So. It’s that time. The marrying time.
I know three women from my high school who have been recently married – two from my year, and one who was in choir with me. My friend from Purchase tied the knot a few months ago.
But now. Now, things have hit that next level of adulthood. One of my high school friends is on her way down the aisle.
Jen set the tone for my entire high school life. As freshmen, two of my friends and I were split from the rest of our middle school friends, all of them had been scheduled the earlier lunch time slot. The three of us perched on a free space in the busy cafeteria, scared to break any of the rules of that sacred jungle. Somehow, we met Jen, a senior, and she took us under her wing, letting us sit at her lunch table.
We were indoctrinated into her mishmash group – the gamers. Soon, we eager-faced little freshies were hanging out with them at the DDR club, and totally thinking we were the coolest ever. I would see Jen sneaking back into the school after she had ‘smoked’ cigarettes in the parking lot. She never actually smoked them, she recently revealed to me. At Jen’s graduation, and then her grad party, I met her sister, who was a year younger than me. Her sister was coming to the high school next year, and would turn into one of my best friends. Jes!
Jen went off to college, but her family became like a second home to me. It takes a village to grow up, and Jen’s family was, and is, part of my village.
And now Jen is getting married! Ahh! I wish her and her fiance nothing but happily-ever-afters. Her bridal shower was beautiful – set in peacock colors, and the favors were tea sachets (truly after my own heart, there). We sat Jen down on a throne so she could open her gifts, and Jes, our friends, and the bridesmaids became an assembly line of presenting her with her gifts.
We were pressed on time, so we each had a duty. Jes’s aunt instructed Stephanie and I to open the envelopes for Jen with the end of a spoon. Anything sharp at a bridal shower was bad luck, she told us, and we shouldn’t take any chances. But we severely underestimated the amount of presents, so we were told to unwrap them for the bride-to-be.
It felt so taboo to unwrap someone else’s gifts! Like I was the Grinch, stealing Christmas. We were flustered and out-of-breath as we tried to keep the presents moving to Jen, and then back around the table, after her audience, the brood of women had clucked their approval for each.
I looked up, and spying the only little girl in attendance, I said to one of the bridesmaids, “What we really need is a kid. This is a dream come true for a kid.”
So we drafted Jen’s five-year-old cousin to our ranks. Clutching a pink elephant plushie, the little girl was all-too-happy to tear apart wrapping paper and be the first to see what laid beneath. She also wanted the prettiest of the ribbons for herself, which I suppose was due payment.
By the end of the ceremony, I like we’d had just run a marathon. Our littlest soldier looked disappointed the pile of presents turned out, sadly, to be finite.
Still, the bridal shower was beautiful. It was tremendous to see this gathering of women come together for Jen, as we all send her good juju for life’s next adventure. She was beautiful, aglow with happiness. It’s incredible to see both her and Jes, grown from our early days of high school, into such gorgeous, extraordinary women.
Life, huh? It’s still a couple months til Jen’s wedding. I’ll watch my first friend get married! …And we’ll be sure to learn I’m one of those crying sentimental saps.