(Last Sunday: Chartan and Gina decide to get married.)
Brazil teared up as the city official read the wedding vows. Chartan and Gina didn’t notice him. He’d become lost in thought over the failures in his life: divorced, estranged from his two sons and incessant nightmares over pulling a trigger 40 years ago. These were the weights of his life. The tears were for simple happiness that never came. He sensed the joy between Chartan and Gina and wished he could share in it –at least he was the witness.
“Skyler, do you have the ring?”
Brazil nodded slowly at Chartan. He fumbled in his pocket and pulled out the ring Chartan had given him yesterday.
The ceremony lasted 10 minutes. No photos. Afterwards the trio walked across the street to a pizza parlor where they ordered an extra-large with the works and a pitcher of tap beer.
They were the only customers—it was 3 p.m. They chose a wood picnic table by the window that gave them an unobstructed view of City Hall with its four gray columns with poorly sculpted nudes at the top, indicative of god rush architecture.
“Well, do you feel different?” asked Brazil.
Chartan and Gina looked at each other, then kissed. They both replied “yes” followed by a laugh.
“You’re in sync,” said Brazil, stopping himself from adding, “for now.”
“Thanks for being here,” said Chartan.
“I wouldn’t have missed it.”
“Oh, my god, there’s Aunt Julie,” shouted Gina. “I’ll get her.”
Walking slowly up the city hall steps was a woman in a bright blue sun dress. She appeared to be looking up at the nudes.
A few minutes later Gina returned with her aunt in tow.
“Sorry I’m late as always,” said Julie, smiling at the two seated men she’d never met.
She sat down next to Brazil and raised her hand.
“Hopefully, Gina hasn’t said much about me. I’m a talker, one, and two, I have opinions and three, I bake a mean apple pie—won the blue ribbon three years in a row at the county fair. I don’t smoke, but like my booze. I’m independently broke and laugh too much.”
Gina put a hand by Julie’s mouth. “This is my husband of 30 minutes, Chartan.” She pointed to her spouse. “And this is our friend and witness, Skyler Brazil.”
Brazil smiled, as much as the use of “our” by Gina as for the vibrant woman seated next to him—her arm touched his side, just enough to make his heart race.
“I guess this is your wedding reception,” announced Julie as a teenage girl placed a giant pizza on the table.
”The best one I’ve ever had,” replied Gina.
Chartan cleared his throat. “This is more than a reception. “
Gina gently poked Chartan in the side with her elbow. “Don’t get heavy on us, after all this is a pizza parlor.”
Chartan smiled to cover up his reaction: I guess I’ll be losing my identity in this journey to be a husband. It’s okay. I want to share life with Gina and that means …
“A toast,” blurted Brazil.
Chartan eyed his friend—he was smiling with Julie clutching his arm. Brazil and Julie had known each other for a few minutes but acted if they were in the midst of a budding relationship. Chartan clicked his glass with the others, but they were fuzzy to him, instead, he was thinking about how quickly Gina and he had gone from meeting at the restaurant to living together to marriage. Had it been six months? Maybe that is a long time these days?
“Chartan, are you day dreaming?” asked Gina.
He looked at his wife. “Of course, I am—I think it’s the beer.” She laughed. He looked across the table—Julie and Brazil were kissing.
My god, they’ll be married by the time we finish eating, thought Chartan.
Suddenly, Gina grabbed and kissed Chartan.
The teenage waitress, mouth agape, watched the foursome kissing in the afternoon.
“What’s up with them?” asked the cook, standing behind her.
“It’s a wedding reception,” she said.
“All of them, I think.”
(To be continued next Sunday)