I woke up to donuts and D’s instruction.
He looked at me and smiled. “I got married months ago.”
“I know. I gave you a kick ass toast,” I said.
“I remember. Listen—”
“It was a better toast than your Best Man’s toast. I don’t think he will ever forgive me for that.”
“I need you to shut up right now,” D said. “I know what you are facing today. I have it all figured out. I will get you there but you have to do exactly what I tell you to do when.” He reached into his pocket.
“Do you have the ring?” I asked.
He pulled it out and showed it to me.
“How did you know I would ask about that?” I said pointing at it.
“I know what you need today,” he said.
I laughed. “Okay, I’m all yours.”
“Now I have the entire thing timed out. Do what I say when I say to do it.”
“Done,” I said. “What comes first?”
“Donuts,” he said, pointing at the box. “Just one.”
“Can I eat it later? My stomach—”
“Later you will be wearing a tux. You eat it now,” D said. “You have to trust me.”
And I did. I trusted him completely. I grabbed my donut and started eating.
“I want to talk to Bekah,” I said.
“I already called her. She is fine. She is up, she has eaten and is getting ready. She doesn’t need anything and is surrounded by people ready to give her anything if she develops a need,” D said. “She says hi and that she loves you and can’t wait to see you.”
I finished my donut.
“Bathroom. We have to shave your head,” he said. We shaved my head and I took a shower at his command. When I walked out, he had my boxers waiting for me with a T shirt. I dressed in it and walked out of the bathroom.
“Second donut now,” he said, pointing at the box.
I ate a second donut.
“Now go get dressed. Do not try to put on your tux coat. When you are done with everything else, call me in and I will put it on for you.”
“I can manage,” I said.
“Dammit, Jesse, listen. If you try to put it on you will pull the rest of your clothing untucked. The shirt will come up, the vest will be wrong. You gotta trust me, man. I’ve got this.”
We got dressed and all of my guys were waiting outside when I got there. Some of them had stayed at the resort but they were all standing outside waiting for me when I came out. I hugged them all and they told me how great I looked.
I was wearing black, on black, on black, on black. Black shirt. Black vest. Black coat. Black tie. My coat was long in the back and tapered on the sides. It made room for the bastard sword strapped to my side with the black grip and the brass cross bar and pommel. It swung at a perfect height and I felt more real with it on at that moment than I ever had. All of the guys had their tuxes and swords and they looked amazing.
Now every sword hangs different and every type of sword needs a different kind of frog. The frog is the system of leathers that holds the sword to the belt. I had gotten the proper frogs for every different kind of sword but Burg was not happy with his.
Burg wore a Viking long sword. It was perfect for him but it hung perfectly vertical and when he had it on and his tux jacket on, it rendered the sword invisible. The sword hung straight against his thigh and it looked like he was the only groomsman without a sword. He was forced to pull the coat back and grip the handle making it obvious that he was carrying it.
He thought this uncomfortable and annoying. How could I tell him that to me it was comforting? All day I watched him grip the handle of his sword as he walked around the wedding. He seemed ready to cut anyone in half if they stepped out of line. The only complaint he had about the wedding was the thing that helped me stay calm all day.
We drove to the Lake house and Bell went out ahead of me. He found Flower and told her I had arrived.
These two people, this groomsman and bridesmaid, would have conversations like this all afternoon. Me and Bekah had decided that we did not want to see each other at all until the very moment she was walking down the aisle. So, we elected Bell for my side and Flower for hers to go ahead of us all day announcing that the other was moving from one place to the next and make sure that either she or I were properly hidden.
Job had a task that he performed very well. Every time I stuck my hand in his direction, he put a cigarette in it. He lit it, one for me and himself, and Bell would run, tell Flower we were outside smoking and the two of us would have a cigarette. I asked him at one point how many cigarettes he had. I was smoking more than I usually did and I was concerned I would run out.
He reached into three different pockets and pulled out three unopened packs of cigarettes. Then he shook the one at me that he had. “You are set. I am only smoking when you do and I have a carton in the car. Do not worry about cigarettes. I have you covered.”
All of my guys were told black shoes. I didn’t want them to have to wear uncomfortable shoes so I told them to pick out their shoes themselves. Bell wore dress shoes. D wore Doc Martens. Job wore Crocs. Burg wore Doc Martens. And Robert wore moccasins he had made by hand the night before. They wore black shirts, with white vests and a black coat with a white tie. D wore a black shirt with a silver vest and a black coat with a silver tie.
