It All Began With the Dogs, The End
What lessons does Lorna learn on her way to the altar?
Lesson 1: “Happy” news is in the ear of the listener. My sisters were
mortified disappointed when I told them I was getting married to Chuck. They were sure he was just another misguided choice in my twisted selection of boyfriends. Because they loved me, they tried to talk me out of it. But once I committed to something, I was all in. Resigned, they accepted the news with the enthusiasm of deck hands on the Titanic.
Lesson 2: Planning a wedding keeps your mind off what you’re getting yourself into. I was so busy with the details of the ceremony, including sewing my own satin and lace wedding dress, that I didn’t have time to contemplate life after the wedding. That was both good and bad. If young people gave a great deal of thought to such a major life change, there may be fewer weddings. Then again, if they gave marriage the proper amount of thought, there may be fewer divorces…
Since Chuck had left town to find work in Washington, D.C.–our new home after the wedding–I was in charge of most of the decisions. Between working, planning the wedding, and drinking, I was a busy bride-to-be.
Lesson 3: Don’t plan a wedding while drunk. This may seem obvious to most people, but it wasn’t to me at the time. I believed my drinking was more medicinal–necessary to get me through the stresses of daily living. Chuck called every night to check on the plans. His mother took over a lot of the decisions because she was more “socially adept” than I was. She lived in a house and I used to live in a trailer. But Chuck said to ignore his mother. I drank and ignored the whole thing when I could. I was an adult and still felt like a Middle Child.
Lesson 4: No matter how much you plan or don’t plan, things are going to go the way they’re going to go. Almost everything went well (as planned) in our wedding. Invitations were sent out on time, gift registries were done, I made my dress, the wedding party was properly attired, reception plans were finalized after some changes, and all the other minutia that comprise a wedding got done. Some things went wrong: I forgot to tell the photographer we moved the reception, so he had to hunt us down after the wedding; some people were miffed at their reception seating (blame Chuck’s mother), and the “cool” October wedding day was in the low 80s and humid (think profuse sweating and bad hair).
Lesson 5: Showing up to your wedding sober is a sign of love. I vowed to myself not to drink the day before and the day of my wedding. Besides the pocket watch that belonged to my father (who died when I was four) that I had specially engraved, that was my wedding gift to Chuck. I thought I was being very generous.
Standing at the back of the church at high noon in my beautiful dress, I thought, “What am I doing?” Before real panic set in, the organ began playing the Wedding March. It sounded like a dirge. “Too late.” I took a deep breath and glided toward my future, envisioning the cold champagne at the reception.
What began with a conversation about dogs ends with Lorna at the altar. He wants to change a woman he doesn’t really know; she doesn’t really know who she is. What happens to these married strangers?