The Wedding Guest

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: January 23, 2017

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Submitted: January 23, 2017

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The Wedding guest.

It couldn’t happen could it? Not to me I’m the most cynical person in the world; love at first sight; never! Yet here I am drooling over some bird I’ve only just met; all she did was flash a smile and I’ve become a gibbering wreck. I’ve always promised myself that marriage is not for me; but as I sit here, looking at her, the advantages of marriage come drifting, persuasively into my brain; what’s wrong with me? It’s as if that smile spun me round and fired me into another dimension. I can’t think straight; I didn’t want to come to this wedding in the first place. You can’t fall in love at someone else’s wedding; particularly this wedding. I tried to drag myself back to the here and now and free myself from the spell I was under; I took a few deep breaths and started at the beginning. Difficult though it was, I tried to rationalise my thoughts.

I’m not a misogamist quite the contrary really; I always told myself, that like the book says, marriage is an honourable estate, well certainly a cut above an industrial estate or the council estate down the road. Mind you I couldn’t help thinking about the old joke that concerned a young lad who was besotted by a very attractive older women. His wise old dad took him aside and said you know son, just because you like Mars Bars there’s no need to buy the shop!  It was a bit like that with Charley Slaughter. This was his third marriage; I’d been there each time and today’s event had all the hall-marks of the other two. Mind you I have to say the bride is stunning and I’ve no doubt Charley will be very happy for a few years. Some people are like that and Charlie seemed to be of one of them; he’d told me earlier in the day that this time it was different; he was in love. Of course you are I’d said, who wouldn’t be with “Chelsea”. I’d had a brief encounter with the lady three weeks ago at a wine bar close to our office. I was there with a couple of colleagues on a Friday night after work; Chelsea walked in and stood by the bar and I’d gone over to talk to her; turned out she was meeting Charley and he’d rung to say he’d be a bit delayed. So, I bought her a drink and chatted until he arrived; least I could do really, but it did give me a chance to weigh up the pros and cons! I’d say Chelsea was about 30 years old, 5. 10” in high heels with a wonderfully pneumatic figure; legs that would break your neck and a smile to die for. Where did Charley find’em?  It was a shot in the dark really; are you in the same business as Charley I’d asked; apparently she worked in the back office of a company Charley traded with; they’d met when Charley discovered a settlement mistake that had cost him thousands. Charlie had sent a letter of complaint to Chelsea’s manager but had no reply and being an impatient bugger He’d stormed into her office threatening fire and brimstone; after an angry, expletive loaded argument Chelsea had managed to rectify the error.  By way of an apology and thank you for saving him loads of money, Charley had taken Chelsea out for a drink; Charley was married at the time; and the rest as they say is history. For as long as I’ve known Charles Babington Slaughter he’s been a trader on the London Metal Exchange; always rich but he would have been very rich if his two ex wives hadn’t taken him to the cleaners. I think he regarded it as depreciation, like the money he lost trading in the Bentley. He once told me that his second divorce cost him a house and £950,000, “only like a hundred tons of tin or 250 tons of copper in a good market he’d said”. I wish I had his hutspa!

All these thoughts are racing through my head as I sit here, at the lavish reception organised by Chelsea’s parents at this magnificent country hotel. I hadn’t realised, but its Chelsea’s first time and she and her parents persuaded the local vicar to marry the couple in church. Think I would have felt guilty, but no such qualms for our philandering bridegroom. Charley’s been a friend for a long time so when I got the invitation it was difficult to refuse. He’d told me he needed a few close friends to swell the guest list on his side; it was only when we arrived at the hotel that he sprung on me the fact that he had no input to the table plan and he didn’t know where I’d be sitting. So here I am on a table of deadbeats; well second cousins twice removed and that kind of thing. They all introduced themselves of course but there was such a flurry as we sat down it was difficult to remember names. I did recognise the face of one guy who sat opposite; he told me he was an actor; turned out he appeared in a couple of tooth paste adverts on the T.V and is still awaiting his big chance; I knew they were a bunch of deadbeats! Then it happened. I turned to look at the girl sitting on my right; hadn’t noticed her before, blue dress red hair with one of those feathery things stuck on top where a hat should be. She shot me a smile and I was gone, surreal; I must look a right burke with my mouth hanging open. It’s as if a light exploded in my head; and that verse from the Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner smashed its way into my thoughts “He holds him with his glittering Eye. The wedding Guest stood still. And listens like a three years child. The mariner hath his will”. I’ve eventually come round and she’s still smiling; we’ve chatted all afternoon; made each other laugh; It feels as if I’ve known her all my life; we’ve missed all the speeches. I just hope I can settle for monogamy!  

 

 

 1073 words

N.B. hutspa or chutzpah from the Yiddish; definition is audacity; more properly outrageous or cheeky audacity.

 

 

 

 


© Copyright 2017 Peter Piper. All rights reserved.

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