Remembering a Rainbow Wedding in a Parking lot

9 02 2010

My friend was having a rainbow wedding under a circus tent in the Holland Civic Center Parking lot. The couple smiled even though there wasn’t enough chocolate covered strawberries and cake to go around. The person in charge of the food had actually been eating it. Nadia with the eyes had started to eat their wedding cake.  But it couldn’t have been now. The vending area for the farmer’s market hadn’t been built yet. And I was wearing some purple sailor style dress from 1992—which I had owned then, but has long ceased to exist in my wardrobe. God, I wish I could get into that dress. So we were all younger and thinner with some anachronisms and distortions. I brought Eva as my date. Eva, a coworker of mine. I  think maybe it was really Sylvia wearing Eva’s skin so that I wouldn’t get too scared.

When I woke up, I called my friend. Okay, so I Facebooked her first, because I’m lame like that. And she said she was moving. Someone else asked if it was Wisconsin. And she said yes. Then I browsed her most recent pictures. She had spent Christmas with a strange new woman from Wisconsin. The last thing I had committed to memory was a possible woman of interest in Arizona. But that might be me just remembering wrong or making shit up or just not paying attention.

Did you know there’s a place called Onalaska? Not InAlaska. Or ThruAlaska. But OnAlaska. That’s where she’s going at the end of July. She’s fallen in love. They camp and hike and play WorldWar Craft. I’m happy for her. A little sad that she’s leaving Michigan, but I only see her twice a year now, so how can I really be that sad. Maybe I’m sad that I’m not really that sad.

Seems like I called her at least once a week or maybe more when Emery died. Then when Sylvia and I were fighting. There were many potlucks and Cranium game nights at her house. But I broke up with my girlfriend. She broke up with hers. Then when I met Jacks, I had to be up Jacks butt 24/7, and the world disappeared. She moved. I moved. The whole space time continuum stretches and evolves.

Sometimes when you meet a person, you hold them in your memory as when you first met them. You forget that 10 years passes and that people get older, kids grow up. You don’t look for a really long time. Or you don’t pay attention. You expect people to be where you left them. But you’re not where they left you either.

Her birthday is coming up in at the end of February. She told me she was going to be 46 this year. What?  I counted on my fingers. I must have lost a few years. Her daughter that I met when she was 10 is now 20. I stopped counting when she was in high school. So when I see her in my mind walking through her life–being accepted into a Medical PhD program and contemplating marriage—she’s still 16. I know she owes me another ice skating date, and I never sent her a care package her freshman year.

People aren’t where we leave them. We’re constantly moving, changing, growing.

Last week Mom was cleaning the basement and found a picture of me tucked between the school files. It’s a rapidly deteriorating Polaroid. I’m wearing a wrinkled bridesmaids dress with puffy sleeves and a beret that clearly does not go with the dress. I’m holding a little purse. Beneath the dress, you can see my regular everyday shoes. It’s 1980-something. But other than that. I don’t know where. I don’t know when. My parents never owned a Polaroid.

 “See,” Mom said. “You don’t remember everything.”

She handed the photo to Dad.

“She could easily be 14 there,” he said.

“She’s not 14! She doesn’t have any boobs. Do you see boobs in that picture?” Mom pointed.

 I think Dad is one of those people who sees a person only once, and that’s what he remembers forever. He sees me at one age. I’ll be the same age, no matter what. Clearly, I was not 14 in the picture. I was still wearing my hair in the ever-so-unpopular bowl cut—definitely the humiliation of grade school.




2 responses

9 02 2010

I have caught myself expecting people to be where I have them. Facebook is messing that up for me now. I’m looking at people I haven’t seen in ten years. How can they have five kids now? How can those little kids be teenagers? Reality will hit me in the face this summer as I am returning to Australia to see people for the first time in ten years. Will they see me as that snapshot from ten years ago? Will I return as that snapshot from ten years ago?

9 02 2010

You’re still 18. The last time I saw you was 2000. You were making your rounds. And that’s where I left you and expect you to return. Definitely a strange sensation.

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