I hope you’ll allow me to piss and moan for a bit before I get back to the story. Writing about this ridiculous, half-assed “wedding” has made me very angry. I am angry because this shit stain of a memory reminds me of all the times that I’ve said ‘yes’. Yes, I’ll drive an hour so you can get your stuff out of storage. Yes, I’ll watch your pets and/or kids. Yes, I’ll work those hours for you. Yes, I’ll reschedule/sit this one out. Yes, I’ll take the blame. Yes, you can borrow my car. Yes, Ill go with you to a nude resort. And of course, yes, I’ll be in your wedding/go to your bridal/baby shower/bachelorette party. I am a bitter, spiteful, sad, pitiful, possibly ungrateful bitch who will always say ‘yes’ but will always find myself with hurt feelings, alone on a Friday night, or panic-stricken as I try to figure out how the hell I’m going to move my life from one awful place to another without help*, while people like Wanda get to have second weddings. You read that right; Wanda will be getting married for the second time in a few short months.
I am not friends with Wanda anymore, if you couldn’t tell. The end of our “friendship” came when, displaying the reading comprehension of an artichoke, Wanda chose to publicly shame and humiliate me because she was insulted by something I wrote. It was actually a compliment, but like I said, the bitch can’t read. It’s pretty awesome when people accidentally react badly to neutral things because at least then you know where you really stand. I would be a liar if I said it didn’t burn me deep inside my black, hollow soul that “Lisa” from the story along with another friend of mine have chosen to remain loyal to a hateful, classless, pathological liar; they’ll be and have been attending Wanda’s wedding and marriage do-over and associated activities. But it’s not like it’s a fucking surprise. The title of this blog is based on my being shat upon by people I thought were supposed to at least politely tolerate me because of our shared genetics, if not human decency, so of course it is little surprise that some of my oldest friends would continue to hang out with and celebrate a person who’s most redeeming quality is that she can tell you where to get a bad weave for cheap. Anyway. I’m probably not making much sense and I’m digging a hole for myself, so I shall write no more about my roller coaster of emotions. You came here to read a funny story about a totally cracked-out wedding. I’ll keep my feelings of mild betrayal and seething anger where they belong: under a pile of hot wings and blue cheese sauce deep down in my rapidly expanding gut. On with the show!
So the ceremony was a disaster. When it was finally over, a handsome older gentleman came walking over with a professional camera, shaking his head and rounding us up to take pictures. He was eventually introduced to us as Wanda’s uncle. He cracked jokes to make us laugh so that all of the photos of the wedding weren’t of people who looked as though they had been forced at gunpoint to be there. As he took shot after shot, he said to Wanda “I still don’t understand why you didn’t let me help you! Girl, you know I’m a professional photographer! I have connections! I could have helped you out with this wedding! You let me know about everything so last minute that I can’t even go to the reception ’cause I’ve got another wedding to shoot in an hour. What were you thinking? Girl, call on your family next time! Uh, not that there’s gonna be a next time, of course. Err. . . uh. . . Congratulations, baby-girl.” I’m pretty sure we all had the same look of disbelief on our faces when we learned that her uncle was a wedding photographer. In other words, there was no need for us all to have been subjected to the ghetto bullshit that was her wedding. She could have had professional help! Not the kind she truly needed, of course, but the kind that would have at least had her not making a fool of herself and everyone she’d ever met! Noticing our shock at her uncle’s revelation, Wanda rolled her eyes and said “Anyway. He is too expensive and wouldn’t have given me a discount. He’s stingy.” Okay, bitch. Okay.
As we walked to our cars, some kind-hearted soul handed me, Lisa, and the baby warm cans of grape soda. “I know ya’ll are hot in those dresses. It’s not cold but it’s wet!” We were grateful for the first calorie source we’d consumed all day; I’m not sure whatever became of the breakfast we went out for, but it certainly wasn’t eaten by us. Just before we made our way to the VFW for the reception, Carmella, the smart friend of Wanda’s who’d declined to be a bridesmaid, came storming over. She angrily shoved a bouquet at Wanda, red-faced and fuming. “Here’s your f*cking flowers” she growled. Apparently, one of the many calls Wanda received back in the room was from Carmella. She had the bride’s bouquet, which she’d made, and the wedding cake, and no directions to either the wedding site or the VFW. She had been driving around in circles for hours, totally lost. Lisa’s bouquet had gone missing because it had been snatched from her hands and given to Wanda when someone realized that the bride’s bouquet had never arrived. Carmella had called and called, but because Wanda was too distraught to talk, Carmella had threatened to simply go home with the rapidly wilting bouquet and melting wedding cake. Oh, did I fail to mention that this wedding was on one of the hottest days of the year? It was the middle of autumn though, so no one was prepared for the sweltering, 90-plus degree weather. A family member of the bride’s finally snatched the phone, gave Carmella directions to the VFW so she could drop off the cake. . . but it was locked. The back seat of her car was slowly being covered in melted icing. Her hard work was rapidly disintegrating before her very eyes.
