Firstly it’s because I am fully in control of whose wedding I want to attend. When I was younger, I sort of got dragged to all kinds of weddings – some of these were people I didn’t care for but I attended anyway because everyone else was going, or because my mother told me to, or because we went to school or work together, or because it was the right thing to do. These days? None of that. If I don’t want to go, I just say no.
Secondly, most of these wedded pairs are people that I have known for a while and genuinely care about. I am invested in their happiness and well-being. Therefore, it feels really special to be able to be there and witness a very personal time of their lives. The wedding celebration itself is just another excuse to party and eat free food, at least that’s how I see it. But to be able to meet their families, to listen to their friends or neighbours or whoever else that happens to sit at the same table tell stories about them, the silly things they did when they were kids, the awful 80’s fashion or music that they used to love… it is a wonderful experience. Plus I get a story or two I could keep in my back pocket to use for blackmailing purposes some day.
And thirdly, maybe because the average age of my friends are in the thirties, weddings no longer seem like an expected thing to do. What I mean is, when I was younger, I witnessed people getting married because they didn’t want to be alone, or because marriage is the next step (first comes college, then comes marriage, then the 2.5 kids and the volvo and then mid-life crisis), or because “Ijah, I am already 26, you see,” (No. I don’t see). I have no doubt that these people were in love and that they were, and some still are, happy with the union and the way their lives turned out to be. But I felt many of these marriages were, to repeat a phrase, the right thing to do. Sometimes I wonder if they even know what is the right thing to do. There is a strange kind of desperation to it, you sort of sense it as the wedding takes place but you just shake it off and keep your opinions to yourself because it is none of your business anyway.
But these lately weddings, these couples, they have gone through turbulent times, they have lived – LIVED! They’ve spent RM600 on a pair of shoes (or persuaded ME to spend RM600 on a pair of shoes that I will wear only twice in my entire lifetime), they’ve seen Paris in spring, they’ve eaten sushi and know if they like it or hate it, they’ve cheated and been cheated on, they’ve lost jobs, brain matter, loves, weight, hair, faith, courage, custody (of restaurants, CDs, friends even) – the works. There is a singular quality about them, and they treat marriage not as a progression of their lives or relationship but because they wanted to be among their friends and families and loved ones to say these words out loud: hey, look here, this is the person I love and I want to share her/him with you too; please enjoy the buffet.
I opened and closed 2011 with the weddings of two people who are among my absolute favourite people in the world. These two… they have done extraordinary things for me, they went to extraordinary lengths, you have no idea how far they’d go – no questions asked. During a really trying time of my life one organised a prayer circle, another sent me cupcakes and flowers – one saved me spiritually, another saved me emotionally. One was my getaway driver, another my handbag carrier. One stayed back to work late with me most nights, another sent supper whenever I was too caught up with work to get my own food. One makes me laugh when I am sad, another lets me cry. Both wonderful, both steadfastly loyal, both non-judgmental (okay, maybe a little judgmental about my terrible taste in terrible men), both wanting nothing in return I sometimes fantasize about putting them in my will when I become super rich and famous (or an autograph and personal photo with my husband when I marry one mister Keanu, whichever comes first).
I am happy to be included in their weddings, in fact I would have thrown a hissy fit if I wasn’t. I feel very special to be able to be there with them, to eat cake, to be introduced to their families and friends (although every time the conversation starts with “Ooooh so this is IA; I’ve heard so much about you,” I feel a little cold sweat trickles down my neck coz some of the things they’ve heard, I guarantee you, is way way too racy for my own good).
There are different kinds of love for different kinds of people. When I am with them, at their weddings, I feel love and loved. And for that, I thank you two. I hope someday I can repay the kindness that you have shown. For now, here’s this post as my way of saying I’ve had a wonderful 2011 because of you.
And yes happy belated Dec 23 birthday to one, happy upcoming January 3 birthday to the other. I’d bake you cupcakes, but I ran out of butter.
No names. You know who you are.
(p/s: I hope your spouses realize that in marrying you, they gained custody of me too and I hope that’s in the marriage contract.)