Weddings are universally flamboyant. The pompous celebrations and ostentatious display of wealth are just another way proclaiming to the society that we, my family and I, matter. I mean, I do honor the fact that man and woman are joined together in holy matrimony. But the splurge, in my opinion, is unnecessary.
My family is pretty well off. You know what..scratch that. That is a gross understatement. My family is ridiculously rich. So you can imagine how grand my wedding is going to be. Especially the feast. My dad in fact ordered for so much wine, that just the thought of it makes me dizzy. I had to beg him to cancel some of the orders. I don’t want the guests to be drunk and listless. I want them to sing and dance and make merry. For today, Philip and I will celebrate our love. I never thought I would ever succumb to the fake pheromonic feeling called love. But I did. And Philip is my happily ever after.
The room is bursting with lovely music and joyful chatter. It seems the whole town is here today for our wedding. And that is when I first notice him. The man with the strange smile. He is here with his mother, one hand on her shoulder, a smile on his lips. The smile. It’s quite unsettling. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not a stalker-smile. It’s rather a compassionate one. Like he knows some deep secret of yours like he’s seen your soul. The kind of smile that reaches his eyes. Every time he smiles at me, my heart does a double somersault. I’ve seen this man before. I just don’t know where.
My cheeks ache due to smiling constantly at all the guests. It gets exhausting after a while. My mom has a worried look as she swims towards me through a sea of people. She touches my shoulder and whispers in my ear, “I think we have run out of wine”.
I stare at her, not knowing what to say. This is my fault. I had asked my dad to cancel the orders. My mom sighs, her eyes filled with pity, already dreading the accusations that would be thrown her way. Now she would have to spend the rest of her life listening to my Aunts complain about how my wedding feast was pathetically insufficient. After all that she did to give me a perfect wedding, I ruined it with my apparent righteousness.
I panic. This was supposed to be my perfect wedding. Wherever I look, I can see people talking about this. I see the servants whispering, my Aunts gossiping, the stranger talking to his mother. This is a catastrophe. I urge my self to relax. Maybe I’m overreacting. The stranger is obviously not talking to his mother about the wine, right? Even though they are walking towards the kitchen. I’m definitely overreacting. Or maybe even hallucinating. I panic even more. I take a deep breath and follow him. I’m surely out of my mind.
I’m stopped on the way by relatives who want to congratulate me, tell me how beautiful I look, how delicious the feast was. I just nod. When I reach the kitchens, I see the stranger ask the servants to serve the water stored in six large stone jars. “What is this man doing? That water is for washing your feet!!” I want to yell at him. But I just stand and stare. He then looks at me and smiles. Double somersault again.
The servants do as they are told. I close my eyes and turn away. My father won’t be able to bear this humiliation. I just pray the guests are so drunk, they wouldn’t notice they’ve been served water. But who am I kidding?
I hear murmurs behind me. When I turn I see people drinking and smiling and asking for more wine. Really? Are they that drunk? I run towards my mom. She smiles and offers me a drink. Never before in my life had I ever tasted such fine wine. This is unbelievable. I scan the crowd for the one man who made this possible. He smiles at me, then leaves. Now I know where I’ve seen that smile before. I’ve seen him in my prayers. He smiles as my God does.