“So, what do you have planned for this weekend Suze?”, My co-worker Janet asked me as I was packing up computer to get a little writing done over the weekend.
“I am working a wedding this weekend and enjoying whatever free meal I get as the photographer.”
“That sounds nice. It must be so satisfying to capture the memories of people’s big days”.
Confession: I only became a wedding photographer because I knew it would be an easy way to utilize my double major in comm/journalism and photography and earn money and a good friend of mine is a wedding planner and recommends me to people, who in turn recommend me to others.
“I enjoy the free meal and access to an open bar. What are you doing this weekend Janet?”,
“My fiancé and I are looking at wedding cakes this weekend, and I am getting save the date mailed out. Oh! This is for you. I figured I would hand it to you”.
“Oh. Thank you!”. Weddings, I couldn’t escape them. I could escape them, but that would mean possibly leaving my job that pays the bills and provides me insurance, writing for my local publication, that is tied to our local public broadcasting station. “Have a great weekend, Janet”.
I walked home, as my job was an easy walk from my apartment. I changed out of my work clothing, and opted for a black v-neck t-shirt, and dark blue jeans. I pulled my mess of dark hair up in a haphazard bun atop my head, grabbed my wallet, a book, and the save the date Janet had handed me and slipped my feet into black flats. I headed for the bar up the street from me where my 2 friends Ren(Short for Lauren) and Austin worked. We often worked weddings together as they worked the bar or helped cater. I took a seat at the bar.
“Hey Suze!”, Austin said.
“Hey, how ya doin’, amigo?”
“Good. How about you? You working that wedding tomorrow on the lake?”.
“Cool. So what are you drinking today?”
“Can I start with prosecco please and an order of ahi tuna wontons”.
“That sounds like a good combo”.
“I never try the wontons. It’s about time I try them”.
“So what are you reading there?” I handed him my book.
“Dorothy Parker. Starting the weekend out on a happy note, I see”, Austin smiled jokingly. Have you ever looked at someone, that you see often, and noticed things about them? I had never noticed that when it gets nice out, Austin’s pale face becomes freckled, and having red hair and blue eyes, he looks like the adult version of Opi Taylor. That’s cute in a guy next door kind of way, though he was part of a punk band, so not really the guy next door.
Ren joined Austin behind the bar. “Hey, Suze. How's it going?
“Good. Just unwinding.”
“Are those a pair of earrings I made that you have on?”.
“I love how you are a walking advertisement for my stuff”. Austin put my wontons in front of me.
“Hey. It is Suze, my wedding photographer”, I heard a voice say. I looked and at my side was Giana the bride whose wedding I would be photographing.
“Hi Giana. Ready for the big day?”.
“I am. My maid of honor Catalina and I are doing drinks before the rehearsal dinner.”
“Hi. I am Catalina.” She shook my head with a firm grip. Be still my beating heart. She had an accent. Argentinian perhaps, a flawless café con leche complexion, deep brown eyes, and short curly black hair. I shook her hand equally as firmly.
“Drinks are on me”, I said to Ren.
“You don’t have to do that”, Giana said.
“It’s your last night as a single woman. You aren’t buying your own drink”.
“You are a photographer?”, Catalina asked.
“Yes. I do wedding photography and on occasion have my non wedding photos displayed locally”.
“Oh cool. I am an artist too”.
“Really. What medium?”.
“I do installations, I also create art with found objects, but like to do collage art and draw with charcoals.”
“Do you display your work anywhere?”
“I do in a queer gallery in the city”.
“Is that where you live?”.
“It is. Here is my card and the gallery’s information.
“I will have to see it next time I visit”.
“That reminds me, there is a show tonight at Monty’s. Trevor’s band is playing”.
“I will check it out. I have nothing else planned for the night”.
“What kind of music is it?” Catalina asked.
“Punk”, Ren replied.
“We should go after the rehearsal dinner”, Catalina suggested to Giana.
“Hey, Suze, did you want another drink?”, Austin asked.
“Yes please. Can I have a cab, and a medium steak with a side of brussel sprouts?”
“You got it”.
“Well, we will see you tomorrow, if not later at the show”, Giana said.
“See you!”, I exclaimed. I opened the save the date that I had been given.
“I think someone was vibing on you”, Ren said.
“Catalina that’s who.”
“Oh. I just thought she was being friendly”.
“You always think flirty women are just being friendly”, Austin interjected. “Truthfully though, you can’t much tell when men are interested either”.
“I know. I am really bad at being bisexual”.
Confession: I am not into weddings. When you work weddings, and spend so much time at them, they just seem tedious. Another confession: In my late 30’s I’ve never been married, and don’t think about ever getting married.
