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on What You Wish For
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- Lori Palminteri
on I May Need Your Help
@loripalminteriTweets by @loripalminteri
The Red Wedding
Despite the end, the all together too bizarre and bloody finale of the evening, it is still probably the best wedding I’ve ever attended.
It was one of my many cousin’s weddings. Out of 19 first cousins, the bride was not only my cousin but a best friend throughout my entire life. And so, naturally, I was in the wedding party. The wedding party arrives at my Aunt’s house early in the day for hair and makeup and pre-wedding pictures. This is where I become a truly vital part of any wedding party. I’ve made it my sworn duty that every one’s mimosa glass is flowing. It’s a task I’m successful in.
During the ceremony I even got a little teary-eyed which I’d be quick to blame on the booze but my cousin and her husband are so properly matched, it made me so happy that one of my favorite people on the planet was marrying someone as special as she is. I’m happy to report that many of my cousins are prime examples to me of happy and in love couples.
At reception, I was full blown drunk. So drunk, that my dad, an Aunt and one of my other cousins said something to me about laying off of it. It both offended me and shocked me a little. Since I was an underaged kid drinking booze, I’d been known to hold my liquor quite well. Many mornings waking up lamenting how fucked up I was, friends were surprised I was that far gone.
But then I realized something. My sister, a notoriously sloppy drunk, was pregnant with my nephew at the time. Without her wasted appearance, I was the obvious drunk cousin. Damn it. I need my sister to not be pregnant so she can camouflage my in-toxicity.
The main reason I’m disclosing that I had been drinking heavily, for about 12 hours straight, is because it’s fair to you, oh reader, that you’re aware your narrator was under the influence. That I am not being dishonest with you, however, I wouldn’t trust my own memory for being 100% truth.
Merriment, boozing, eating, dancing, lots of dancing, joking, laughing, lots of hysterical laughter, at others expenses and ourselves. Movie quotes. Memories of our past. Hopes for the future. Present absurdities fodder for future past memories.
After the wedding, we’re to convene at the lobby of the hotel where out of town guests were staying/drink at the bar there. There were two other weddings in post celebration and I recall a mixup of dominos pizza delivery at some point. Some of my cousins can drink so much and they peer pressure me and I’m not so susceptible to peer pressure, unless those peers are my cousins.
We stretched the night as far as it could go and then everyone decided it was time we all pass the fuck out. One of my other cousins was supposed to get us and bring us back to my parents (who still lived on Long Island at the time) or my uncles house. Honestly, I don’t remember.
Upon waiting for one of our other cousins to come get us, the bride (also my cousin) texted me that she needed help getting her veil out her of her hair because her new husband was hurting her when he was trying to do it (hahaha!). I was with the maid of honor (also my cousin), who was the brides sister. MoH was not the first point of contact to assist the bride which we all laughed at.
Me, MoH, my brother, his then girlfriend and my tall cousin (over 6 foot) retreated back to the hotel to the bridal sweet. On our elevator ride up, it was us five, plus this other guy (presumably from one of the the other weddings) standing in the corner.
We were all giggling and half delirious from a long yet glorious day and night. We were laughing and making fun of Cubans (my brother’s then girlfriend was Cuban). In retrospect, I assume this other guy in the elevator thought we were making fun of him? Myself, my cousin, my brother’s ex, are pretty girls. My brother and my cousin are your alpha males.
We got off the elevator and went to the bridal suite. The bride’s hair was a real tangled mess.
“What the fuck did you do?!”
“I don’t know. It’s a mess.”
“You realize I’m the worst person to ask to help you for this.”
“No. My sister is.”
Her sister agreed.
My brother and two cousins were eating a try of deli meat and cookies on the corner desk. They were starving even though they just ate dominos pizza. People in my family have notorious bottomless appetites yet remain thin. Huzzah for genetics!
Finally, I get the bride’s hair untangled, and we make jokes about them making love.
When we exit the bridal suite, my tall cousin leaves first.
The dude from the elevator was standing by the door, and he smashed a bottle of red wine over my 6’2 cousins head. This guy was my height.
The bottle shattered to pieces. My cousin staggered. The MoH and myself stepped back as my brother’s ex screamed.
“Oh you fucked up,” my brother said, “you have no idea how much you just fucked up.”
That was when the first punch landed. My other cousin, thank goodness, was conscious. A blow to the head from a bottle of wine could kill you.
My brother, though wiry looking, is a lot stronger than he looks. Surfers are usually that way. A former wrestler, it took about two seconds for him to get this guy in a lock on floor, where he took kidney shots and my other cousin took face and body shots.
I was already changed out of my dress (couldn’t wait to get out of that thing). But the MoH was still in her bridal party gown. Because of her standing when the bottle hit, she got showered in red wine. Her arm was bleeding, and we had to pull small shards of glass from her arm. Between the wine and the blood over her pale pink dress, she looked like Stephen King’s “Carrie.”
My brother’s ex was crying and begging for him to stop.
I grabbed her arm, “no, no. This guy deserves this.”
He did and does. He could have killed my cousin. He stood and waited to hurt him (or any of us). Even if we were making fun of him in the elevator (we weren’t, we didn’t even acknowledge him), it wouldn’t be proper reason to smash a bottle over someone’s head.
The bride opens the door at the commotion. The hall is spatter in red wine. Her sister is covered in wine and blood. Her two male cousins are wrestling on the floor and everyone has torn clothes and blood on them. Who’s blood at this point is relatively unknown.
The bride starts screaming. Her new husband runs to the door. He’s in boxers, but he goes back to the room to put on his wedding shoes and then go in the hallway and kick the guy in the stomach who my brother has in a headlock. No backstory needed. It’s us verse him. Us verse the world. Welcome to our cousinhood.
Anticipating that someone has called the cops based on the commotion, we turn to my newly weds, “you guys gotta get the fuck outta here.” They quickly threw all their stuff into bags and got the fuck out, ultimately spending their wedding evening at my Uncle’s, in her childhood room (hahahaha).
The last we ever saw of that guy, he was crawling on the floor to the staircase. We were also ready to run out of there, but when sirens showed up, we also weren’t about running from the cops. So, now we had to answer a bunch of questions. My cousin who got the wine bottle broken over his head had to go to the hospital. His head was fine but he broke his hand.
I drove us to the hospital to meet him there. My brother borrowed a suit from his friend that was torn and full of blood.
In the ER, my drunkeness creeped back up on me. In all the excitement, my adrenaline rendered me sober and I turned into, “let’s get everyone safe” Lori. Now that it’s all winding down, it occurred to me that I was quite drunk still.
We all spent the night in the hospital.
The next day we also knew we were going to be in some shit from our family. Our parents seem to think we’re bad influences on each other sometimes (hahahaha).
“What did you guys say to trigger that psycho?”
“Wait, you’re taking his side? What the fuck?”
As for us, the cousins, well… I always looked forward to holidays because of them. Holidays meant being reunited with my best of friends. Hell yeah!
There’s never any lack of laughing when we’re all together. Though no one is safe from our incessant mocking, least of all each other. Outsiders have said we are “harsh,” “weirdos,” “hilarious.”
All true. But no matter what, we always got each others backs.