At one point, Plan came into the house we were in and I grabbed her in a hug. She wore a traditional Indian Sari with her silk scarf bound around her head. She looked like an exotic gypsy and she grabbed me and hugged me and squealed when she said that soon I would be her brother.
Bliss was the Matron of Honor and she wore an Asian dress. Chanel wore a wedding dress. Flower wore a formal dress and Cam wore a Native American dress she had sewn herself out of white doe skin. Every girl had arranged her scarf differently. Every one of them wore white. They carried black fans instead of flowers.
We took pictures. Our photographer was also a member of SCA. So, he had taken so many pictures of swords and men carrying them. When he heard that we were having swords at our wedding he went nuts. He had all kinds of ideas for pictures and we started taking all of them. We took pictures for almost an hour doing poses like me with my back to a groomsman facing off against the rest of the wedding party. We did one where we had our swords driven into a bench and we were looking across the lake at a target we were plotting against.
While we were all playing with our swords, Hymnal stomped out snarling. She told me to get back in the house. Our picture time was over. She yelled it was time for Bekah to take pictures, and that this was over right now. So we left. I had been yelled at at my wedding. But we went back into the house, disappointed at not being able to finish our photo shoot.
Flower showed up minutes after. She was very polite and political in imparting Bekah’s rage. She said Hymnal was wrong, that none of her girls were even ready to take pictures. Some weren’t in their dresses yet, and Cam hadn’t even arrived. Now my guess is Hymnal did not like the swords at all. Her and Vigil had made some snarky comments that me and Bekah had ignored. It was too much watching all of us play with our swords, and a professional photographer taking it seriously.
We went back outside. We finished playing around. The girls would take their pictures at the resort later, and we all had a blast!
I stood at the end of an aisle that intersected with the middle of the main aisle. I waited there while everyone walked and got into position. When Bekah came, I met her at the halfway point to make a fool out of myself.
I had come up with an idea. What if I presented her mother with a flower when I took Bekah’s arm? Bliss made a velvet black pillow and I got a large beautiful white flower and I met them at the middle of the aisle. I was mic’d and I was going to get on one knee, present the flower, and say something flashy.
Bekah told me what was to come and warned me that I should write the speech before the moment. But I am better at ad-libbing and I told her that Smear Lord of Ire would know what to say. She tried to warn me again but I brushed her off.
When I got there that day and I dropped to my knee, D showed up with the flower on the pillow, and I looked up at her mother to say my beautiful words. I looked at Bekah out the corner of my eye and her warning came to my mind. She was in fact too beautiful to think in front of.
She had braided her hair in dozens of braids after dying her hair black. We had decided that instead of a veil she would wear a traditional Egyptian headdress we had found made of white beads. She glowed. I had never seen anything like it and the dress that we had bought in 1997 fit her perfectly. It had a cut out of a heart in the middle of her back that at that moment I could not see because of the sheer shawl that she wore.
I will stare amazed at that image for the rest of my life. Smear shows it to me when things get dark at my desk and I need life blown back into me.
Katherine stood up for me. Her leash was held by Job and she was dressed in a glittering collar. He kept a steady stream of tiny treats going to her with pauses every five seconds. She sat looking at him at attention while the ceremony went on.
Bliss had Morgan but she was stingy with the treats and he was not having it. He whined and he pawed and he whined some more. She gave him a treat every few minutes and finally in his frustration he came to us. He laid down beside Bekah and grumbled out his complaint.
We took communion with a chalice that D had given me the night before. It was decorative and made of pewter and depicted the Archangel Michael defeating Satan and tossing him from heaven. He gave me the cup without even knowing we were taking a communion.
Everything just worked out like that.
We did the Tasting of the Temperaments. Bekah had found this ceremony during her research. It was a variety of tastes that we were to eat before we said our vows to symbolize the different flavors of marriage. We ate something spicy, something sweet, something bitter, and something bland. She scooped her something spicy. I did a cautious dip.
The music was played by a friend of mine from high school and Flower’s husband Doc. They sounded perfect. She came in to “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” by Elton John and we walked out to “Drops of Jupiter” by Train as played by our two-man band.
