I suppose in order to start this story, we must go back to the very beginning, where some fool crossed the ocean to settle in the royal colony of Virginia. The other half came from Germany and settled in Wisconsin, explaining why everyone but my father is a Packers fan. The bloodline culminated in my two cousins, both in their twenties, my brother, and me. Now, the eldest cousin, we’ll refer to her as the bride, had a child with her boyfriend and at some point decided to get married. The act itself is not strange, seeing as many people have children out of wedlock. The wedding planning and wedding itself was what struck me as odd. I have no idea how the proposal was done, but seeing as I never know anything that side of the family is doing, I’m sure that’s my fault. I heard snippets of the plans, mostly about alcohol consumption and the amount of money being spent on this wedding. My grandmother, at the time sick with cancer, refused to attend, and my aunt, mother of the bride, was not able to convince her to come. I knew nothing about the groom, except he was another Lions fan, a fact that I’m sure my father was happy about. I also knew he liked to play video games, as shown when my mother brought me to their house so she could help plan flower arrangements. I sat on the couch next to the groom while he played some football game on the television and his son stumbled around, staring at me. I suppose children can smell fear, as they always seem to know exactly when I start to get nervous and they can exploit it.
The day of the wedding eventually came, some time in the fall. It was an outdoor wedding on a golf course. I staggered out of the car in a burgundy dress that showed off more curves than I was comfortable with. Unfortunately, weddings are not occasions for baggy hoodies, and I was forced to wear one of the nicest things in my closet. My grandmother may not have been there, but my great-grandmother was driven from Wisconsin to attend. We sat by her, and I contemplated stealing a golf cart and making my escape. One of my great-aunts sat down behind us and talked to me about golf, despite it only being my first year on the team. I struggled to answer her questions without giving away how little I knew. It was around this time that the main problem with an outdoor fall wedding struck. I think it’s important to explain, dear reader, that I am deathly afraid of bees, wasps, hornets, and a variety of other flying and stinging insects. The few yellowjackets descending from the sky triggered my fight or flight instinct, and my mother had to hold me down to keep me from flipping over some chairs and making a mad dash for the door. The ceremony started, and the bride’s son spent most of it being held in place by my aunt and throwing toy trucks into the aisle as the other relatives cooed about how cute he was. I’m surprised the bride didn’t run away from the makeshift altar, as she shares my fear of wasps and they were buzzing around her. They were married by a friend, and looking back at that it’s funny since my family has always been very religious, and maybe a tiny bit conservative. I don't think I've ever heard of anyone being married by a friend before this wedding. The ceremony consisted of a ritual with an hourglass and colored sand, a speech from the friend, and the vows. I’m sure the vows were pretty, as the groom started crying during his. However, I was distracted by a yellowjacket that decided the area where my head had been would be a good place to hover, and I was forced to use my mother as a human shield lest I scream and ruin the wedding.
As soon as it was over, I made a break for the great indoors. My immediate family was seated in a corner, close enough to the bride and groom’s table to see everyone, but far away from everyone else. Everyone had a glass of champagne for the toast, and my underage yet curious self wanted to try. Unfortunately, they didn’t do a toast and the waiters started to remove the champagne, leading to my realization that drinking champagne with a mouth full of buttered bread produces the absolute worst taste in the world. Dinner was bland and forgettable. I certainly don’t remember what I ordered, but the bread before dinner was my fondest memory. After watching the bride and groom dance with their respective parents, I was able to witness several people dancing to Cotton Eye Joe and Low. There was a DJ at the reception, and requests could have been made, but I'm sure no one else would have appreciated Glenn Miller, least of all the DJ. Now, dear reader, I’m sure you’re either thinking that this is a normal wedding and I’m just crazy, or you’re wondering what’s so bad about all of this. I went into this with one crucial piece of knowledge. There would be no cake, no reward for me sitting through the joining of two people in holy matrimony. I don’t even remember what desserts they had, other than a little cup of what I hope was chocolate mousse. The icing on the nonexistent cake? I didn’t bring a book with me, and I wasn’t allowed to use my phone past a certain point. I spent the entire reception staring blankly off into space, watching adults make fools of themselves on the dance floor, and checking the time. I feel that I must mention, I love my family and I want them to be happy. It’s just that weddings and I do not mix, seeing as my opinion of romance these days is that it’s a joke. Not even a year after the wedding, we received the news.
The bride and groom were splitting up.