Adele stood in the empty guest room and was lost in a dreamy state. The eyes were cast on a distant land; her face a content fuelled by a major event. From the entrance, her mother watched the young woman.
“What are you thinking?”
Adele, startled, turned around and looked at her mother a little annoyed, but with that radiant smile that could light up the largest metropolitan area.
“Do you think he is going to show up?”
“Well, I don’t know. Is that your biggest concern on the day of your wedding?”
“Yes, it takes my mind off everything else.”
“You’ve been moaning and groaning about this all week long.”
“I know mother, but he was my best friend in college. He was always there with a shoulder to cry on and the right advice only if I asked for it. He just knew how to read my moods and you know I am not the easiest person to deal with at the best of tines.”
Joan laughed out loud.
“Come on, let’s have some breakfast unless you are too nervous to eat?”
“No, I am good.”
The ‘he’ in question was Darryl. It had been nine years since Adele and the one person she wanted at the wedding had seen each other.
The previous Monday, Adele had gone into City Hall to pick up the marriage license. That day, the regular clerk had called in sick and Mary replaced her. Mary and Adele had known each other in college through Darryl.
Fate had intervened rearing her righteous head like a pretty flower sneaking through a crack in a ghetto sidewalk.
“Don’t I know you from somewhere?” Said Mary.
“We went to college together. We used to sit at the same lunch table.”
“Right, now I remember you. How are you?”
The girls talked for a few minutes catching up on nine years gone by.
“You know the one person that I would love to reconnect with, rock and roll Darryl?”
They called him rock and roll Darryl cause he was always wearing a rock t-shirt.
“I have his phone number,” said Mary.
“You have his phone number? Oh, please tell me you will give it to me.” Adele was nearly begging.
“Of course, I will give it to you. Don’t be silly.”
Later that night, a very excited and nervous Adele called up Darryl.
“Hello, how are you? Oh, my God, I can’t believe this.” The girl spilled ten thousand words in about one minute racing so fast and being so confusing that she didn’t give the guy a chance to say a word. Finally, she stopped. “Do you know who this is?”
“I’m afraid, I don’t, sorry.”
“Your friend, Adele from college,” she closed her eyes hoping he would remember her.
“Hey, that would have been my first guess.”
“You haven’t change a bit.”
“Why temper with perfection?”
“Oh, my God, I can’t believe it. Hey, look, I am getting married this Saturday and would love it if you would be there. Please, Darryl, it would mean so much to me.”
Her voice trailed off and it sounded like she was going to cry.
“I might have to work.”
“Call in sick. I’ll play you a regular day’s wages.”
“I don’t have a suit. My car is acting up.”
“I’ll buy you a suit. Get the vehicle fixed and I’ll pay the mechanic’s bill.”
“Where do you live these days?”
“I am in Chicago. Where are you at?”
“About five hours away and I really don’t like driving in the big city.”
“It is really easy to get here. I will provide a better guide than Google Maps.
Do you have GPS or On Star?”
“I do. But, remember how my sense of direction was always horrible?”
“You know what? Don’t worry about GPS or On Star or Google Maps. Get a piece of paper and pencil and I will give you excellent instructions.”
He did and after fifteen minutes of going back and forth, reviews and confirmation about every street, they were satisfied with the map.
“I know that I am asking a lot, but please, Darryl, it would make my day.”
“I will try my best, but I can’t promise anything.”
“If you want to bring a guest that is fine. I don’t have time to mail you an invitation, but please it would mean so much to me if you showed up.”
“I will do my best.”
“Goodbye and it was great talking to you, Adele. If I don’t make it on Saturday, then please have a terrific wedding. The guy you are marrying is the luckiest man on the planet.”
“Thank you, Darryl, I hope to see you on Saturday.”
Darryl stayed up half of the night reminiscing about Adele. They had met at some pub crawl when his buddy had made a play for her and she had turned the guy down flatly. It had tickled his funny bone.
The next week, he had seen her on campus walking his way and he started laughing. Adele chased him down.
“Excuse me, are you laughing at me?”
“No, not al all,” he said gulping twice.
Adele was beautiful, also very intimidating.
“Then what is so damn funny?”
“You’re the girl at the pub crawl last Friday night and you burned my buddy when he asked you to dance. It was hilarious.”
“I remember him, he was a conceited jerk.”
“Yes, that’s the guy,” said Darryl.
“Well, I’m glad that I was able to tickle your funny bone.”
“You were and I haven’t laughed like that in almost three years.”
Adele looked at him.
“What is your name?”
“My name is Darryl.”
“I am Adele.” The pretty girl smiled his way and he felt his heart jump.
They bumped into each other a couple of times and said hello. Then, he found out that she was friends with one of his best female friends, Pamela.
They all went out for a beer one day after classes. He and Adele walked away together since they lived in the same area.
“Hey, come on over for supper some time. I love to cook and my roommate is rarely home, she’s always at her boyfriend’s place.”
Darryl went over and Adele was a fantastic cook. They become best friends. One night, while watching a movie, he was set to catch the last bus home and there was a terrible blizzard.
“You can’t go home in that.”
“Well, where will I sleep?”
“On the pull out couch.”
It was very uncomfortable with a steel bar that wretched his back. The next time he slept over because they had talked into the wee hours in the morning, he slept in her bed together,
But, nothing happened and nothing would ever happened. She wasn’t that type of girl and besides they were friends.
“Can we be just friends?” She had asked him.
“Sure, I guess so.”
