Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Holding Hands in the Countryside: The Wedding

Quite a number of individuals who could collectively be called CCWLLL (Citizens Concerned With Lucina’s Love Life) have made contact with me, asking how ‘the wedding went’. For those of you who didn’t read my blog-before-the-previous-one, I wrote about a family wedding reception that I attended with Mr Private, my first time to meet any of his family.  The jist of the blog was that I hoped my very un-me flowery dress would act as camouflage and that I would disappear into floral wallpaper that one would expect to find in a hotel.

My trip to the wedding involved 4, yes, 4, train changes.  There were no problems with missed connections and the traipsing between trains wasn’t as bad as it sounded.  I sat beside a lovely woman on the train destined for Cork.  She was stuck on a crossword clue in the Farmer’s Journal magazine.  She was surprised that I was familiar with the Journal.  I told her that my mother still bought it even after my father died.  Before long, we had exchanged stories about all things country, including road frontage, in-laws, marriage break-ups, grandchildren and wills.  I confined in her about how nervous I was about the wedding and she does her best to reassure me, like a surrogate Irish Mammy, before I left her to board my fourth train for the day. 

It was amusing to consider my journey, from the 7am commuter train to Dublin, packed with The Suits, doing an hour’s work before they hit the city, to the increasingly gradual slow-down of pace, over a number of hours, the  closer I came to Kerry.   It seemed like everyone was in holiday spirit, but it was mid-term after all.  I felt a pang of guilt that I wasn’t with my own children on their mid-term.  I put my ‘selfish bitch’ thoughts on the shelf for future perusal. 

My pre-booked taxi driver knew my work counterpart in Kerry and I was happy to speak to him about Kildare’s 1916 programme – a grasp at something familiar.  The unfamiliar view of misty mountains from the hotel was calming and beautiful all the same.  The guna felt deas when I put it on and the make-do hair and make-up was decent enough.   Meanwhile, Mr Private sent some photos that confirmed that the bride had indeed said ‘I do’ and was on his way.  

The saxophone player’s tunes wafted across the hotel reception and loud enough to drown any inner scream of ‘what the hell am I doing here’, while I sipped a cup of coffee that I couldn’t taste. Mr Private arrives and I’m aware that I’ve never seen him in a suit before.  He is looking dapper and as radiant as the beautiful bride.  He’s smiling at me and the trip seems worthwhile now.

Time is short and the bell rings to call us for the meal.  I feel a cold sweat develop as I realise that I have yet to meet the bride and groom and that I have no idea who I will sit with for dinner, while Mr Private sits at the top table.  He has it all sorted and it’s all good.  After the meal, I meet various relations and Mr Private introduces me as his ‘girlfriend’.  They smile and nod, but otherwise don’t bat an eyelid.  I expect an interrogation, but it doesn’t come.  Maybe it’s a down-South thing, or perhaps they just aren’t as nosey as my family (myself included), who would put any new suitor through a Quick Fire Round of questions on first sight.  The younger relations though, belie this, with the teenagers blushing, without making eye contact, mortified that Mr Private is holding my hand while the younger ones look at me, their eyes on sticks, the unknown creature in the flowery dress with the thick Meath accent.  I’m introduced to Mr Private’s male friends, with warm, soft handshakes.  It’s my turn to blush now, wondering what, if anything, he has told them about me.

Mr Private brings me out to dance and he’s beaming.  Is he as mindful as I am that we have never danced together before?  Thankfully, he doesn’t copy my dance moves, as that is a sack able offence. He sits down to chat to his friends, while one of the cousins pulls me back out on the dance floor, to the circle of girls.

I feel like I belong.

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