Evita - The Bride
Today’s our wedding day.
I was struggling with my veil. It’s far too long. And the front’s making my nose itch. Thank heavens for my bridesmaids helping me manoeuvre the fabric, plus a sneaky antihistamine courtesy of Danielle, my maid of honour.
Papa held my hand and squeezed it three times when we stood at the entrance of the church. He kept doing that repeatedly as we walked towards the altar, where the priest, the rest of the bridal party and my groom, Song assembled.
Darn it, the old man was trying to make his daughter cry with their secret handshake. Papa might be a man of few words, being hard of hearing. But he never fails to express how much he loves his wife and children. Squeezing the other person’s hand three times was our way of wordlessly saying “I love you.”
But I won’t let happy tears ruin my mascara.
Song, my love looks like an anxious penguin in a tuxedo. A cute one nonetheless.
I winked at him as Papa placed my hand in his. Not sure if he saw it through the translucent veil. I would wag my tongue at him, but I doubt the priest and Grandma Clara would appreciate the bride making a fool of herself.
The ceremony proceeded unremarkably. I’m grateful for my family and friends who attended.
We had a minor hiccup when my bridesmaids nearly ripped off my veil and tiara while adjusting it for photos. Danielle screamed in horror. I couldn’t help but burst out laughing while Song smiled bemusedly. It was hilarious, so to heck with the prim and proper bride! I hope my wedding photographer caught that candid moment on camera.
The happy tears that I was holding back finally fell when Song recited his vows. His voice was a rich baritone, speaking slowly with conviction.
And yes, the kiss was magical. We can practise more on our honeymoon.
We exited to the lovely afternoon sun. The church courtyard was blooming in floral pastel colours. Smiling faces were all around, as loved ones exchanged greetings and posed to take selfies. I slipped my hand into my husband’s and gave three gentle squeezes.
I hope we have a blessed marriage ahead.
I started crying as Evita and her father walked down the aisle.
She looked radiant in an off-white wedding gown, boat neckline, fitted long sleeves, floor length. And the veil was an ode to vintage artistry, decorated with lace trimmings and set in place with a diamond tiara. Evita embodied the elegance of her namesake well.
It was really nice of Evita to invite us to her special day. As fresh graduates working in a small accounting firm, we and a few other colleagues became more like family. We bonded over lunchtime chats, the hours of overtime solidarity, post-work badminton sessions (if we had any energy left for that!) as well as dinner and drinks after all our hard work crunching numbers.
Evita was also one of the few ladies within our friendship circle who detected the early blooming signs of an office romance between myself and another friend, Will. Naturally the seasoned fiancée took me, the relationship ingénue under her wing and became one of the closest advisors on the girlfriend/boyfriend story arc of my life.
My wedding invitation had a plus one to it.
Then Will and my relationship story arc ended. Painfully.
My tears of joy for Evita and Song were tinged with sorrow for my own loss. On the one hand, I wanted to celebrate their new season with my friends and much eating, dancing, partying. I was genuinely happy for them.
However on the other hand, as I sat in the pews, I noticed Sue, a senior work colleague and her husband Max grabbing each other’s hands during the declaration of the marriage vows. I became more aware of how empty my hand was, how the spaces between my fingers were where his fingers used to intertwine perfectly.
I wanted someone to hold my hand again.
Alright, I admit: I miss Will a lot. It hurts.
My eyes were blurring and my nose was starting to run. I rubbed my eyes and sniffled as discreetly as I could manage. I hate it when tears cloud up my glasses.
“Are you okay?” Ramesh whispered in my ear. We were uni mates before being work colleagues. I couldn’t fool him.
I inhaled and exhaled slowly. “I was supposed to have a plus one.” was all I could manage before a fresh wave of grief crushed my chest. It took all my energy to stop myself from wailing out loud during the service.
Ramesh silently passed me a packet of tissues. Someone sitting in the pew behind me patted my back.
The glare outside made me squint as we made our way to the courtyard after the ceremony. As my eyes adjusted to the light, I saw the multicoloured array of flowers juxtaposed with people gathering for photos, coming together to form a picture of life, laughter...and hope.
