Friday, July 25, 2008

(another chapter of The Brides of March)

Graeme Had Had Enough

While we had our picture taken after the ceremony, our friends Cindy and Teri arrived, and were talking to Tom about getting married. They’d already had a big church wedding some years earlier, but they wanted to make it legal ASAP.

Graeme and I didn’t wait around to see their exchange of vows. He’d had it. Jannine and the older kids stayed, but Graeme and I skedaddled into the hallway so Cindy and Teri wouldn’t have their marriage overshadowed by lusty cries and struggles. It was a relief to put him down, for both of us. He toddled around happily, exploring the linoleum floor, finding treasures he thought might be edible, and I thought might obstruct his airways.

The ceremony seemed to take forever since I was trying to hush a long-suppressed toddler, who wasn’t taking a hint. We moved far down the hallway to lessen his echoing squeals. Before long, the wooden double doors swung open, and the kids poured out into the hallway and swooped on the remnants of lunch like well-behaved hyenas. My mother came out, along with Marty’s mom, clutching well-used handkerchiefs. Liz was still keyed up, waiting around to sign our certificate as an official witness, before dashing back to the office, blocks away.

The brides all moved to the Channing Room, a formal parlor with wing chairs and a fireplace, where the ministers signed the marriage licenses, and we swapped signatures on each other’s forms, bearing witness to one another’s weddings. The cameraman was there, filming the signing, eager to capture something after being banned from the ceremonies.

Graeme was now on the loose, moving from chair to chair, examining each for climbing potential, and attempting an ascent. Our accoutrements had somehow grown during the long morning; we now had bouquets to carry, paperwork, cameras, and coats. The signing seemed to take a long time, but it’s what makes a wedding legal, so it was worth every ever-vigilant second of keeping Graeme from breaking a church heirloom, or his own neck. Finally, we’d shaken hands with the ministers, the friends had dispersed, and the mothers had headed home to call everyone in the extended family they could think of. There was a collective sense of “what next?”

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