Before we start the walk down ‘that’ aisle, girlfriends, let me quickly update you on why I am standing outside a house of God in the fading afternoon light.
I mean, did you even realise there is a pecking order in churches as marriage venues?
Obviously I never did. After all, once the photographers and I had settled on a stained glass, old-worlde theme, well let’s be serious for a moment, we are automatically talking cathedral, aren’t we?
Although my strongest connection with the Heavenly Father, or G-o-o-o-o-d as I call him, comes only from time to time, I am sure he would not be averse to some powerful brand marketing opportunities at one of his more spectacular residences in these parts.
Which kind of lets us pick up where we left off last week.
My father, me on his arm, my loyal retainers hovering and an acceptable crowd gathered outside a venue that not only fitted my — sorry, our — guests but also catered for my B and C tier friends who missed the cut for invitations (but will probably tell their grandchildren about the “day I saw her married’) and other assorted connections wanting to peek over the fence and see what life really is like outside the world of the banal.
Plus, and this was always planned to be a seamless solution, throwing the venue open for the occasion helped fill what would otherwise have been obvious seating gaps between the bride’s side (in common-speak: packed to the rafters) and the groom’s (more of a ‘sit wherever you like’ affair).
So even on a day such as this, the great unwashed had their roles as extras for the wedding of the year (tut, tut — only a narcissist would suggested decade or century).
And that, with the very next step, is the journey on which I was about to embark.
I am human. I have, from time to time, had mixed emotions — could you choose between an emerald necklace and matching earrings and a metre-long string of baroque pearls? Of course not; who could? I took them all.
But as we swept in through the doors and into the nave, with everyone standing and all eyes turned on me, I had that sudden feeling again.
I should have taken just the pearls and suggested diamonds might be better than emeralds.
What was I thinking at the time?
More confusing still, why was I thinking about it now?
Was it a message from my inner self about whether I should be walking forward or describing a discreet pirouette and heading back out the door — and out of sight?
Planning a wedding is one thing. Mocking the efforts of others is a fun everyday thing for those of us who can — after all, I have been resolute in my independence, built on the rock-solid foundation of being one of the betters (possibly the best, but one would never openly suggest such an honour).
So why am I starting to squeeze Father’s arm to the point I can hear him hissing in pain while maintaining a grim rictus in place of the paternally doting smile I saw on his face as the train was tucked into place outside the cathedral?
At which point I lifted my eyes and stared ahead, where, 40 or so metres away, he stood, those eyes seeing nothing but me, and the pirouette was forgotten in an instant — although thank goodness I was firmly clutching dear old Daddy’s arm because my knees almost gave way and I would have collapsed to the floor had he not been holding me upright.
Love always begins with lust. In my experience.
A lot of lust also begins with lust. But ends there too.
You are looking at a girl who loved her freewheeling lifestyle, loved an apartment where she was the only human, loved being 30-something without any of the usual wear and tear of life and G-o-o-o-o-d, just look at him.
Having reached the altar for the (very) short, non-denominational ceremony was suddenly an achievement in its own right.
Standing here looking at him is, in its way, waiting for the judge to pronounce a life sentence.
The way I had scripted the ceremony did away with those ridiculous self-penned vows with which the lower socio-economics seem so taken.
We only had one line each the whole time we were on show: ``I do.”
If I couldn’t get that right I would possibly collapse with the vapours — or just plain faint.
And then the moment came.
He agreed without hesitation then raised his eyes, those eyes, to mine as the celebrant asked me the same question: Do I take…
Then it suddenly happened, it could not have been me speaking: “Oh, G-o-o-o-o-d, do I!”
At which point everything went black.