I hope I’ll heal and love again.
Min was quietly sniffling next to me during the service.
It wasn’t obvious to the crowd, only to those sitting close by. But her tears haven’t stopped since the bridal procession. She was trying to inconspicuously dab at her watering eyes and snotty nose.
I’ve been jokingly called the “Shit Magnet” in the office for the numerous misadventures I’ve found myself in, anything from malfunctioning copy machines to difficult clients. But I think when it comes to love, Min has been dealt a hard hand.
Look, I’m not going to trash anyone’s reputation, whether Will’s or Min’s. They’re both my friends. Why and how the relationship ended is between them.
Though admittedly it’s hard to see a friend hurting, especially when everyone else is happy.
“Are you okay?” I leaned in and asked.
“I was supposed to have a plus one.” She mumbled before burying her face in her hands. Her shoulders were quivering.
Someone tapped my shoulder. I turned around and Jordin, our mutual friend from uni thrusted a packet of Kleenex to me. We shared a look, me shrugging my shoulders and Jordin giving a resigned sigh.
I gave the Kleenex packet to Min, while Jordin patted her reassuringly.
I inwardly groaned as the ceremony ended. Scatterbrain me has forgotten the wedding gift money. Need to find an ATM; I’m sure there are plenty in the city.
I hope the reception has banger tunes.
Watching Evita and Song say “I do.” reminds me so much of my wedding day.
I remember my wedding with Max like it was yesterday.
We were young. Had barely any money. So my wedding dress came from the secondhand op shop. Max and my mother bought it for me.
It looked like it had come from Arwen’s wardrobe in “Lord of the Rings”. Soft flowy material, cape sleeves, fitted at the waist with a gold silk sash. I must’ve stunned Max into awed silence as I walked down the aisle. The poor dear forgot his vows and the priest had to cue him a few times.
And we’ve been married ten years since. It was a decade of challenge and hard work but oh what a decade of adventure and fun too!
I became slightly misty-eyed. Max tenderly clasped my hand.
Pardon me for laughing a bit too loudly at the part where Evita’s veil was nearly pulled off. That will definitely be an unforgettable memory for the newlyweds.
I hope Evita and Song grow deeper in love for each other.
Damn, Song! Lookin’ so handsome in a tux, what a mighty fine man you are!
I was doing jazz hands and double finger gun-pointing at the groom as people were filing in to take their seats before the ceremony started. He merely rolled his eyes and gave me a shy thumbs up.
No, seriously. Song’s one lucky bloke to have a hottie with a heart of gold as Evita for his wife.
I pulled out my phone and checked my hair with the front-facing camera. And I look fly in a suit and tie too, if I do say so myself.
A woman coyly waving at me in the background caught my eye. Putting down my phone, I craned my neck around and met her gaze. She blew a kiss before turning to chat with the other guests. Bright eyes, bold lips, plunging neckline, high slit revealing toned sculpted legs...
Ah, Reyna is here. She looks nice in purple. A true queen of chic.
I couldn’t help stealing glances at her throughout the wedding. And every time I looked, she caught my staring and winked. Or pulled a silly duck face. Or licked her lips just a tiny bit.
We knew each other very well, from high school through uni, like Song and Evita. But we’ve since moved on. I’m with Farah now, the sweet secretary to our boss at the firm.
The sparks still fly between me and Reyna though, triggered by the heat of an old flame.
She’s sitting a few pews behind me. Maybe we can quickly catch up afterwards? Just the two of us. Nobody needs to know.
My conscience disapproves. Can you do that to Farah?
Farah who laughed at my jokes, but now gets more annoyed with them. Farah who would ask me about my day and chat after, but now merely gives me monosyllabic answers when I try to talk to her. Farah who used to enjoy hanging out with me, but now doesn’t even have time to grab a meal together after work.
I was supposed to have a plus one. But she said she was tired. Of work or me, your guess is as good as mine.
The fire burns within me, igniting and spreading to my very core.
Maybe just one more rendezvous? Just the two of us.
