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Sell Your Soul
Bare feet with chipped red nail polish on my toes dig in the sand, on the bay side shore of Long Island with the sun shining and low humidity– a perfect day, really, where I’m accidentally at my second wedding for the weekend. If you’re wondering, “how the fuck do you end up at so many weddings?” Trust me, I was asking myself just the same.
On this sunny Sunday, my brother and I were time killing before having dinner with my parents before their send off back to Florida. My brother had bought a new (old) truck, so I suggested we do some off roading on the beach. The truck drives on the sand like it doesn’t know it’s on the beach. We stop as something catches my brothers eye.
“I know those kids. Those are my friends.”
Looking over his shoulder, I notice that I know some of them too, including a childhood friend dressed in a black cloak.
“What are they doing?”
We walk down to the beach to find one of my brothers boys (who I’ve known forever too) is marrying his girl (who happened to work in a comedy club I frequent at) and our buddy in the robe is marrying them. It’s a small gathering. Family, some close friends. A cooler full of beer.
“Well, now you guys have to stay!”
Mitch and I exchange glances and shrug. So that’s how I accidentally went to a second wedding that weekend.
“Boy done gone sold his soul!” Mitch says, driving through the back trails of the beach. “Nothing wrong with that…. as long as you sell your soul to the right people.”
My soul is not for sale. In fact, it no longer even belongs to me. My best friend, Jimmy, tricked me into selling it to him back in middle school when I was told I was “signing a card for his sick grandma” and it turned out to be a contract for my soul. Eh, it’s better off in his hands anyway. But I would warn any lover or devil who tries to covet it from him— Jimmy is a harsh judge and he loves me despite, if not especially, for my odd attributes.
The night before I also attended a wedding. Just as a note to the world, you guys are allowed to get married without me as a witness. Though my frequent wedding going, if nothing else, proves that I actually have more allies in this universe than a hermit should.
At this wedding, I would know really no one save for the bride and groom, two people I once worked with at a shitty job. They were the Jim and Pam of our office. I would sit at my desk thinking, “when are these two just gonna fuck already?” And now they are married.
The ceremony was fairy tale beautiful next to a stream, under clear skies and stars. Her family is Ukrainian, his Indian. At the cocktail hour, I keep a low profile. Drink, eat, people watch. A merging of first generation immigrants has its own special and unique rewards for a bystander like me; a writer, a student of human behavior.
When I take my seat at my assigned table at reception, a middle aged Asian woman (who’s daughter is best friends with the bride) is without her husband for the evening and insists I sit next to her— we can be each other’s dates! We exchange introductions. She’s rocking a royal blue dress with red lipstick. Despite promising myself I wouldn’t have more than a couple drinks, that promise seemed to be a thing of the past. Before getting up for my refill, I asked my date if she wanted any thing. She said she doesn’t drink.
“Okay… what about a little toking then?” I suggest, miming smoking a joint.
“Oh Lori!” She exclaims while slapping my arm, “you are so bad!”
If she only knew.
When I think about various stages in my life, I’ve come to see clearly that I’ve never really been the center of attention type person, a true introvert. However, I do love having an audience. And I don’t necessarily mean a crowd in a comedy club. That’s a drug. I mean, wherever and whenever I’ve been in my life, I’ve always made one or two close allies– people who will laugh at my twisted sensibility and natural sarcasm. This is why I’m invited to many weddings. Because as I skip from job to job, from this path or that one, I do actually form strong bonds with certain people, even in a short lived time. The spark always starts with a laugh or a joke. The best people have the ability to make fun of everything, including themselves, and yet despite what may seem like a mean mockery on the surface, have an equally deep level of empathy. These are the types of people I will always want to be near.
I couldn’t recall exactly what story I was relaying to my date, but in frustration of not being able to hear my soft spoken mumble, this tiny woman grabbed my chair and dragged me as close as I could possibly be next to her so to understand me. If I were any closer, I’d be sitting on her lap. As basic conditioning would go, I was enjoying the sting of my arm from being slapped because it meant I made her laugh. With a few drinks in me, my tongue holds back no mind of mischief, and she enjoys every word of it.
Sometimes, when you go a wedding, you realize just how fucking insane your family is. This wedding was fun, if not tame (comparatively so), even I did some dancing, but if this were my family– we’d all be drunk and jiving maniacally on the dance floor. It’s almost worth getting married just for the majestic mayhem that occurs when my family reunites.
For dinner, I ordered the duck. Which was amazing. My wedding date, despite being twice my age and Asian, had never tried duck before. I believe I made a borderline racist joke here. I insisted she try some of my duck and at first she made a face that she was unsure. Then she finished her piece and said it was absolutely delicious. I cut her off another larger portion and she slapped me because I was “too skinny” and “needed it more than she did.” “It’s already on your plate!” With gratitude she consumed the duck. “It’s an honor,” I told her, “to both be your date and be the first person to introduce duck to you.”
During the best man’s speech, he cautions the hardships of marriage. All the married people nod in agreement. Perhaps I’m deluded when it comes to believing that relationships shouldn’t be a chore? Or maybe that’s my parents fault for being soul mates and making it look easy.
Or maybe, just maybe, you’re so much better off into being tricked to giving away your soul for absolutely nothing. Because exchanging it for something or someone comes with expectation, and how often do relationships fail because of expectation? I suspect most of them.