yours, tiramisu

death of a bachelorette

I'm in St Louis right now with three hours to kill before my flight home. I chose to fly Southwest this trip for the first time in a while because they had a sale on fares, and I think it might be my last time too. All three of my flights have been delayed, for a total of something like six hours. I know the tickets were cheap, but are these delays really accidents when they happen every time? If all of your flights are late two hours you might as well let me know early so I can wait at home instead of at the airport.

On the flight here the lady in the window seat next to me kept raising the window shade to look outside outside. I assume she did that in anticipation of the (partial) solar eclipse today. Sadly, I don't think we caught it and I'm a little distraught I missed the last socially acceptable time to stare at the sun for a long time. I'd very much like to be the kind of person that travels to see solar eclipses and makes a big fuss about celebrating them, but that will likely remain a pipe dream.

In retrospect this week of vacation felt like an eternity. I've been putting off writing about it, mostly because I have so many disorganized half-baked thoughts about the wedding. In other circumstances I would probably just let them fade away, but I know Future Me would be angry if I didn't write about my first wedding, so I'll do my best to catalogue everything bouncing around in my head right now.

First things first: the wedding was lovely. The venue sat among towering trees of luscious green overlooking the cold waters of the bay, and from my seat in the dining room I could see a small section of the Golden Gate Bridge. About a hundred people attended, which to me felt almost overwhelming. I don't remember the last time I attended an event of this magnitude, a feeling exacerbated by the different generations, distinct social circles, and unfamiliar faces represented.

That said, I had a blast celebrating at the wedding. It felt like the high school reunion we never had, or as I put it, high stakes prom. Some of my old classmates (and their parents) didn't recognize me after so many years away, which makes me laugh. Many of the petty differences that separated us in high school have faded in the years since, and now it's easier for me to enjoy the simple company of people I grew up with and who knew me as an awkward angsty teenager. One of them remarked how the more things change, the more they stay the same, and I couldn't agree more. Small cosmetic differences aside, all of my classmates are exactly as I remember them. Some of us are still finding our way in life, but everyone has grown into assured adult versions of the kids I remember and seeing them blaze their trails fills me with pride.

The day before the wedding the best man and maid of honor hosted a welcome picnic where we mingled and played games like telephone charades and newlywed trivia. I didn't realize it then, but that was the real event. (The pomp and circumstance of the wedding didn't allow for much time to meet new people.) I regret to say that I sort of squandered the opportunity to meet all these people I'd heard about but never properly met1. Despite being an extravert, my social skills were never strong to begin with, and they've atrophied to concerning depths since I moved back home during the pandemic. I wish we'd had more time, though it's on me for not conquering my fears and befriending more than the three or four new faces I met.2

Meeting new faces and catching up with old ones reminds me that I'm stil unprepared to answer the questions what do you do now? and what are you up to now? because well, I don't really know either. My instinct to be honest is at odds with my desire to not convey my overwhelming sense of despair to unsuspecting passerby, so in typical me fashion I short-circuit and bumble my way through a half-answer, feeling like a fraud and desperately hoping that my confusion and despair aren't palpable.

(It doesn't help that almost all of my old high school classmates seem to have it figured out. Among them are multiple consultants at Big 4 firms, a tech entrepreneur, multiple Ivy League medical school students, and software engineers at the biggest of names.)

Oops, there I go rambling about feeling behind again. Let's get back to the wedding.

Since this was my first wedding it felt a little surreal to experience firsthand something I had previously only read about in books or seen in movies, especially with many of my friends around me and one of my closest ones at the center of the proceedings. I had a vague idea of the events that typically make up a wedding, like the ceremony, reception, speeches, and dance, and as they happened I fit the abstract puzzle pieces together in order in my head, a blurry windswept patchwork quilt of the bridesmaids' emerald satin dresses and the blazers of black and blue.

During the tear-filled ceremony and the speeches of the fathers of the groom & bride I looked around with what felt like the only pair of dry eyes in the room. People suppressed sobs and bit their lips to keep their eyes from overflowing. I was happy to see my friend fulfill a lifelong dream of hers too, but my heart didn't so much as stir during any of it.

My friends asked me about it afterwards. You didn't cry during the ceremony or the speeches? No, I replied, a little sheepishly. Did you feel anything? Erm, outside of a conscious awareness that I was witnessing something very touching, not really. They concluded that maybe I'm just too logical, though their questions betrayed their bewilderment. How could you see your close friend's dad break down and not feel anything? I don't know either. Maybe I'm more like my impassive parents than I think.

My friends aren't the first to remark on what some might describe as my severe lack of empathy or emotion. I'm not sure how to interpret it. It's not like I don't ever feel things — I can sit in my room and cry after a good movie/song/poem. But there are so many other occasions where I feel that surely, I should be feeling something yet I can't detect so much as a flicker inside. Maybe some emotional pipe is plugged deep down inside, or maybe I'm less in touch with my emotions than I think, or perhaps there's something seriously amiss upstairs. I know I shouldn't beat myself up over feeling or not feeling a certain way, but when I'm the only one who feels completely blank or empty inside I can't help but share my friends' concerns.

Looking back at how I felt leading up to the wedding, my detachment probably played a larger role in this than I realize, though I'm glad to say that many of those misgivings evaporated when I saw my friend overflowing with joy and surrounded by so much love. I hope that change lasts. I hate resentment, that dirty feeling.

And for you, the bride, my good old friend, all of that was a long-winded way of saying: congratulations. I'm so happy for you. I know you won't see this here (and maybe that's for the better) but I'll get the important parts to you in a letter soon. I hope that this chapter of your life is everything you dreamt it to be and I don't know a person more deserving of all this joy. As you like to say, love you long time. Come home soon.

(Aaaand now as I write that I'm tearing up in the middle of the airport! Agh, maybe my system is just delayed.)

  1. Including a bridesmaid my friend (the bride) told me singled out a photograph of me on her dorm wall to ask who I was!

  2. Talking to new people is a lot like taking cold showers: it feels fine once you start but getting in feels frighteningly impossible.

#english #life #love #wordvomit