so, yeah, i haven't had a great deal of friends tie the knot.
but i got excited for it. weddings pretty much guarantee free food, free booze and most likely an opportunity to meet new people at their most carefree and sunny. i pretty much love all of those things, so i got ready to throw caution to the extroverted wind.
erin picked me up, my pants clamoring for a lint roller as i ducked between rain drops to her car. we talked the whole way to the ceremony, a charming church in a small suburb of the city named after coal. i took mental notes for what i wanted to make sure to avoid during megan and andy's wedding.
oh, yeah. two friends, who most likely comprise 40% of this blog's reading population, are allowing me to officiate their wedding. i'm really excited for it. not just in that i get to see friends pledge devotion to one another, but moreso in the fact that i'm going to completely lose all credibility as a registered officiant as i drink beer from my untied shoe during the reception. it will really be something else. i'm asking for the ceremony to be conducted somewhere suitable for setting off about eight or nine thousand dollars worth of fireworks. true love isn't true unless everyone leaves with some amount of hearing damage.
but anyways, after experiencing the lengthy catholic ceremony, erin and i found our way to the hotel, the nearest wendy's, and a sports bar with seven dollar pints of guinness. in that order.
fry salt still on our fingertips, we headed into champps sports grill, a place where every employee dressed like referees and all the signs were misspelled.
we met up with some of erin's friends, everyone dressed up nice drinking a cold mid-afternoon beer. there was about three hours of down time from ceremony to reception, so naturally everyone began drinking, drinking, drinking.
we got there a little late, and after about an hour, everyone decided it was time to head to the reception. i forgot what living in sprawling, highway-ed towns was like. you have to take a car everywhere, and the only way to know which direction you're heading is measured on your proximity to a barnes and noble.
erin and i were going to take a shuttle the newlyweds were providing for the guests staying in the hotel. as we got up to leave a charming young married couple offered to drive us. they were headed to the ceremony but weren't staying the night, as they were having an eight-wedding calendar year themselves. they said it really cuts costs. so does not giving gifts to the couple. duh.
so we followed them out to their car, a sparkling new black camry shimmering in the overcast illinois sky. i stood to the side of the car as the husband took his jacket and an umbrella from the back seat and popped open the trunk, tucking things away to leave space. the car was one of those spotless cars, that you could tell they took great care of it. it smelled like my worst nightmare.
so as the husband put his jacket in the trunk, my eyes caught hold of a colorful, donkey-shaped explosion happening in the trunk. i cocked my head to see a bright pinata, smack dab in the middle of the trunk. nothing else in the trunk. everything clean as a whistle. except this pinata. he shut the trunk and we all climbed in the car, our pants sliding across the new leather.
as the doors shut, i tried to start conversation. i felt that pinata had a great story as to how it wound up in a completely clean trunk. i did my best to lay on the charm.
'so, i don't mean to pry, but you guys totally have a pinata in your trunk.'
my face was in a half smile, ready to hear the laughter and subsequent funny party story to follow.
but it didn't happen. i felt my face get red as silence loomed in the car, my words hanging in the middle of this pristine interior.
'umm...i wasn't supposed to know about that...' said the wife.
ho. ly. shit.
'yeah...that was a surprise' said the husband, his face grimacing as his eyes just looked out above the steering wheel in front of him. it was eating him up.
it was her 30th birthday, and the next week she was to have a party. she knew that the trunk held her surprise, but was avoiding seeing it.
lucky for her, some asshole that doesn't know anyone at this wedding grabs a seat in her car and COMPLETELY RUINS HER BIRTHDAY. perfect.
my face turned a deep red as erin avoided eye contact with me to keep herself from laughing. i tried to scramble and cover it up.
'umm...there was also a baby, some frisbees and...'
i trailed off. i was in a tailspin. there was no way of getting out of this. no way to charm my way out. no way to make a joke. just me, a nice married couple and secret pinata driving in silence through the middle of nowhere.
after i experienced the longest 14 minutes of my life, we got out and walked to the reception hall. i apologized again, trying to convey how sad i was that i just ruined something special for them. they were nice and tried to play it off, but i could tell it was sort of a big deal.
like a pinata meant something seismic. like on their wedding day, he promised her he was ready to have children the day he gave her a pinata. or it meant they were moving to mexico. or it was just full of cocaine and they were going to stay up for eleven days straight. whatever it was or meant, i fully ruined it.
so, as you can imagine, i began DRINKING. there's only one way to recover from something like that, and that's to drink gin after gin and sing along to taylor swift on the dance floor.
after a few drinks i found the couple, they were waiting in line at the bar.
'listen, i decided i'm going to just keep ruining every surprise you got for each other. so for the rest of the night, i'm ruining your lives.'
they laughed and i walked away, not giving the moment enough time to grow awkward.
the next time i saw them i started my project, which continued all night.
'hey, just so you know, she got you a hot air balloon ride for thanksgiving.'
the next day, as erin and i looked around at all the wendy's wrappers littering the hotel floor, we talked about the surreal pinata experience. it almost seemed like a dream.
i thought about what i want to do for megan and andy's wedding. the mental notes i was taking. i added one more, just for good measure. it may not even come up, but if i see a secret pinata, i'm just going to keep it to myself.