We were a sad caravan of idiots making our way to the VFW. The ushers were ready to eat. The guests were ready to drink. I was ready to continue my hunger strike if J.J.’s ass was the only one doing the cooking. There had been no sign of him at the wedding. Kelly shrugged her empty-headed shoulders when asked if she’d heard from him. We pulled into the parking lot of the VFW after the newlyweds and their families and were met with yet another show of ridiculous, yet somewhat understandable, behavior outside. Wanda was in tears again and her older brother was screaming at her like she’d stolen something from him. “I’ll ask you again Wanda: where is the goddamn food for all these people? There is NOTHING inside!! Give me the number to the restaurant you claim is catering this mess, ’cause they ain’t here!” Oh, snap. So Wanda never told her family that the restaurant wasn’t actually providing anything except for maybe a pan of mac and cheese? Her brother was losing his cool by the minute. His wife and mother tried to hold him back from throttling Wanda. It eventually took most of the groom’s ushers to restrain him when Wanda hiccuped out the truth: “J- J-J.J. is doing the cooking a-a-and he’s n-n-not answering his phone! He-he-he has my car and all the f-f-food and I don’t know where he is!” she wailed.
“You. Had. F*cking J.J. cook for this wedding?” her brother screamed. “What the hell is WRONG with you, Wanda? Give me his number and somebody get my car keys, ’cause I’m gonna find that motherf*cker and kick his ass!” The crazy justice of the peace eventually intervened, not with calm rationality, but with even louder screaming. That lady was nuttier than a fruit cake with her self-righteous ranting and raving about how mean everyone was being to poor Wanda on her most special day. I guess it was the ridiculousness of her statements that finally shut Wanda’s brother up, as he shook his head and stormed inside.
We all followed his lead and wandered in after him. The guests, the amount of which had magically doubled, were seated at the cafeteria tables covered in shoddily Scotch-taped lavender plastic table cloths like it was 1963 in Selma, AL. Wanda’s groom, a basically brain dead McDonald’s employee named Petey, was Latino. I haven’t mentioned him till now because his usual contribution to conversations consisted of one of the two following phrases: “Yo, I don’t even know!” and “Yeah, baby love, whatever you want!” Based on the looks on the faces of his family, none of them were too keen on the union or black folks in general as they segregated themselves throughout the entire reception. Sure, fine, whatever. Frankly, I sort of didn’t really blame them.
We all took our places at the bridal party table and just waited for the next absurd thing to take place. People were getting hungry and pissed. Wanda’s aunties, clearly well aware of their niece’s proclivity for utter foolishness, had take it upon themselves to make a few pans of side dishes: macaroni salad, coleslaw, green salad. There wasn’t a piece of cheese or a cracker in the place, so they started dishing out what they’d brought as appetizers. They rounded up little kids to pass out cans of orange soda, Coke, or tap water. Unbeknownst to anyone, Wanda has insisted that the wedding be a dry one. Once the guests discovered this, many of them disappeared to the bar next door. Another of Wanda’s uncles, ever the innovator, had filled the trunk of his classic car with ice and bottles of scotch and whiskey. Suddenly, some of the more frugal guests realized that they had left their car windows down or the wedding gift they’d brought sitting in the backseat. The VFW cleared out like someone had just bombed for roaches.
Wanda started to cry again, upset that most of the guests had peaced out of the reception. I told you, I’m an idiot who likes to help, so I agreed to find out where everybody was when Wanda begged. I went out to the parking lot and saw the impromptu party going on, and suddenly, someone grabbed my arm and pulled me behind the building. It was Wanda’s sister-in-law. She had taken a shine to Lisa and me, amazed that Wanda had friends that weren’t toothless or addicted to methadone. She shoved a plastic glass of amber colored liquid in my hand. “Here. Drink this.” Before I could say “But what is it?”, she’d brought my hand up to my mouth, held on to the the back of my neck and literally forced me to pour the booze down my gullet. That brought the total of things I’d consumed that day to two: half a can of warm grape soda and a glass of equally warm scotch.
I coughed and sputtered and tried to explain that Wanda was inside having yet another meltdown, but sister-in-law was too busy shaking it to the soul music Uncle Whiskey was blasting out of his car. Suddenly, the door to the VFW slammed open and out stormed the justice of the peace. Her hands were on the hips of her plaid mini skirt, her penny loafer clad foot impatiently tapping. She stormed over to the parking lot revelers, her white opaque tights making a soft swishing noise with each stride she took. “How dare you?” she started, and I knew that was my cue to be out. I sneaked past her and back inside the sad, half-empty hall.
