I have no great love of weddings. I don’t think I’m the only one. Half of the people I’ve met who plan weddings spend half their time wondering if eloping wouldn’t be so bad after all.
Nonetheless, when my cousin Audrey decided to get married, I had little choice but to attend and just be happy I wasn’t stuck in the ridiculously pink beribboned dresses that the bridesmaids had to put up with. There are advantages to not being an entirely popular person.
The wedding was held in an old almost barn-like building. My cousin has slightly hipster tendencies so the wooden walls and floors with old fashioned glazed windows made it the perfect setting for her. Even though I thought it had a slight manure smell.
Things seemed to be going even better when one of my aunts-- my aunt Adah, who was spending most of the reception on the phone with various people, frantically making sure that everything was going according to plan, asked me if she could borrow my pocket-level to make sure that the pictures of the bride and groom that were going to be set up right outside the chapel were set up straight. I agreed, but was whisked off into the chapel to wait for the ceremony to start before I could insist on following her.
Now before I can continue, I must add that my pocket-level has become somewhat central to my existence. It was given to me by my current boyfriend (more on that later). It also allows me to inconspicuously reassure myself that the world around me is in order. Anywhere. Anytime. I carry it everywhere I go. One could go so far as to say it is one of the few things I consider irreplaceable.
Just before the ceremony started, Aunt Adah slipped in the door and rushed to her seat -- which just happened to be right in front of mine.
“Could I have my pocket-level back?” I hissed into her ear.
She colored noticeably “I dropped it.” Just then the music started and she quickly whispered “Don’t worry, we’ll get it back after the ceremony.”
Audrey walked gracefully in on her father’s elbow, her train flowing several feet behind her. As the whole room watched her walk, I caught a glimpse of something shining in the lacy train-- the key ring of my pocket-level had snagged on the lace of her train!
Well at least I knew where it was then.
I was a little more comforted until I realized that right in Audrey's way was a series of knot holes. Audrey had practiced the night before, I knew, so there was no risk of her breaking an ankle on it. However, she didn’t know that the pocket-level was hanging onto her train by a thread and so couldn’t be counted on to save it.
I held my breath as she stepped over the knot hole. The pocket-level, trailing behind her, caught on the edge and, luckily, bounced around the holes. I was lucky that time. But the bouncing had loosed the threads, so the pocket-level was barely hanging on. The next time, I was sure, it would be lost to oblivion. There was no way that it would make it next time.
As she walked up the aisle to meet her fiance, I made a desperate decision. I scooted to the very edge of my seat and looked up intently, pretending to be moved by the preacher’s words, all the time steeling my nerves for the daring rescue I had planned.
Audrey, now married, turned around to face a wave of cheers. The newlyweds hurried down the aisle to take pictures in front of the building. As she passed by me, I stuck out my foot and planted my stiletto right through the keyring of my pocket-level.
I only wanted to stop the level from getting to the knot holes.
I had accepted the possibility of the train ripping, and only hoped that no one would figure out that I had ripped it.
My aim was perfect and my stiletto slid right through the center of the keyring. However, I also snagged a little more of the dress than I anticipated.
Instead, my cousin was hurled by her own force off of the floor, and with a yowl that could chill the ghosts in hell, fell flat on her face.
For a solid minute, the entire room went dead silent-- everyone staring at my stiletto. It was still planted firmly inside of the keyring of the pocket-level.
I bent over and picked up the level, releasing my hold on the dress.
“Are you mad?” My aunt hissed at me.
I mumbled an apology in my cousin’s direction.
I didn’t end up going to the reception-- there was no reason for me to put up with being stared at for hours. Still, on the way home, I absent-mindedly fingered the rescued pocket-level and felt a satisfaction at my own iron will. The rescue had, after all, been successful.