“What did you get invited to?”, Austin asked.
“A wedding,” I sighed. “Me and a plus one, which I don’t currently have”.
“Austin makes a good wedding date”, Ren said. “I took him to a wedding that Trevor wasn’t able to attend with me. He cleans up ice”.
“I do. He said. I’ve been told I look good in a suite”.
“I might call on you and tour suite”.
“When is the wedding?”
“Saturday September 10th”.
“I’ll put it on my calendar just in case”.
When I was done eating, I headed to Monty’s. My other friend was working at Monty’s. Monty’s was divey, but, not so divey that they did not have wine. I ordered a glass of cabernet from my friend Jules.
“Anything new and exciting she asked?”
“A really attractive woman gave me her business card today”.
“Oh. Do tell”.
“She is from New York City, and an artist.”
“Sounds like your type”.
“Anything new with you?”, I asked.
“Not much”. We sat talking for a while. Regulars of the bar came and went.
“Hey”, a familiar voice said. It was Austin, out of his black pants and black button up he wore for work and sporting a pair of blue jeans and black Johnny Thunders t-shirt.
“Hey. I didn’t know you were getting out early.”
“I worked an early shift tonight, so I get to enjoy a Friday.
“Nice. Do you want a shot?”
“I will do take one. Thank you!”.
“What are we doing?”
“Sounds good”. We did our shots and went to the back room of Monty’s since the band was starting”.
“Hi, Suze”. It was Catalina and Giana.
“Hey. How was the rehearsal dinner?”
“We rehearsed and dined”, Catalina answered.
“I wanted to come back out to see you”.
“Well. Here I am”.
“Can I buy you a drink?”
“Sure. I followed her to the bar.
“Do you want a drink or a shot?”.
“You know what, I will do a shot please”.
“Whiskey?”, Catalina asked.
“Yes. Thank you”.
She handed me the nice amber colored liquid and it burned down my throat like her eyes burned into mine.
“Thank you for the drink”.
“You are welcome”. We walked back to the back room. I found my spot next to Austin. Catalina stood between Giana and I. She was standing so close to me.
“There you are”, Austin said.
“I went to get a drink with Catalina”.
“Do you want to go outside with me to smoke?”, Catalina shouted to me over the music. I shook my head yes and followed her outside. She lit an expertly rolled spliff, took it into her lungs, and passed it to me.
“So do you like living here?”
“It’s not bad for a mid-sized city.
“I’m thinking of moving. Giana seems to like it here and she is my best friend.”
“It doesn’t have as much to offer as the city but you won’t be bored”.
“I like it here”.
“Suze, tell me, do you have anyone?”
“Oh good”. She took that opportunity to lean in and kiss me. I wasn’t expecting it. I didn’t mind it and returned her kiss. I hadn’t kissed anyone in a while.
“There you both are”, Giana stated. Austin was at her side.
“Did we interrupt something? Austin asked.
“No”, Catalina replied.
“I am going to head out”, Austin said. “Do you want to walk home together?”, He asked me.
“Yeah”. I handed Catalina my card.
“I’ll see you tomorrow”.
“I look forward to it”.
“I’m hungry again”, I said as we walked home. There was a hot dog and burger vendor on the corner across from the bar.
“Hot dogs?”, He suggested.
“Two hot dogs”, He ordered and paid.
“You didn’t have to do that”.
“I did really well in tips tonight”.
“Well thanks. I appreciate it”. We walked past the homes that bordered on mansions. I lived across from the local art museum, and Austin lived further up from me in an old looking building.
“It looks like you and Catalina were hitting it off.”
“She is cool. Very attractive. She lives in New York City and is part of the wedding party so she’s just a fun person to hang with while she is here.”
“Have you had a partner since I’ve known you?”
“When we first met, I think.”
“Oh ok”. We were at my doorstep.
“Thanks for the hot dog and the company”.
“I will see you tomorrow”.
“Sleep well he said”.
“You too. Sweet dreams”. When I got in, I set to gathering my equipment, as well as laying out my black skinny dress pants, and black button up dress shirt. I put a protein bar and a banana out so I could eat and run in the morning. I also filled my water bottle and put it in the fridge as well as premixed myself an iced coffee. I did a face mask before getting in the shower and rinsed it off as I showered. I got in bed and awoke around 9am. I got a workout in on my treadmill and showered again. I blew my hair dry and straight and put 0n a hint of liquid cheek color, and lip gloss and put on some mascara. I ate my banana and protein bar, drank my coffee, and headed to the suburbs. I was getting there in time to catch Giana getting ready, and get some candids. Giana was getting married at her parent’s house on the lake. The house was a two story converted summer cottage with a view of the lake. The back yard was already being set up with tables for the reception and the front lake side was set up for the service.
