Six Months to… Love
The sun rested high in the sky, providing the perfect amount of sunshine and warmth to the field. White, swirling clouds hung up in the air to occasionally break the sunlight. A large white tent was erected in the middle of this field, being bombarded by the soothing gusts of wind that invaded. Several yards away from the tent was a podium with the crucifix nailed to it. A white carpet unfurled a straight line to the podium, surrounded by white chairs on either side. The crashing sounds of the white waves on the beach down the hill overrode the winds’ whispering.
Unfamiliar people filled the seats, mostly on one side. They were Puerto Rican people. The fresh air mixed with the salty smell of the sea. I stood in front of the podium in an onyx black tuxedo I’d never thought I’d have to wear. My hair was up, tight against my skull. I’ve recently cut my hair shorter, but it grew quicker than I thought. I could feel the wedding band against my thigh in my pocket. White gold with a blue sapphire as the gem, her birth stone. I took a deep breath of the air, as I looked at Catherine’s friends and family and back to the preacher, priest, pastor, whatever he wanted to be refered to.
Carla sat up from her front seat and walked to me. She was in an aged white blouse, chain-like belt, off white skirt and black high heels that made her stumble on the sloped hill. Her hair was down, to show the bounce of her still vivid black hair. The sun gave her complexion a fair look. She took the high heels off as she came to me, shorter now.
“You nervous?” she asked.
“You can say that.”
“I already did.”
“A lot of people,” I pointed out.
“Catherine is pretty popular. You’re marrying a very nice girl.”
I chuckled, “So I’ve heard,”
She places her hand on my shoulder, “Don’t even think about trying to leave. There is only one alternative and it’s off that cliff,” she pointed.
“You sound like an Italian more than Hispanic, Aunt Carla.”
Carla rolled her eyes, “You can’t pick family,”
I looked over at the priest who was fumbling through the Bible. Carla was studying me, “You’ve been here for six months and I have not yet seen you at church or with a Bible.”
I shrugged, “I’ve been here for six months and I still haven’t learned Spanish.”
Carla snickered to herself. She quickly put her heels back on and returned to her seat when we heard the organ play. The little flower girl was out of the tent first. Gently tossing the purple wild flowers, white Lilies, yellow daisies and red roses as she waltz with her curly black hair bouncing, her dress matched the four sultry bridesmaids that followed her.
They dressed in cream violet dresses that flowed with the wind, slits on the dress went up to their upper thigh. The bridesmaids ambled behind the flower girl, smiling for their friend or cousin’s big day (I never figured out if they were related to Catherine or not). Their hair was let down and a purple flower stuck in their hair; they looked like two pairs of twins.
Finally, the maids stood opposite of me. Everyone rose as Catherine and Uncle Hector strolled out. Uncle Hector was in a dull black tuxedo, with a red rose in the front pocket. Catherine was far from dull. She was simply breathtaking. Her raven black hair was pulled back; her eyeliner was perfect with her complexion and had no veil over her head. The wedding dress, white as snow, had a slit up to her mid-thigh as she gently strolled. The dress hugged her youthful body, a gold band wrapped around her curvy hips. Her hands held a bouquet of a dozen vivid roses. Her smile could not be removed, and it grew more with each step towards me, towards us.
Hector stopped and let her go on the risen platform with the priest and I. She rose to the platform with me, as the priest gave me thirteen golden coins on a silver platter. I took the coins and gently gave it to Catherine, who bowed her head slightly.
I don’t remember all the priest said; I was looking at Catherine too much. I did hear him order me to exchange the rings.
“Is there is anyone who believes these two should not be married, let them speak now or forever hold their peace.”
Silence, all but the waves.
Suddenly, “I object!”
Catherine and I spun around.
“On what cause?” Hector ordered.
Walking up the aisle came my reason. A sly grin, with a cigarette hanging from his lips, camo pants and a white wife beater. “Because this gringo needs a best amigo.” It was Kenny!
He walked up to the platform, looking at Catherine up and down, then back at me.
“Ya ain’t ’bout to get married without me.”
“Glad you showed up.”
“You’re my bro. Why would I miss this?”
“Is there anymore objections or are we good to go?” snapped one of the bridesmaids.
Kenny eyed her up and down and looked back to the crowd, “I don’t know. Anymore objections?”
Kenny was met with silent, but raging looks. He turned back to the priest and us, “We’re good to go, Rabbi.”
“Father,” the priest corrected.
Kenny walked to my other side and stood quietly.
