I chose the table well. The people who had to squish up to accommodate us included a famous theatre director and at least one Booker-nominated novelist. They were very good about it as I recall.
We had a jolly time in excellent company guessing how long the speeches would be. I remember thinking that this was one of the best weddings I’d ever been to. Later I serenaded the bride with Caledonia, floating home on the good vibes.
A few days later I caught sight of the invitation on my desk at work and picked it up to relive all the happy memories. And that’s when I read the invitation properly for the first time. It was an invitation, alright. An invitation to the evening do. The afters, I think, is the technical term.
Yes, that’s right. I had turned up with my boyfriend to the church and reception of a wedding to which I was not invited. As my stomach did somersaults the day flashed in front of me like a horror movie with a cast of well dressed, smiling people. I remembered how I had congratulated myself for being so subtle about rearranging the seating plan on “Brooklyn”. I recalled how I had smiled so graciously at the famous theatre director and at least one Booker-nominated author, a smile that said “these things happen, I am not the kind to make a fuss”. I remembered the beaming bride in the church and the sort of, now you mention it, surprised look on her face as she clocked me taking a photo of her on my phone. A little bit of me died that day at my desk.
So I am meeting B in a New York diner today. I will give her the wedding present acknowledging it is four years late. And for the first time I will talk to her about that day and I will tell her what she already knows. That I wasn’t invited. But that, oh, I had a grand old time for those heady few hours when I truly believed I was.