent a card and returned to twice weekly therapy and new medications. Our family holiday gathering triggered the darkness again and I began to dread the mail carrier and his wedding message, knowing that attending the wedding would be yet another challenge.
Somehow, I had managed to keep my cool through introductions and hand shakes, in-laws and friends-of-friends that I'd never see again. I had stared politely at the ceremony, clutching my son in my lap to avoid arousing suspicion at my clapless hands.
Over a year of therapy and medications couldn't fix what was wrong with me. All that "help" couldn't "help" where I needed it. I still felt wronged, I still felt unloved, unsupported, rejected. I still felt angry.
The microphone whined and the DJ hushed and rushed everyone to their respective tables before cuing "The Imperial March" from Star Wars. Instead of a legion of Darth Vadars, three young women clad in glaring red bridesmaids gowns marched forward on the arms of three young men clearly uncomfortable with the idea of cummerbunds. After the troop of wedding lackeys had seated themselves on opposite sides of the head table, the DJ scratched and scritched and hollered for everyone to rise and applaud the newlyweds.
Everyone watched as the couple had their first dance, then dinner was served, speeches ensued, and then the newlyweds sidled toward the cake table.
I sighed. All the wedding festivities had grated and clawed at me. Watching Natalie's fake smiles and marveling at the real life MTV marathon she had made her life into. My son had enjoyed the dancing, the food hadn't been bad, but I was done with this scene, this illusion, this mockery.
Anger welled up like a geyser whose stream was capped by stone. Except my stone was cracked. My stone was giving way.
Standing, I grabbed my napkin and put it in my left hand. My husband looked up, questioning, but I reassured him with a shake of my head as I edged toward the side of the dining area. It was a common thoroughfare leading to and from the hall to the restrooms and front exit, and I strode casually toward that end.
The exit also happened to be on the same side of the reception hall as the cake table. As I came to the double doors I saw that Natalie and Ryan were positioned behind the cake for their cutting and feeding ceremony. As the DJ called attention to the couple and cued "Pour Some Sugar on Me" my resolve was set.
Disregarding an opportunity for an eyeroll, I hastened my pace and began to creep up behind Natalie and the cake table. As I reached her bubbly bustle I accidentally stepped on her gown. Immediately I launched my attack sequence. As she reared back I flung my arms up and pressed her shoulders down and forward, toward the three tiers of peanut butter and Oreo flavored cake.
She screamed like a dragon whose lair has been desecrated then wailed as her face and hands met with gobs of buttercream and layers of cake. Lost in my moment of reckless delight, I scooped up a glob of massacred cake and rubbed it into her sculpted hair with a victorious flourish of my hand.
"HA!" I bellowed, before releasing her shoulders, pivoting, and dashing back toward my table.
Loping alongside the dining tables jubilantly I punched the air and then used my napkin to wipe my messy hands. Catching my husband's open mouthed stare I jerked my head and motioned toward the rear exit just past our table. Scooping up our son and the diaper bag he joined me as I ran past, tipping a chair and nearly ripping the tablecloth from our table in his quick exit. We both gasped for air as we banged through the double doors and then began laughing as we jogged to the car.
"Worth it?" He gasped as we zoomed from the parking lot at barely legal speeds.
"We'll see in the morning... but right now? Hell yes." I smiled and wiped tiny tears from my eyes. I couldn't tell if they were happy tears, sad tears, of tears of fear but in that moment they felt happy enough.
If you have been following my story it probably didn't take you long to recognize the true life bits in this "Words for Wednesday."
I am feeling so good about this in a therapeutic way it blocks out the criticisms of my writing! Now that's AWESOME, I do declare :)
I think I managed to get all the words in, though that poll one was hard. Didn't do the sentence, but oh well.
Thanks to all the "Words for Wednesday" folks for keeping this rolling :)