I hope nobody knows.
Classic Jordin, you nearly missed the bridal procession, thanks to your dawdling ass. It’s lucky you got a seat.
I mentally chastised myself as I tiptoed into the church behind the bridal party.
Honestly, being fashionably late is not helping my stress levels at all. But old habits die hard.
We’re all decked out to the nines. I’m pleased with my little black dress and platform wedges. Even Min has replaced her casual jeans and T-shirt look with a cheongsam and heels. Excellent vintage quality.
Dear Min. She’d told me about the breakup early on. It couldn’t have been easy coming to the wedding after what she’d been through. I’m so proud of her for putting on a brave face for Evita’s sake.
She was shivering despite the warm weather. I could hear her sniffling as if she had a cold.
I heard Ramesh whisper a well-meaning “Are you okay?”
Of course she’s not okay, silly boy!
I touched Ramesh’s shoulder in front of me. He turned around as I passed a tissue packet from my purse to him. He responded to my intense “DON’T SAY ANYMORE TO HER” look with a shrug. I sighed. There, there babe...I thought to myself while gently patting Min’s back.
Got quite a few decent snaps of the wedding for the ’gram. Even the near-accidental removal of Evita’s veil.
I’m looking forward to the reception. It’s held in a highly aesthetic venue with exquisitely plated food. The delicious menu, I’m told, doesn’t disappoint either.
Of course, ratings aside, I can’t wait for a good meal and wine with my friends. Weddings are a fun opportunity to reunite and reminisce, after all. And to get a group picture to remember all the fun times together.
That’s why I’m so active on social media. Life’s too short, too unpredictable. At least memories are preserved in photos and video clips.
I hope the music’s not too loud though.
I don’t usually explore the city on a Saturday afternoon. But here I was, walking the streets with coffee in hand.
I was strolling past a church just as the bride, groom and all their guests were exiting the chapel. They were all dressed up, chattering amongst themselves and excitedly taking pictures. I vaguely heard Miguel’s voice from the crowd.
Then I saw Min.
I hid behind the stone wall and peered in through the front gate.
She was the most beautiful of them all. Her cheongsam subtly hugged the soft curves of her slim figure. Dark hair in a half up ponytail, adorned with a single red flower. She was standing in a circle of our work friends, listening in on the conversations, occasionally smiling at some funny inside joke.
I was meant to attend the wedding as Min’s plus one. But plans changed.
I was the one who called things off. Told her that we wanted different things in life and hence I didn’t see a point in continuing the relationship if being together wasn’t feasible for the long term. She understood and we’re still on amicable terms.
It didn’t make breaking up any easier though.
Fine, I confess: I’m still in love with Min. And it hurts.
My eyes were stinging. It must be hay fever season.
I turned and jogged away quickly, not trusting myself to keep my distance from her if I stayed any longer.
I hope we heal and learn to love again.
Song - The Groom
Today’s our wedding day.
My beloved Evita’s beautiful. Though she’ll never admit it, she looks stunning in white.
I look like an awkward puffin bird. But judging from her winking at me from under her veil, she’s totally digging my outfit.
I honestly don’t know what to say. Well, not that I can say much, I thought ruefully to myself while adjusting my hearing aid.
I’m a man of few words. But today’s the day I won’t be silent.
I have been secretly practising my vows with the help of a speech therapist. It was an ambitious task. But I wanted it to be a surprise gift and a wonderful memory for my bride.
Moving my lips and tongue to enunciate still feels foreign to me. Plus hearing me croak the words out has me convinced that maybe I’m more Donald Duck than song bird.
I’ll never forget the look in Evita’s eyes when I spoke though. Or when she laughed so hard when her veil was nearly yanked off. I’ll bring those memories with me throughout my life to the grave.
The kiss? It was good. I look forward to having more on our honeymoon.
The balmy days of early summer greeted us as we gathered outside in the courtyard. I looked around at the smiling people around us happily taking photos. My wife squeezed my hand three times. I felt like the luckiest man in the world.
I hope we can share blessings and burdens together in marriage, for many more anniversaries to come.