I was let in by Giana’s father a genial man in his 60’s. “The gals are upstairs, oh and this is for you. The rest of your payment”.
“Thank you!”. I looked in the envelope. Cash. I wrote a receipt from the book I keep with me, and I walked up the stairs and Giana was looking in the mirror. Her mother was fixing her dress. Catalina was standing looking in a mirror straightening her tie.
“Good Morning!” The blushing bride exclaimed.
“Good morning! You look absolutely gorgeous”, I exclaimed. “You’re looking dapper too there maid of honor”.
“Thank you”, They chorused. I took some photos. At that moment a tall thin woman wearing a suite walked in. I watched Catalina’s face change from a smile to a look of confusion and shock and embarrassment.
“Jenny. I thought you weren’t coming.”
“I got up at 3:00 this morning to drive here. I got ahold of Giana but told her to keep it a secret because I wanted to surprise you. I just wanted to give you a hug before the wedding”. I controlled my facial expression because it would have been a look of shock. Jenny left the room.
“I am so sorry”, Giana said. She got ahold of me last night to ask if there was still room for her. I didn’t know what to say, so I said yes, and I meant to give you a heads up, but things got so busy”.
“Hey, Mom. Can you please grab me a glass of water”, Gina asked.
“Suze. I am so sorry. I know how this looks.”
“No need to explain”.
“No. Please let me. We have been on again off again, and most recently off again. She called me last night after we got home from the show wanting to give things another shot. I told her we could talk about it but I didn’t promise her anything. I told her not to show up for the wedding, but here she is”.
“It’s ok. No need to explain. I am going to go downstairs and get some shots of the tables and the set up”. I walked outside to find Ren and Austin.
“Hey guys”, I said dejectedly.
“Why so glum”, Ren asked.
“Well Catalina kissed me last night, and today her on and off again girlfriend decided to surprise her at the wedding”.
“No!” Austin exclaimed.
“Well you know what, when this shin dig is over, we can all go back to my house, listen to some records, and you can drown your sorrows in wine or edibles or both”.
“I am down with that”. When the reception rolled around, I stuffed my face with artichoke hearts French, and chicken French.
Confession: I take pictures of all the traditional wedding things like the cutting of the cake and the first dances, but don’t feel at all moved by it. Besides the free food. I really just enjoy the fact that I can make decent money doing a hobby I enjoy. I may enjoy the meeting with clients and working with them to provide them what they want and I enjoy the solitary picturing editing that comes after the wedding.
When the wedding was done, I thanked everyone for allowing me to chronicle the lovely day, and I got out of there. I got home, took a long bath, and slipped into holey jeans and a black tank top, and after receiving a text from Ren, stopped at the local grocery store that made killer sushi, and grabbed a bunch of rolls for us. I knocked on her door. Austin was already there.
“I come bearing sushi.” I put it down on the table a took a seat next to Austin on the couch.
“How are you doing?”, Austin asked.
“Good. I just feel silly. I meet an attractive woman, and then feel a spark of something, to have it be nothing. It is disheartening.”
“I get it. “
“There will be other attractive women”, Ren said.
“And men. You are cool, kind, cute”.
“Awe thanks”. Ren poured me a glass of wine and we broke into the sushi.
“This is so good”, Austin said.
“It’s good, but not as good as Shema, near my old apartment”.
“Shema is good. I haven’t had sushi there in a while. Do you want to go grab some with me tomorrow if you aren’t sushied out”.
“I am never sushied out. I can eat sushi every day.”
“Good. We can go at 5 if that works for you. I will walk to you and we can walk to sushi.”
“Do we want to put on a documentary? Ren asked.
“Let’s put on the Billy Holiday one”, I suggested.
“That’s supposed to be a good one”.
“I am getting tired”, I yawned.
“Here. Recline. Get comfortable.” He moved so my bare feet were in his lap. He started to message my foot.
“That is so relaxing”.
“Catalina may be attractive, but I bet she can’t give a food message like this”.
“You are both attractive and well versed in the art of foot message”.
“I’m well versed in other things too”, he said mischievously.
“Are you now?”.
“He is. I am friends with most of his ex’s”.
“Are you still available to be my wedding date in September?”.
“I am. I’m also available for other date situations, you know”.
“Well I am really glad to hear that”, I said blissfully. “This day may have started off pretty badly, but I must say, I am glad it is ending better than it began”.