“…I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride.”
Finally, with no objections, I turned to her. Tears of joy threatened her perfect eyeliner. We finally kissed, as I took her into an embrace. I heard cheers from behind me and as I pulled back, I felt Kenny’s bony hand smack my back in congratulations. The friends and family were shaking hands with Hector and Carla.
Speakers were set up with a DJ, hollering something in Spanish. He must be a local celebrity DJ.
Catherine and I walked to the base of the hill as I heard the familiar guitar riffs. It was Catherine and I’s song when we were dating. It played as we danced in a giant circle for the entire song, faster and slower as the tempo went. The song ended as peacefully as it went but followed by a Spanish song as the entire group enclosed the circle with dances. All except for Kenny, who stood near the opening of the tent, his cigarette still in his mouth. He motioned for me to follow him in, so I took Catherine by the arm and joined him. Rolling of thunder shook the ground as we entered the tent. The guests ignored the warnings of rain and continued to dance.
“Y’all like to dance,” said Kenny as he tossed his cigarette out the opening of the tent.
“We love to have fun,” Catherine beamed.
“Ya lucky I came when I did. Else ya be at your funeral and not your wedding,”
“What you mean?” I asked, surprised.
“Alexander is promisin’ anyone in the government two ranks up promotion for your body. Not sure why, guess to make an example out of you. Stealin’ from Russia or Germany, or whatever country ya folks steal from.”
“Do they know where I am?”
“No. But most are goin’ to Cuba. Since they’ve taken over Cuba, it’s like ya magically went.”
“So what are you going to do?” asked Catherine, holding my hand.
“He has to come back and make an example out of Alexander.”
“How the hell am I supposed to do that?”
“Go back and fight him. Kill him or die tryin’. Earn ya spot in that Valhalla ya been spouttin’ about all these years.”
“Sure, I’ll go back. Go right up to him without anyone wanting to take a shot at me.”
“Ya think I don’t have a plan? Ya should have more faith in me.”
“I’m listening,” I folded my arms in front of my chest.
“There is a cabin on my uncle’s land in Pennsylvania. No one will find ya. Just keep a low profile.”
“Great plot. Now how we going to get to the cabin?”
“Leave it up to me. I’ll come for ya when I know the docks are safe.”
“Docks? We’re going by boat?” Catherine asked; her beautiful complexion went pale.
“Ya Hispanic. Ya should be used to it.”
“Watch it, Kenny.”
“I am watchin’. Watchin’ her get sea sick already.”
I shook my head. America or anywhere else, he will always be himself. I went into a more somber direction, “How you been since… you know?”
The fun escaped from Kenny’s face, “Since watchin’ my old man killin’ himself? I’m actually okay. I know he’s in a better place.”
I nodded, but said nothing.
“He wanted out and he got out. But he taught me a lot and he doesn’t even know it.”
Aunt Carla and Uncle Hector came rushing into the tent, sweaty from the rapid dancing in the circle outside. Carla tripped over her high heels and cursed them in Spanish. She got up and took off her heels and just chucked them. She came towards us again, this time gracefully.
“Catherine, Shane, you must dance again. This is your wedding!”
“I can’t dance without my best man,” I smirked.
Kenny popped his head up like a ground hog sensing danger, “Say what?”
Uncle Hector threw his bulky arms around the scrawny frame of Kenny, and bulldozed to the circle of people and just threw him in.
Kenny spun through the air ‘til he was caught by a female version of Hector! Very large in width, but couldn’t be past 5 foot 5. She had a bear hug on my best friend like he’s her long lost lover and swung him around with very little caution as she danced. Catherine and I laughed as we entered the circle again, dancing. The sun that was once high was now hanging low over the ocean horizon when the dancing finally ended.
Uncle Hector and Catherine’s other cousins blind folded us and took us away from the dying party for our final wedding present. I was holding Catherine’s hand as they finally stopped and took off my blindfold. My eyes bulged, my jaw dropped and my knees got weak.
I blinked to make sure it was a reality. Sitting proud, not a scratch against the Jade green paint, all shine was a 1970 GTO, like my father’s car I had in high school. I ambled away from Catherine’s hand to it, as I could hear the engine in my head already. I could speak only in a choked and shocked voice.
“H-How did you get this?”
Uncle Hector shook his head, “Doesn’t matter. Only one thing matters now,” he pulled out the keys from his pocket and stuck it out in front of him, “You have it. Now go. Enjoy your wedding night,”