Once inside, I shared the news of what was happening with the rest of the bridal party, which was a mistake as I had to then convince them all to stay inside and not go to the bar or to the party that was being broken up outside. Eventually, everyone trickled back in, higher and happier than when they’d left. Moments later, in walked J.J. and Betsy, balancing a number of aluminum foil wrapped trays between them, both still clad in the musty outfits they had on the night before. I gagged a bit at the sight while the rest of the guests cheered at the sight of the food. Lisa and I exchanged a knowing glance and tried to make the most of our coleslaw.
Everything was laid out buffet style, including the salvaged wedding cake, a lemon bundt cake, and neon pink cookies. Lisa and I declined the offers of plates of meatballs, ham, chicken wings, cabbage, rice and beans, and macaroni and cheese, knowing who was behind their creation. “You a vegetarian or something?” one of the ushers asked, a thick hunk of ham dangling from his fork. He bit into the glistening meat, certain it’s sheen came from a layer of sticky glaze, while I was sure it was a fine layer of mucus and armpit sweat that gave the meat it’s special glow. I covered my mouth as I gagged again. “No, not a vegetarian. Just not very hungry” I muttered.
Lisa’s daughter was in the midst of her Terrible Twos and a very picky eater. She managed to get only a couple of forkfuls of salad into the baby when she gave up and let her have dessert. The baby enjoyed the mystery cookies, the bride’s special request, which we later learned got their pink hue from Kool-Aid mix. They tasted like dry balls of flour rolled in cherry-flavored Fun Dip. After trying one of the monstrosities, Lisa asked for slices of the lemon cake, thinking that would be the slightly more nutritious and far less disgusting choice to feed her child.
The lemon cake was a natural shade of yellow and looked very moist. Lisa and I took a bite and looked at each other, puzzled and puckered. “Wow, this cake is really. . . lemony” she said, choking down what was in her mouth. “Yeah, it’s surprisingly strong and. . . bitter or something” I replied, struggling to find the appropriate adjective to describe the cake’s odd flavor. The baby loved it. She ate her slice and mine and Lisa’s. Lisa was just happy that the kid wasn’t going to starve. When the baby asked for a fourth slice, Lisa shrugged her shoulders. “What the heck, it’s a special occasion. I just can’t believe she can handle something so tart!”
As the baby started in on her fourth slice, sister-in-law happened to walk over to our table. She was smiling, about to make pleasant conversation, when she noticed the baby happily shoving a fistful of lemon cake into her mouth. “Oh my god, don’t let her eat that!” she shrieked, snatching the plate away. We looked at her like she was as crazy as the justice of the peace. “What’s wrong?” asked Lisa. “If it’s the sugar you’re worried about-” “No! Didn’t you guys hear me? I’ve been telling everyone about my famous Bacardi Limon cake!” “What?” said Lisa, a look of panic slowly growing on her face. “This is rum cake! I bake a lemon bundt cake and then I soak it over night with simple syrup and an entire bottle of Bacardi Limon! How couldn’t you know?” screamed sister-in-law. “Rum cakes are brown! I’ve never heard of a f*cking lemon rum cake! Oh my god, what do I do?” cried Lisa. We tried to get the baby to drink water, but she wasn’t having it. She was too busy giggling and clapping. She seemed like a pretty normal toddler, so we hoped for the best and kept an eye on her all night.
The baby loved to dance and was making quite the scene on the dance floor. We were still convinced she was fine, until like something from a Bugs Bunny cartoon, the strangest look came over her and she started to furiously “tap dance”. She kept this up for a while, a stupid grin on her face, and then she started to stagger. She stumbled to her left and laughed. She stumbled to her right and laughed. She stumbled to her left again, let out a squeal of delight, and then her eyes rolled back in her head and she went crashing to the ground, face first.
Miraculously, the baby was fine, but apparently wasted. She was out cold, a smile on her chubby little face as she slept it off. Lisa, mortified and scared, grabbed my car keys and ran through the parking lot, crying hysterically. She locked herself in my car, weeping behind the steering wheel. It was time for the couple’s first dance and Wanda wanted us out on the floor too. The bridal party took turns trying to convince Lisa to come out of the car, but she’d only lift her head from where it lay on the steering wheel, cry out “I’m a bad mother!” and go back to weeping again. We eventually gave up, figuring she needed time to compose herself. She hadn’t had anything to eat nor had she slept, so a mental breakdown seemed appropriate.
