Saturday was another long day full of travel, friends, wedding festivities and the fantasy of what a great beginning to a love story this day could be, if only my life were of the happily-ever-after sort.
You see every couple has a story. The story of how they met. The story of one or the other realizing this is someone I want to be with. Howard and Ramona's story started with Howard's friend meeting Ramona at a party while she was visiting friends in DC and a blind date in LA where they both lived. He admitted he knew she was the one the first time he met her. It took her a bit longer. But not much since that blind date was in January. When one is not yet part of a couple, each crush has the potential to be the beginning of that story and sometimes one cannot help but wonder when that story will begin or if it already started years ago.
If this were the beginning of my story, I would one day be able to look back at Howard's wedding day as the catalyst. I would remember the rain pouring down as I drove to the temple after an early morning flight, feeling thrown together, tired and a bit rumpled, trying to smooth away the stress of the week. I would remember being frustrated with the fact that I couldn't find the entrance to the temple and running in my wedged heels across the parking lot and around the huge building as giant drops of rain streaked my bright green dress. In a movie there would be romantic music playing as the temple door automatically opened and standing right there in front of me was a familiar face. If this were my story, I would strain to remember the details of that first moment when he seemed so grateful to see me walk in the door. I would look back with fondness on the memory of everyone mistaking us for a couple and how we sat whispering on the pew in the chapel as if we were better friends than we actually were as we waited to be called to our mutual friend's sealing. I would remember how red his face got from suppressed laughter after I showed him where I stowed my recommend not having any pockets available. But since this is not how my life generally progresses and, more importantly, since I did not feel any spark of mutual interest, these memories will just have to fade away as a short-lived crush that held great potential but didn't take. Besides, it is probably for the best since he lives in a far off city in the southwest and if things were to work out now I might be upset that our paths have crossed so many times in the past and I might regret not clicking sooner. After all, our paths first crossed at some vague point in 2001 or 2002, he once tried to teach me to surf in Costa Rica and I spent the 4th of July with him this year. If it didn't click then, why would it now just because we happened to walk into the temple at the same time. I admit to being a fatalist but I have to draw the line.
Other than the wedding induced romantic fantasy that was thrust upon me (and encouraged by a certain friend), it was beautiful wedding. I didn't have any of the sadness or sense of loneliness I anticipated, perhaps the temporary crush helped.
The rain cleared up before the wedding was over and the sun was out in full force for photos. I even managed to snag one alone with Howard looking snazzy in his tux.
In the days and weeks leading up to the wedding Howard kept telling me he just wanted the reception to be a fun party. We discussed different tactics that had worked at other weddings - specifically Mormon weddings lacking alcohol - that helped keep the energy high. I told him Cinco carried his bride in and while I was still changing at a friend's apartment between the wedding and reception, Howard sent me a text message saying he was going to do it. My short-lived crush and I were not too worried about being late until I got that message (although I think he was a bit jealous that his buddy texted me since earlier in the afternoon he had commented that he didn't realize we were so close). We then noticed the time and literally raced down Wilshire Boulevard in ridiculous traffic (seriously LA, how do you deal with it nonstop like that?) dodging and weaving in our separate cars searching for the hotel, feeling like we were close when business signs were printed in Korean. We walked into a packed ballroom of seated guests and were relieved to note that the wedding table was still empty. Of course walking in that late to a table in the front and center of the hall together didn't help alleviate the "aren't you two a couple questions" but I was mostly just thinking about how glad I was we hadn't missed Howard and Ramona's introduction.
The only way I can describe the atmosphere is that it felt like we had stumbled onto a Korean television game show. There were two emcees - the man spoke only Korean and the woman gave truncated English translations. I know they were truncated because he would talk and talk and talk and people would laugh and react and she would say one simple sentence or a couple of words. Possibly 85% of the guests were Korean and they were definitely enjoying a different show. We walked in as they were leading the guests in practice cheers for the introduction of the wedding party. Shortly after we reached our table, Get Ready For This, by 2 Unlimited, started thumping on the speakers and the doors behind us were opened wide. You may not think so but you know this song, it is generally used to introduce sports teams or get a crowd pumped up - at least they use it at the arena formerly known as the Delta Center. The bridesmaids and Howard's brother danced their way in and then Howard came running in carrying his new bride in his arms. He ran down the aisle and spun around on the dance floor with her. It was fantastic and everyone clapped and cheered and yelled. I think that was the energy he was looking for.
The game show hosts kept things entertaining and it was one of the most unique weddings I have ever attended. I, of course, managed to make a fool out of myself in front of the 300 guests when they decided to put a unique twist on the tossing of the bridal bouquet tradition. I was one of two non-Asian girls lined up on the dance floor, towering in my 3 inch heels that put me near six feet tall above the other 15 or so girls who were 5'5" at best. We were instructed (luckily Howard's cousin standing next to me translated for me because she gave more details than Ms. Gameshow) that we had to dance for this older Korean man who was plunked up from one of the tables and placed in a chair in the center of the dance floor to judge our dancing skills. Not always exhibiting my best judgment when it comes to restraint in dancing and sometimes lacking the embarrassment instinct at the moment I need it most (before I do something embarrassing), I let loose. Maybe too loose because Mr. Gameshow said the only two English words I heard him utter all night as I was making my way back to the lineup when he made them stop the music and said "Too Sexy!" Great. Reinforcing my ridiculous display, I received this email yesterday from a woman I was introduced to because her daughters are living in New York: "I have to tell you again how fun it was to watch you 'dance' for the older gentleman at Howard & Romana's wedding celebration....we all agree you brought the house down and were in our estimation...the best!" Umm, yeah. I especially loved the quotes around dance, like it wasn't really dancing somehow. The worst part was that after embarrassing myself, I didn't even win the contest! It may have been rigged since the maid of honor won.
Luckily the wackiness continued and even included these two grandmas being the first to jump on the dance floor after dinner. And no, they were not doing any type of traditional dance. They were dancing to If you Think I'm Sexy or some other such ridiculous song.
Needless to say, the wedding was a lot of fun. The couple was beautiful and everyone seemed to have a great time. I was able to reunite with a number friends I have known through Howard over the years whom I haven't seen in quite a while and recount our past escapades and meet their wives (because all the good guys get married). It was just unfortunate that I had to end the night looking slightly greasy. Seriously, I would have posted more photos but the stress of the week all ended up in a greasy blob on top of my head. At least the bride still looked beautiful.