What could be better than a wedding in July" my mother exclaimed early one morning. "No wedding at all" replied my father, grumpily. On further inquiry I learnt that my cousin John was getting married in July. I was overjoyed; it meant that I would miss a week of school. My joy was short lived, however, when I found out that I was to visit Aunt Lucy’s (John’s mother) house during my holidays to help out. My protests were muted however by the angry glare I received from my father over the top of the morning paper.
I arrived at Aunt Lucy’s house to find the doors open, clothes strewn on the floor and odd pieces of paper floating in the fish tank. ”Aunt Lucy “ I said horrified “you’ve been robbed!” .But Aunt Lucy had not been robbed ,she was only searching for her late husbands wedding suit. I joined in the search but to no avail. The ever efficient John’s arrival an hour later speeded up the process and we found the suit in a dusty box.
The suit however was filled with holes. Generations of moths seemed to have feasted on it, only the pockets were spared as they contained the ill fated mothballs which Uncle had inadvertently swallowed, ten years ago, thinking they were peppermints!
I was now put on decoration duty. For the next month and a half I dusted cleaned, bought streamers, frankincense and myrrh (gold being in short supply) and generally spruced up the house.
As the date of the wedding drew closer, I noticed a marked difference in John. He seemed to be more nervous than usual, but perhaps this was due to the strain of handling the caterers.
The flurry of activity ensuing during the last week before the wedding died down on the day before. I suddenly found the silverware polished, candles ready and snacked stocked in the fridge. As we sat down for dinner, John looked visibly upset .Since it was my turn to ‘cook’ dinner .I had made baked beans and toast, which I proudly served John. To my surprise, he burst into tears “It’s not that bad!” I said, offended” You haven’t even tasted it”. But John was not crying because of the taste of the baked beans (or lack of it), but because he felt that he was going to loose all the freedom of life as a bachelor. My father tried to pacify him, telling him how he lived he lived his life after marriage. John’s wails redoubled in intensity.
Finally, the day arrived .all the preparations made ,the church ready, the caterers on time(surprisingly).A now calm and smiling John waited at the altar for his soon-to-be-wife. I breathed a sigh of relief .All responsibility was off me. I had only forgotten the candles at home, but the church provided us with spare ones. Then the priest asked for the rings. Images of the candles and rings paced side by side on the dining table flashed through my mind. John turned to me expectantly, his hand reaching out for the ring…. but I was gone!