Coupling: Wedding Belle Blues
The trouble started almost immediately after we got engaged. I’ll spare you the details of the proposal since, as it turns out, there are two kinds of people in this world: the kind who want to hear the details about wedding proposals, and the kind for whom details about wedding proposals make them want to throw up immediately, and I don’t know which you are. But more on that later. Suffice it to say, we were in Puerto Rico, drinking celebratory piña coladas, and I was slightly tipsy. At least, I was until Mr. Huge killed my buzz.
“Aren’t you going to call your parents?” he said.
Oh. Was I? They would want to know. But what was I going to say? “I’m ENGAGED!!! EEEEEE!” Not really that type, me. Worse, my parents are divorced, so this would necessitate two awkward phone calls. My father I didn’t anticipate a problem with. It was my mother.
My mother is a saint, really. She’s a high-school guidance counselor, the kind adolescent girls cry to about their boyfriends, the kind who takes kids whose parents are too busy or disinterested to look at colleges on the weekends. I am her only actual daughter, and she loves me to death. She loves Mr. Huge. She’d be ecstatic.
Which is what gave me pause. Don’t get me wrong, I was comfortable with the idea of getting married. But I didn’t quite know how to deal with getting married — all the girly “Omigod let me see your ring!” and the dresses and the cake and the pomp and circumstance of a wedding and, oh god, an actual aisle? With what, like, organ music? These were all things I had rolled my eyes at since I knew how to roll my eyes. My mom, on the other hand, would love every minute of it. The woman has never met a cliché she wasn’t happy to use. When I got my first period, she actually said, “You’re a woman now!” There would be tears, I was sure of it, and squealing. And that would only be the beginning.
I lied and said my cell phone didn’t work in foreign countries. “Puerto Rico is America,” Mr. Huge said.
“You can use mine,” he said.
I glared at him, then felt like a jerk. Why should my awkwardness deprive my mother of what might be her life’s greatest pleasure? I braced myself and dialed. Her voice was warbly, and not because it was traveling many miles under the ocean. “I’m so happy for you!” she snuffled. “I’m going to cry! Do you have a ring!?!?”
“I’m sorry, what? The reception here is bad. I’m going to have to call you back.”
As I expected, my twice-divorced father was more subdued. “That’s great,” he said, then paused. “Marriage is really difficult, you know.”