I was still sweating from steadying my arms in the mirror attempting to tie my bowtie. It was something I’d struggled with since my high school prom, where I opted to go with the “no-tie” look in favor of wearing the tie that I embarrassingly just couldn’t make look presentable. Unfortunately for me, my issues paled in comparison when you looked at the general health of our group comprised of me and three girls getting ready for a wedding. I, being a plus-one, really had no say in our schedule despite the fact that I knew we needed to call an Uber about ten minutes before we actually did.
I had overdone it the night before. My neck felt too swollen for my collar, I was dreading the conversation I’d have with the first waiter to offer me a flute of champagne, and the quartered Vyvanse I took to get my edge back had yet to set in. I had split a bottle of rosè between four styrofoam cups to give us a little added energy on the Uber ride to the church.
“Where the hell is this guy?” I thought to myself while looking down at my phone. “There’s no way we’re making this fucking thing on time.”
The girls were still upstairs getting ready as I steadily tracked Anjay’s Kia Rio which was still eight minutes away, leaving us with a gaudy two minutes to spare judging by how long it would take us to arrive at the ceremony once we finally got in the car.
I yelled up the stairs — “Hey, I think he’s going to be here in a couple minutes.” One by one, they started filing down to the foyer where their heels were. “We’re going to be late, aren’t we?” I asked my date.
She looked at me like I was Brendan Dassey asking if I could go back to class after admitting he helped murder Teresa Halbach. I, again, took my phone out of my pocket to see what our status was.
“Fuck, Anjay is outside. Can you call up to them? We REALLY need to get a move on here.” But I knew that hurrying three buzzed girls out the door before a formal occasion was going to be about as easy keeping track of my headiest friend at a Phish concert. No matter how hard I tried, things were going to pan out the way they wanted to pan out.
“Okay, I’m going to head outside and get in the Uber,” I continued. I opened the door and Anjay’s eyes defaulted to my tuxedo before I clarified that we’d have to wait a few minutes for the three girls inside. I’m not positive that Anjay had been in this same situation a million times before, but something tells me that it wasn’t his first rodeo.
The first came outside with her clutch in hand. She went around the backside of the car and got in the backseat on the driver’s side. I was sitting bitch in an effort to streamline the process of everyone getting situated in the car
“Are they coming?” I hurriedly asked.
“Yeah, they’re like right behind me.”
I looked up to the stoop — no one. I’m not sure why I felt so anxious regarding the timeliness of the affair, as I neither knew the bride and groom nor had any affiliation with them outside of my girlfriend’s group of friends. Maybe it was my hangover. Maybe it was the Vyvanse kicking in. Hell, maybe it was both working in cahoots. Either way, the absence of these two girls from our Uber was more monumental to me than it needed to be.
“Okay, I think I see one of them,” I said hunched over looking through the window as she walked out the door. She walked down the steps in her heels, which like every girl in the world, takes about three times as long as it would take them in a normal pair of flats. Like watching a climbing stage in the Tour de France, every inch felt like a mile to me.
I looked at my phone again — eight minutes until the ceremony began.
“Did you put a location in?” my date asked. I hadn’t.
“Fuck, no. Where is this thing again?”
“Saint Michael’s Cathedral,” she said as I frantically typed “Saint M…” into the app’s location bar before something caught the corner of my eye.
“Is that her?” I asked, again peering to the door where there was a girl searching for something on the console table in the apartment’s entrance. It was her, and something important was clearly missing from the equation.
We screamed through the window and asked what she was looking for.
“My key! I can’t find the key to my apartment!”
Fuck, I thought for a brief moment in time. There was no way we were going to make it in time to the wedding. Hell, I didn’t even think we were going to be wheels up on the road before the wedding started.
“Nevermind! Got it!”
Anjay was the most steadfast person in the vehicle. No beginner, he was a seasoned vet when it came to corralling. We were all a combination of buzzed, frazzled, or hungover (me being the worst of the group). But the moment our final party shut the door, he started the trip and breezed towards the first stop sign.
“Shit,” one of the girls began. “I forgot my phone.” We convinced her that she wouldn’t need it, which we all knew was a completely and utter lie for the sake of timeliness. We just simply couldn’t go back and there was a tacit understanding around that sentiment.
I was tracking the route on my phone, somehow realizing that we could actually make it on time. It was only a few turns and a couple mile stretches of side streets to get to our destination. But as we neared closer and closer to a church in the distance, I couldn’t read any signs besides the one that said, “DO NOT ENTER.”
“Anjay, ignore that. There’s no one coming,” I demanded. You can just let us out here where all these people are walking in.
I had about two fingers of rosè left in my cup, and I was a little weary of finishing it rapidly until the medicine took. But from the front seat, I was asked, “Can you help me finish this?” There are a few things I never turn down, and rosè is one of them. She poured it in my cup as we pulled up to some bushes lining the south side of the cathedral.
“Alright, here’s fine,” I said to Anjay who deserved six stars. The girls piled out of the car and stacked their cups in mine before I finished the remnants of everyone’s drink and flung the cups in the bushes like Jordan Belfort with a mimosa.
I looked at my phone — 7:32. My worst fears were realized as we walked into a completely empty church lobby. We were officially late.
“I see some spots over on the right side,” I said pointing towards the door that had a half-empty pew about a third of the way up the sanctuary.
With our heads down, we shuffled to the pew and sat down. Had we been given programs, we would have used them to shield our faces from the embarrassment
I tilted my head back and cracked my neck, relieved to have finally made it. I shut my eyes and took a deep breath, telling myself that I had nothing to worry about.
“You don’t know these people, you don’t need to be embarrassed, no one will remember this in the long run.”
But my moment of meditation was interrupted when I felt my date’s hand on my leg while she whispered in my ear — “Who are all these people?” .
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