“I have three sisters and always wanted a brother. You fit the criteria to be my brother.”
Darryl rushed to get a suit together and get his car repaired. By Thursday, he was sure that he was going.
On Saturday morning, he left very early just as the sun was peeking over the horizon. It was a good thing because the map that Adele had so painfully provided with the great detail didn’t contain detours and construction.
He got lost a number of times, nearly ran a couple of people over, got screamed at, it was a miracle nobody shot at him, but he finally made it almost six hours later to the church.
Darryl was a small-town boy and never ventured into the big city. Since, he didn’t know anyone at the wedding except Adele and she was quite busy getting married, his plan was to stay until about eight o’clock and then head home. It was a solid four to five hour drive if one didn’t get lost and hit all kinds of construction, not to mention angry cyclists and pedestrians.
He arrived at the church and got out of his car. He looked disheveled to say the least after being in the car for nearly six long hours. The air conditioning didn’t work so great and it was a hot July day.
In front of the church, on the grass was the clan, as they were called. It was Adele’s entire immediate family. Joan, her mother, saw the thirty something man standing there in cut off shorts and a faded rock and roll t-shirt and was not impressed.
“Who is that at my baby’s wedding?”
She looked over at the three sisters and they all looked down at their shoes. None of them wanted to be put to work because Joan had that look in her eye.
“Summer, go and see who that is and if he tries anything, then scream and your father will deal with it.”
“Why me? Why don’t you get Ophelia or Paddy?”
“Because I asked you, now go.”
Summer was a beautiful young woman dressed in a gorgeous gown. Aside from the bride, she was the best looking girl at the wedding.
She walked up and smiled.
“Hey, no offence, but you seem a little lost.”
Darryl shook his head.
“Oh, no, I am not lost. I have the right place.” He look relieved.
“There is a family wedding going on here today.” Summer didn’t like his cockiness.
“I know, Adele is getting married. Do you know Adele?”
“She’s my sister.”
“Yeah, right there were four of you.”
“Who are you?” Summer looked at him curiously.
“Oh, I am Darryl.”
“Darryl? There’s no Darryl on the guest list.”
And then it dawned on the young girl.
“Oh, my God, oh my God, oh my God, you made it. I can’t believe it.” The young girl looked like she was going to faint on the spot. “She’s been moaning and groaning and pissing all week long whether or not you were going to show up.”
Darryl laughed and shrugged his shoulders.
“Is your car door locked?”
“I think so.” He reached in his pocket and pressed the pad key.
“You come with me,” said the beautiful young girl and took him by the hand to where the clan was standing.
“Hey, mom, guess who this is?” Summer was strutting her stuff like she knew this big secret.
Joan was still not impressed.
“I don’t know.”
“There is no Darryl on the guest list.” The mother was completely puzzled. And, then it dawned on her. “Oh, my God, oh my God, oh my God, you are here. You made my baby so happy.” First she grasped his hands almost breaking the fingers and then hugged him hard enough to snap his spine.
He was introduced to the clan that included Joan’s husband, Doug, her parents, Doug’s sister and brother-in-law from Ireland, the cousins, the three sisters and a couple more aunts and uncles. The men all shook his hand and the women hugged him. It was like he was part of the family.
“Now,” said a beaming Joan, “since you don’t know anyone here, today we are your family. We have been commissioned and commanded by Miss Adele to take care of you.”
Everyone nodded their head vehemently.
“So today, you are part of our family. You will sit with us in church and at the reception hall, and you will come to our place and sleep with us.”
Everyone burst out laughing.
“Hey, mom, which one of us is he going to be sleep with?” Said Paddy.
“Do you see the bunch I have to deal with?”
Darryl smiled. “I knew what you meant. Thank you, that is really nice.”
“You are welcome.”
He sat in the second pew with the three sisters and when Adele saw him, she started to blubber and the ceremony had to be halted so she could get her act together.
After the ceremony, at the reception line, they med for the first time in nine years.
She hugged him for a long, long minute. And then she whispered in his ear: “look under the mattress.”
At the reception, they danced and partied and had a great time.
Later that night, Darryl finally made it to bed at roughly three in the morning. He had stayed with the family to help clean up.
He fell into bed and was asleep instantly. He also learned that the room was supposed to be for the grandparents if he didn’t show up. They had kicked out Joan’s own mom and dad to accommodate him.
It was almost nine o’clock when he woke up. He slowly awoke, letting his body pull itself out of the deep slumber that had been so good. He listened for anyone else awake and heard noise in the kitchen.
He was about to go downstairs and then stopped.
It took a bit of effort, but he found the envelope with the letter in it.
The letter was almost ten pages long. But, the heart of it stated:
‘Our friendship transcends time and any interruption that ever existed. This is the room I grew up in, laughed and cried in, got angry, learned about life and blossomed from a little girl into a young woman. My heart will always be in this room (I decorated it myself when I was thirteen in its present state) and now that I have entered a new phase in the journey of life, it is time for me to leave it behind. In college, you were my best friend and no one could figure out how we could be so close without fooling around. But, our hearts were connected and will be forever. I guess what I am trying to say is you are the guest and I am the (absent) host creating another connection. Although, we never slept together, we have now shared the same bed at different times and will forever be tied in such complexity together that it is impossible to categorize. Our spirits are forged together with love, understanding and strength.’
Love always, Adele
He read it three times and then put it in his overnight bag.
Then he went downstairs hoping for some kind of breakfast.
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