The baby had woken up back inside and took turns dancing with everyone from the bridal party as we waited for the DJ to announce Wanda and Petey and put on their song. There was some commotion by the DJ’s table, and finally they motioned for me to come over. Again, why the hell I was the wedding police up in that mess I will never know. “J.J. was supposed to bring their first dance song! He didn’t and I don’t have it! I already told Wanda and she’s crying again. They won’t tell me what to play instead; what should I do?” the DJ asked, frantic. In his defense, he’d never done a wedding before. He was a club DJ and a friend of one of the ushers who’d agreed to do the wedding for cheap. He needed wedding experience and Wanda needed a DJ, so they made a deal.
“Um, um. . ” I said, racking my brain. “Uh, just play “My Girl”! That’s a good love song!” Luckily, the DJ had it and put it on. Wanda wept into Petey’s shoulder as he pathetically danced her around. The bridal party was in a half circle around the couple and suddenly, it just all became too much for me. Hungry and exhausted, I replayed all the awful things that had happened over the last day and a half. Seeing Wanda quietly weep as the The Temptations sang about sunshine on a cloudy day was just so sad. Her wedding was a joke. I felt my lower lip start to quiver and then I just lost it. I started to weep and wail like a professional funeral crier. I couldn’t control myself, but the music was pretty loud and I had my face covered and hoped no one would notice. I wanted the bride and groom to have their moment. The bridal party could see and hear me and they all gathered me into a group hug, taking turns consoling me and asking what was wrong. They had their backs to Wanda and Petey’s dance. They weren’t the focus anymore. I was. I felt even more awful than I already did and started to cry harder. “Leave me alone!” I shouted as I flailed my arms. “Watch Wanda and Petey! Don’t ruin their moment!” As I pushed against the group hug I was stuck in, the song and dance continued. I knew the guests weren’t watching the first dance either, considering the spectacle we were making. Eventually, the song ended. That moment had been ruined, too, thanks to me.
The only things left to do were the cake cutting, garter toss, and bouquet toss. These three things must have gone relatively smoothly as I have no memory of them. The bride and groom also did a dollar dance, which was actually fun and pretty cute. Even the Latino side of the family joined in for that! Lisa came back inside and apologized for her freak out. I laughed and told her not to worry; all the cool kids were having meltdowns, and told her about mine. The wedding cake was served and Wanda proudly told everyone that Carmella had used a recipe that she, Wanda, had picked out. It was a German chocolate cake with a vanilla butter-cream icing. It was Carmella’s first time baking a wedding cake and everyone oohed and aahed over how pretty it came out, even after partially melting.
I took a bite of the cake and immediately reached for a napkin. I spit it out as discreetly as I could. The cake was not sweet, nor did it taste like chocolate. It was both extremely moist yet unbelievably dry. It was what I imagine eating a wet sponge that had been baked in an oven must be like. Wanda’s wedding was cursed. Even the dessert was stank and wrong!
While the guests danced, we hugged and congratulated Wanda on her marriage, i.e., lied to that girl’s face. She was tired and putting money into envelopes to pay. . . honestly, I don’t know. I guess the DJ. If J.J. and Carmella charged for their “services”, they are both going to hell. Wanda let out a sigh and said “Well, it’s over. We made it through. Now we’ve got the honeymoon to look forward to. Oh, by the way: the VFW contract states that we’re responsible for cleaning up, so if you guys want to change out of your dresses, we can get started in a few minutes.”
Lisa and I looked at each other and said “Oh yeah, sure, sure. Just have to get our suitcases out of the car.” We said our good-byes to guests and the other folks in the bridal party. Once we were outside the VFW, we took off running through the parking lot, jumped in the car and sped away. “I’ll call her later and tell her the baby fell asleep” Lisa said. We toasted each other with our value size orange Hi-C drinks that we bought from a McDonald’s drive-thru and laughed as we drove away from the scene of an event that would haunt us for years to come.
Wanda and Petey ended up divorcing about three years after their wedding. He apparently “changed”, started being really mean to Wanda, and got somebody else pregnant. From what I gather, he is living happily ever after and now works at Burger King.
I haven’t seen or smelled J.J. in years. He’s still out there, somewhere. I’m sure of it. Last I heard, he and Betsey either broke up or got married. I can’t remember which. I don’t think either of them ever came to embrace soap, water, or deodorant.
As I mentioned in my angry rant above, Wanda and I are no longer friends. She is getting married this fall to a guy who seems very nice. He also seems to be about 600-lbs. Before the end of our friendship, she hadn’t asked me to be a bridesmaid.
Honestly, I was kind of disappointed.
*Yes, I know that many of you have offered to help, but because I am neurotic and mildly paranoid, I don’t believe you.