Sunday, September 18, 2011

member of the wedding

All day at a wedding yesterday - in Bethnal Green, where I lived in my twenties. The town hall is now a hotel and one can do the whole wedding bash there. We filed into the old magistrates court/town hall chamber where the wedding took place and waited for the show to begin. Every part of the ceremony had been rehearsed. My daughter and the other bridesmaids, all decked out in shades of Peacock, stepped in to the sound of Regina Spektor singing Fidelity, and then it began, the weeping. It was us, the wedding guests, unprepared for the power of ceremony and the thing that happens sometimes in a church or a theatre, when a production is perfectly choreographed, directed and orchestrated and we are lifted out of the mundane world. The groom's voice broke as he made his vows, the bride stated that she had loved him in her heart from the outset, the registrar presided like a midwife or a ministering angel. Afterwards, over fizzy champagne and small talk across a white linen-covered table competing with a cacophony of echoing voices, where we conversed with people whose only real connection to us was the experience we had just shared, we reduced it: beautiful wedding, bride looked lovely, the flowers - oh - the dress, and isn't it strange, we said, how it is back in fashion again, the wedding, and someone talked about how she ran out of tissues because of the crying. I smirked, or tried to smile (the wedding breakfast was not until 3pm, crucifixion-time for the adrenally-challenged chronically-fatigued). I didn't say about the residual ache located just beneath my breastbone, as though someone very much loved from miles of separating years had appeared and then disappeared, or a snatch of conversation had been heard in a language one had almost forgotten. It felt like homesickness. I can't think what else. I think at times like this we are in Babylon and remember Zion. This is not fitting for small talk, or perhaps even any kind of talk at all. And in any case, what words would we use to express such a thing? I ate vichyssoise with truffle, fillet steak, panna cotta, cake. It receded, the homesickness.

Home again, I was up till the small hours, limbs and muscles refusing to settle, then awake again early. I was beyond tired today, but kept afloat in a small frenzy, attending to this and that, admin things and making a vegetable and barley soup to make up for yesterday's cream, sugar and caffeine.

Autumn, its urgency, begins to move in and around me. Body hurts but I whisper it to buoyancy and don't let myself lie down. The year has been too long, too hard. I want to keep going.

4 comments:

belinda whitworth said...

(o)

Fire Bird said...

ritual, performance, collective expressions of love, sorrow, hope, faith -- all have the power to stir me to that heart-aching weeping beyond weeping you describe so well...

Mim said...

A pleasure to read you . . .

Reading the Signs said...

Mim
Fire Bird
Belinda

A pleasure to see you here ..