Looking For Ducks

Submitted into Contest #28 in response to: Write about your most unique experience at, or in, a wedding.... view prompt


Creative Nonfiction

           How many little girls spend years and years dreaming of the perfect wedding? How many will someday make that dream come true? How many will nearly pull it off only to be escorted off the premises by security? At least one that I have been privileged to observe.

           Once upon a time, not very long ago, in the mystical land of Central Florida, I worked in a most magical realm. My boss was a very famous rodent. Yes, that one. Forgive me if I decline to name names. They have a legal department.


           My job entailed working behind the scenes, helping to create the magic that happened onstage, particularly on the stage that was situated in front of the castle. I was – prepare to be highly impressed here – a technician. You know those mysterious people at theaters that wear black so they can blend into the shadows? No? That’s okay. You’re not actually supposed to notice them. They’re basically ninjas.

           So, I worked at a castle, which was a pretty cool thing to be able to say, and even though my job was a behind-the-scenes job, I could see things happening beyond the boundaries of the backstage world. And, oh my, did things happen!

           I lost track long ago of all of the people I saw propose there, all of the people I saw kiss there, all of the people I saw celebrating their honeymoon there. Even all the people I saw get into fights there. All of those things came to be expected. And some people even got married there…for a sizeable additional fee, of course. You can’t just have a wedding at The Place Where Dreams Come True. At least, you’re not supposed to.

           Note for those who might be wondering: the location in Florida to which I am clumsily alluding is not The Happiest Place On Earth. The Happiest Place On Earth is the title belonging to the other location, the one in the enchanted land of Southern California. The one in Florida is The Place Where Dreams Come True. Now you know.

           Where was I? Right.

           I have invented the term Guerilla Wedding. Maybe I didn’t invent it. Maybe I heard someone else say it and forgot and then my subconscious one day fed the term up to my conscious mind and I suddenly decided I was incredibly clever. Not important. A Guerilla Wedding is where people go somewhere they’re really not supposed to have a wedding, usually for legal or monetary or safety reasons, and then they get married real fast and get out before they get caught.

           I had heard whispers of them happening within the boundaries of the realm where I worked, but I had never seen one happen in person, until one lovely afternoon at the castle.

           There I was, minding my own business, being a good little technician, waiting to do my next task while standing on the bridge over the moat. Castles have moats, you know, even the ones in Florida. We technicians often spent our free moments looking at the moat. It was a source of much amusement for us. Sometimes there were ducks there.

           Who doesn’t like watching ducks?

           So, one day, there I was on the bridge, looking for ducks, when my eyes strayed up past the water to the pathway on the other side where the visitors to our magical realm could be seen walking one way or the other, or stopping to take pictures. There is a pretty little wishing well on that side of the castle, a charming spot for picture-taking. I usually try not to think about how many people’s vacation pictures I’m in the background of. Once in a while, though, I just stand and watch and hope someone zooms in and sees me smiling in the background.

           On that particular day, at that particular moment I happened to look at the wishing well, I noticed that a sizeable group of people was gathered there. That caught my attention enough for me to not turn away in search of ducks elsewhere. I looked closer and saw that the group seemed to be a rather well-dressed collection of people. Some of the women were wearing matching outfits. There was another woman in a white dress.

           “I think these people are having a wedding,” I said into my handy-dandy magical communication device, thusly alerting my fellow technicians to the scenario unfolding on the other side of the moat. Further scrutiny by the half a dozen of us now lined up on the bridge revealed the officiant and the groom and his groomsmen in addition to the more noticeable bride and her maids. There was even an adorable little flower girl. What we did not see were any official representatives of our realm. Which meant this was most definitely a very unofficial, very not allowed ceremony.

           Guerilla Wedding!

           The six of us stood there and watched, fascinated, deciding we were now members of the wedding party, witnesses to the joy of our new friends-from-afar, who we promptly named Bob and Carol, in their moment of union…while simultaneously trying to guess how long it would take for our partners in security to realize what was happening. We were also wondering, increasingly loudly, why these people weren’t hurrying the bleep up. Didn’t they know that they would be descended upon at any moment? They were taking turns reading things off of pieces of paper, for crying out loud! Wed faster, Bob and Carol! Wed faster!

           Then the inevitable happened. Security arrived, interrupting what was surely a beautiful ceremony. We couldn’t hear it from the bridge, of course, so we just assumed that it was the most thoughtful and heartfelt joining of two people’s lives that ever there was. And then we watched as the entire wedding party was led away from us forever.

           We gave a sort of collective sigh and turned away from the wishing well, away from the moat, away from the ceremony we had drifted into which had been so abruptly taken away from us, and back to what we were supposed to be doing, making magic for the people who were not currently being escorted off of the premises.

           Sometimes I wonder what happened to our dear friends Bob and Carol, if they finished their wedding elsewhere, when and where and how they did so, if they started over from the beginning or just picked up from whatever line of whatever touchingly profound poem they had been cut off in the middle of. I wonder if our presence brought them any good luck at all, hopefully enough to counteract whatever bad luck is brought about by having your wedding interrupted by people who kindly but sternly kick you out.

           So if you ever decide to have yourself a Guerilla Wedding (not that I condone such a thing, just to cover my legal bases here) please remember that no matter where you have it, the key to a successful ceremony is sneakiness. Get in, get married, get out. And afterward, whether you get caught or get away with it, check the backgrounds of your pictures for your friendly neighborhood behind-the-scenes people who may have decided to insert themselves in your memories as unexpected members of your wedding party, who may or may not be offering advice from the sidelines, and who may or may not have told their manager what you were doing, thusly alerting security to your activities.

           We’re rooting for you, though. Because what you are doing is quite possibly just a little more interesting than looking for ducks.

February 12, 2020 14:38

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