The longer I watch the people at my wedding, the more I want to get the hell out of here. Most guests are already drunk. They come up to our table and mumble some form of gratulation, their speech slurry, their faces droopy. Simple townsfolk, all know each other, and none have any aspiration to make something different of their lives. Ever.
God, what a bunch of losers. To think that I’ll spend the rest of my life among these small-town nobodies as good and quiet housewife…
Mitch puts a huge piece of barbecued meat in his mouth and leans back, rubbing his belly. With full mouth and smacking lips he says, “Your folks sure now how to roast a cow.” Then he continues to chew with open mouth.
If it wasn’t for the case full of cocaine (—am I really thinking that?—) I’d get up right now and leave. My girlfriends jokingly told me that, no matter how cool and romantic and nice a man is, once you get married, the man-pig comes out and the fun’s over. Looking at that animal picking at his teeth with his fingernail, I’d say they were right.
“Mitch,” I say, bumping him with my knee to get his attention. “When are we going to leave? The party is going well, everyone is fed—including you”—stare of death but he doesn’t notice—“and no one would notice if we—“
Out of nowhere, Barb interrupts me: “Notice what?” Shit. I look up.
“Hey Barb!” Three hundred pounds and stealthy as a cat, that woman. “What’s up?”
“No one would notice what, honey?” I can see in her face that she’s suspicious. This whole day’s been a disaster, what with Nathan bursting into the dressing room and Mitch being all weird and still drunk from last night. Barb put so much energy into this wedding—a girl couldn’t ask for a better step-mother. As fucking annoying as she can be, sometimes.
“Oh, nothing, Barb. We were just thinking—“
“We’re thinking of leaving early,” Mitch says right over me talking. Barb’s not impressed.
Her mouth opens while her eyes are on fire. Quickly, I interject: “Mitch got us a nice last minute deal at a fancy hotel—three stars, with a pool and all you can eat shrimp bar!” I put on my best just-married-smile and hope the bites.
“Is that right?” she says intrigued, giving Mitch that sort of smile, that makes you want to throw up because you can’t help but picture what she’s thinking right now.
Mitch grins and puffs out his chest. What a real man he is, indeed. “That’s right, Barb. Gotta take your girl here to the honeymoon of her lifetime.” He puts his arm around me and pulls me closer. The stripper’s perfume is still all over his neck. But I play along.
“Well then, you two, what time are you leaving?” She’s calmed down. Or at least she’s good at hiding how mad she really must be.
“Pretty much right now,” Mitch says, continuing with a sleazy voice, “Got a lot to do today.”
“I don’t think so.” Like that, her expression freezes as quickly as the tension rises. “After dinner, we have to do the father-daughter dance. The mother-son—“
Mitch snaps forward in his chair and gets up awkwardly. “No can do.”
“Yes, you can,” says Barb. “I invited your mother here, because she needs to be part of this day of yours.”
“For fuck’s sake, Barb!” Mitch is about to storm off.
“Mitch,” I say, getting up as well.
“Forget it, Sarah. Let’s fucking go. We have somewhere to be.” He turns to Barb. “If you’d excuse us, Barb. And enjoy your wedding.” Honestly, I’ve never seen him this irritated.
Barb grabs Mitch by his arm hard enough that his hand now grips my hand just as freaking hard.
“Ouch,” I say, but no one cares.
“Liste to me, Mitchell Riley Junior. Your mother made the effort to come to your wedding, so you can make the effort to be nice to her and make this day memorable for everyone, instead of ruining it even more. Understood?” Barb’s furious. She has this all mapped out, too—the perfect family thing, with the wives cooking food and the men working honest jobs and all that small-town bullshit.
Mitch’s about to defy her even more, when he spots something over her shoulder. His eyes go first wide, then he lets his head down. “Fuck. Fine.” He turns to me, letting go of my hand, finally. “Got to go take care of this and talk to my mother. You wait right here and…” He looks at Barb with determination. “We’ll leave as soon as possible.”
Now that we’re alone, Barb focus on me. “Honey. That man is impossible. But you love him, and you’re married now. Just promise me and try to be a good wife and don’t mess this up, okay?”
Ignoring her for her own health’s sake, I say, “Have you seen Nathan?” I look around. “Never mind. The buffet. Of course.”
Barb isn’t used to people defying her, which is why she just stands there looking at me in disbelief, when I simply walk away and over to Nathan, who’s giving into his munchies.
“Asshole,” I say more anxious than I wanted to. “Get the fuck ready. Mitch’s taking care of something with his mother and then we’re off. Where’s the case?”
“In the car. Already taking care of, Sarah.” He shoves another piece of pastry into his mouth. I swear, him and Mitch must be related. Just that there wasn’t enough brainpower for both of them, and Mitch cheated him out of it, as he does with everything else. What an unlikely friendship these two share.
I say, “Great. Listen up, go to the car and wait there. Don’t let your mother see you, and don’t get any stupid ideas. We’ll be right behind you. Got that, numb-nuts?” God, Sarah, who pissed in your breakfast?
Must be the stress of the wedding and the drugs, but I feel very frustrated out right now. Thinking of the money Mitch promised, though, makes it seem all worth it. With all that money, I can maybe get the hell out of this limited life, and start a real new life with Mitch.
Perhaps somewhere on the west coast, where all the rich and famous people are.
Nathan sneaks away after stuffing some more treats into his mouth, and I make my way to get Mitch,
I find him around the corner of the church, smoking a cigarette. He’s all red in his face and fuming with anger.
“What’s wrong, babe,” I say, not sounding as concerned as I actually feel. Again, must be the stress.
“Nothing. Fuck it.”
“Your mother? How long has it been since you last seen her? It must be stressful to—“
“Fuck it means fuck it, Sarah. Fuck that cunt. She shouldn’t have come here, and now she’s gone. Again. Like always. Let’s go. Let’s get the fuck out of here.” He flips his half-finished smoke away and puts his arm around me. The old hooker perfume mixes with the fresh tobacco smell. He squeezes me a little too hard, so I push him away.
“Come on, Mitch.” I take a step back. “Don’t let that woman ruin the day, kay? I know it sucks that she left you when your old man died. I get how it must be. I lost a parent, too, you know.” He wants to replay, but I cut him off. “Just forget about it. I got Nathan to start the car for us and wait there. Let’s just sneak around back and get out of here. But don’t be such a grump. We’re almost on our honeymoon, and you better straighten the fuck out. Or you won’t enjoy it, I guarantee you that, babe.” Give him the wink, the unspoken promise of wild, sweaty sex. Works every time.
He sighs and lights a new smoke. He only ever smokes that much when he’s upset. He better smarten up. Being married doesn’t mean I have to take his shit, and I sure as hell won’t. Pissing off Barb and sneaking out of my own wedding party might be a stupid idea, but it’s the first step towards ever getting to cut myself loose from this town. And Mitch and his drug-money are my ticket out of here—whether he likes it or not.
There you have it: the rush of the potential cash, honeymoon, and maybe even way out of this life, is getting to Sarah’s head.
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