At the resort there were a lot of pictures to be taken. And in a massive hall filled with a hundred chatting people Bekah realized she had lost her fan. It was black and gold and gorgeous; it was her bouquet and she had put it down somewhere without realizing it. She came to me frantic but I had no idea where it was. I walked up to a capable person and I grabbed him by the shoulders and looked him in the eye.
“What do you need?” Summit said.
“Bekah can’t find her fan and we need it for pictures.”
He was no one official. Just a guest that I had faith in. He nodded. He said he would take care of it and he walked away. It was five minutes before he showed up again carrying that fan. I never got the story but this is just the kind of magic that follows that man everywhere.
Misty, Bell, and Chalice grabbed me at one point and said, “You have to come and see this right now!”
I asked Bekah if I could take off for a moment and she said yeah, they were doing family photos and bridesmaids photos and I had time. I ran off and this group of people took me to see the Crystal Ballroom.
It was dim. With little to no lighting save the white lights that the high table was draped in and the lights of the stage. They had put a dance floor in the middle of the room and surrounded it with guest tables.
Above our head table hung the family banner. Bekah, in the planning, had created a family crest for us and it hung above where we would sit draped with a long white sash.
The cakes were perfect. One for her was a yin and yang cake, then we had a groom’s cake that was made of rice crispy treats. It was a castle with a dragon on top and a peanut butter whipped cream moat. The castle flew our crest.
The tables were set with black cloths and white napkins. The tables were not numbered. There were nine tables and we chose a different white flower for each one. At the opening of the room there was a table with name cards lined up by a flower. That was your table. The weapon stand was waiting with a ramp leading to it and a ramp leading away.
Everything was gorgeous. Everything was exactly how we planned it.
There was a kink right as we were about to do our entrance into the ballroom. The wedding coordinator came up to us and said that for insurance reasons they had to take the swords out of the room after we had placed them.
Bekah snapped at them that they would do no such thing.
“We will place them in a closet nearby so that no one can touch them or get to them during the party,” the man said.
“We told you this was a deal breaker. That the swords would never leave our sights. That no one would ever touch them. We want pictures and we want people to be able to come and look. You are not taking them away. We have a contract!”
No one fucks with a bride on her wedding day, insurance or no insurance.
The funniest thing was the entrance. When the wedding party walked in, they stood behind their chairs waiting for us to arrive. When we got there, we all sat as one but before we did every groomsman wearing a belt, a frog, and a sheath took their belts, frogs, and sheaths off and dropped them on the floor behind their chair.
It sounded like thunder. It was so loud. The hollow risers that the table had been set upon echoed loudly and everyone jumped.
We ate our salad course and our guitarist came out with a single chair in the middle of the dance floor as we watched from our risen chairs and on his guitar, he performed “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen. It was breathtaking. It felt to us as though we were royalty being sang to at court by a gifted bard.
At one point the coordinator approached Bekah and asked if everything was as she wanted it.
“Everything is good,” she said. “It is going well.”
“What do we have to do to make it perfect?” he said.
She laughed and said he was right. It was perfect.
We danced the first dance and at the end without any choreography or planning we performed an impromptu flourish and bow. I spun her out facing one side of the room and she curtsied and I bowed. I took her in and without planning it or even knowing what I was doing, I spun her out again. This time she was facing the opposite side of the room and we did a curtsy and a bow.
We danced to To Make You Feel My Love. The Bob Dylan version.
Karaoke was immense. It took over everything. My bride got on stage and rapped “Lose Yourself” by Eminem. Bell, Burg and I got up and sang “You Never Even Call Me By My Name” by David Allen Coe. I sang “Born To Be Wild” with Job, and Lioness and Tigress got up and sang Dolly Parton’s “Nine to Five.” I joined them for a while but Dolly is out of my range and it was just coming out a chicken scream, so I walked away.
I danced the mother dance with Tigress and Lioness’s mother, who I will call The Queen of Cats. She has been there for me all of my life and sided with me on all of it. I danced half the dance with her and half with D’s mother, another powerful woman from my life who always backed me and was nothing but kind and loving to me every day she knew me.
When we got to our suite, we were too tired to open the care package they had left us. Too exhausted to light the romantic candle they had set out. And too sleepy to break open the champagne they had given us. We had our wedding night, that I am too much of a gentleman to tell you about but blew my mind. And we collapsed.
We slept the sleep of the weary.
We slept the sleep of the victorious.
This chapter is from Reality of the Unreal Mind, Vol. 2: Normal Street.