Unforgettable

Wedding hall

The pink and red heart-shaped balloons, which were intended to transform the legion hall into the sort of grand ballroom suitable for a fairy-tale wedding, did not quite suit the pastel-yellow walls. The single rotating coloured light which the DJ had brought could not compete with the stark glare of the fluorescent tubes that were recessed into the low false ceiling. Nonetheless, the open bar was well-frequented, and the guests were in good humour. Loud whooping accompanied the doffing of thrift store suit-jackets, which were then swung around heads revealing dark pit-stains that had formed on the dress shirts beneath. None of this, however, perturbed the groom, David, as much as the presence of his mother, and, after a particularly energetic turn on the dance floor to the strains of Gloria Gaynor’s 1978 classic “I Will Survive,” he walked over to the bar to catch his breath and to unburden himself to his sister, Sarah.
“I don’t even know why we brought her all the way down here. I mean, she’s not getting anything out of this. She doesn’t even know what’s going on.”
“Shame on you, David; she cared for both of us when we were far too small to ‘know what was going on.’”
“Sure. But we had the potential to grow out of our vegetative state. Anyway, all my friends are here. Anne’s friends are here. This is just embarrassing. Plus, she’s cramping the whole happily-ever-after vibe.”
“Marriages aren’t ‘happily ever after,’ David. They either end in divorce or when one of you dies.”
“Look at her; she’s drooling. I just feel like she’d be happier back at the home.”
“That’s because she’s sitting all by herself. Why don’t you go over there and ask her to dance?”
“Don’t be silly. Mom can’t dance.”
“Sure she can. Didn’t you know she used to be a professional dancer?”
“You’re kidding. I never saw her dance.”
“She used to dance on stage before she met dad. He actually made her stop. He said it wasn’t ‘dignified.’ She told me he wouldn’t even dance with her at their wedding, and it broke her heart. The least you can do is let her dance with her own son at his wedding.”
“Fine, I’ll go over if it makes you happy.”
Reluctantly, David made his way across the linoleum dance floor, stopping only to high five and one-arm hug a profusely-sweating groomsman, who assured him that it was a “great party, man!”

“Hi, mom, how’re you doing?”
“Hello, Donald, you look so handsome today.”
“Mom, I’m not Dad… um… Donald…. I’m David, your son.”
“Yes, yes, dear. We shall have to cut the cake soon, my love. I’m quite sure the guests are ready for dessert. Should we go cut the cake now, dear?”
“Mom, we already cut the cake. You’ve already eaten some. It’s all over your dress.”
“Oh, have I? I can’t remember. It must be the champagne. It goes straight to my head, don’t you know?”
“You haven’t drunk any champagne, mom. It’s the Alzheimer’s.”
“Yes, I’m having a wonderful time, thank you, darling.”
“Mom, would you like to dance?”
“Donald, I… I thought you didn’t want to… well… what a surprise! Of course, I’d love to! What bride wouldn’t want to dance with her handsome husband on their wedding day?”
“Mom, we aren’t getting married.”
As David walked his mother out onto the dance floor, the DJ announced into the microphone that he was going to “slow things right down,” and with just a couple of dropped beats, he faded in Chris de Burgh’s 1986 soft-rock hit “Lady in Red.” Somebody switched off the overhead fluorescents, and the DJ’s light was suddenly shown to good effect, sending small circles of coloured light darting across the darkened ceiling and down the walls. Most of the rowdier dancers took the opportunity of a slow number to retreat to the bar for some much-needed refreshment. David self-consciously put his arms around his mother, and they began to turn slowly around the suddenly subdued dance floor.
“Oh, darling, you dance much better than I thought you would,” David’s mother said. “Did you take dancing lessons to surprise me? I never knew you were such a romantic!”
“Sure, mom, whatever you say.”
“Donald, I think I’m the luckiest girl in the whole world tonight. I am so excited to build a life together with you. I’m certain it will be unforgettable!”

By Charlie Taylor

 

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