Do you remember Jamie’s friend, Reggie, from Eyes Wide Open? This is Reggie’s story…
“Well, I know you won’t make me wear some God awful poufy pink or peach thing, so, hell, yes, I’ll be your maid of honor,” I exclaimed when Jamie told me she and Mike were engaged. She’d called me yesterday and asked if I could meet her for dinner after work today and talk. I’d been a little afraid she had bad news and they were breaking up, cause this thing with Mike was just a little too fairytale for me. But, no, they got freakin’ engaged! I mean, they were neighbors for a year or so, but they’ve only been dating for four months.
So, James and I are at the Village Pub near my apartment and had just ordered wine for her and a Corona for me when she sprang her news. I really am happy for her cause I like Mike, he’s a nice guy. Everybody pretty much likes Mike, he’s just a decent guy and he’s crazy over James, I can tell. But, geez, married?
“So,” I say, “when are you thinking? Like next year sometime?” “No, Reg,” she says almost gently, like I’m not too bright, “we don’t want to wait. I’m 27 and Mike is almost 30 so we’re thinking maybe the end of summer. How would you feel if we had a destination wedding in Hawaii?”
Well, I’m a preschool teacher for the school district, so the summer ends for me in the middle of August. And a wedding in Hawaii is going to be a little pricey, not to mention the time to get there and all. But she’s my best friend, so I’ll work it out somehow. I can’t bear to even think about missing Jamie’s wedding!
And I know perfectly well how old she is cause Jamie and I were college roommates and are the same age. At first I feel a little annoyed. Since when is 27 that old? But her face is lit up with this beautiful glow and then she puts her left hand on the table and I see the ring. She wiggles her fingers a little bit with unabashed pride and just sighs as she gazes at the ring under the candlelight at our table.
“That’s gorgeous,” I say, grabbing her hand and pulling it toward me. There’s a round diamond in the center and lots of diamond baguettes down the sides of the platinum ring, giving it a fragile, old fashioned look which suits Jamie really well. “It was Mike’s grandmother’s ring,” she says dreamily. “I wasn’t sure at first, I always thought I’d just want a solitaire, but I really love it,” she says. “I think it’s more me than something too plain, don’t you?” “I do,” I say, then start giggling. “You’ll be the one saying that pretty soon!”
We both laugh and then the waiter is bringing our chicken salads and we dig in. I, for one, am starving, because I haven’t eaten since lunchtime which for me was 11:30. The salads are pretty good and the beer really helped me relax after a day of talking about the weather and singing songs and teaching very basic Spanish to a group of three and four-year-olds. Don’t get me wrong, I love working with my little kiddos, I just love leaving work, too!
“So, Reg, how are things going with you?” Jamie asks. “We haven’t talked about you at all.” I nod, signalling the waiter that we need another round. “I’m good,” I say. “Not a lot going on right now, just work. But I have a good group this year, not too many criers. Remember that little Brittany from last year, the one who cried when her shoes came untied, cried when she couldn’t zip her coat, cried when she couldn’t get her mittens on?”
“I do,” Jamie smirks and I roll my eyes just a little. “Well, she finally learned to zip her coat but, of course, she’s not in my room anymore. And today this little cutie, Ella, asked me if my mom fixed my hair this morning,” I say laughing, touching my hair to make sure the blonde strands are still tucked into my French braid.
Spring break is starting right after Easter and I cannot wait. A little break from the school routine is what I really need and I’ve got a ticket to go to Virginia Beach to see some old friends and, of course, my mom. Provided that she’s still sober. The waiter brings our second round of drinks and suddenly my Corona doesn’t seem as appealing as it did a few minutes ago. I never want to feel like I need to drink just to get through the day. I’ve seen enough of that to last me a lifetime. I’ve lived enough of that to last me a lifetime.
Jamie’s looking at me strangely and I realize she’s asked me a question and is waiting for an answer. “Sorry, I must have zoned out, ” I say, taking a sip before pushing the bottle away. “What were you saying?” Jamie starts again. “I said we’re asking my brothers and their wives to stand up along with you and Mike’s old friend from school, Rob, who will be the best man.” Well, cool, I’m standing up with Mike’s friend, so he’s probably a nice guy.
“So, James,” I say, “what kind of a wedding is this gonna be? Big and fancy, big dress, all that?” “Oh, God, no, just family and a few friends, on the beach in Maui. Turns out Mike’s family has a timeshare there, can you believe it? I just want a simple dress, maybe tiny straps, maybe strapless, I don’t know. Want to go shopping with me and my mom?” Jamie is looking at me anxiously.
Of course I tell her, sure, I’d love it and then I tell her I’m going to see my mom over spring break. She’s worried, I can tell, because I hardly ever went home when we were in college and spent a lot of holiday breaks with Jamie’s family. I even did my student teaching in the Chicago area because there was no reason to go back to the Beach for me. Back then Mom was on stepdaddy number 2, I think, or number 3, I can’t remember, but he was a dickwad and I put as much space between me and his roving hands as possible. And when everything hit the fan that last Christmas I was home, I’d told Mom if she stayed with the dickwad, I wouldn’t be back.
So I pull my thoughts together and we talk some more about dresses and the wedding and how the beaches aren’t totally private but it should be okay for a ceremony. They think they’ll just do a luau for the reception cause there won’t be that many of us anyway for a regular reception. Then she and Mike can stay on for an extended honeymoon and the rest of us will deal with the jet lag and get back to work in a few days. But, Hawaii, wow, it should be beautiful. And romantic. Too bad I’ll be there by myself, but, still, a mini-vacation in paradise will be fun.
To be continued…
~ Diane D. Photo credit: Pinterest