The wedding breakfast had been laid on in the grand ballroom of an impressive old manor house hotel. After reception drinks, we all took our seats and I was relieved that Serial Shagger had been seated at the opposite end of the table to me; which spared me from the temptation of wanting to stab him with a fork and having to spend the rest of my life in a six-foot cell.
The meal was sumptuous and the wine flowed, the speeches came and went along with the champagne. Unsurprisingly, Serial Shagger managed to embarrass the groom with a few lewd stories at his expense followed by a slide show and ever raunchier jokes during his speech.
After the meal and speeches had finished I somehow ended up sitting alongside Sid & Ernie, my Dad’s allotment buddies, who were providing the entertainment that evening with their mobile disco “The Village People”; clearly not to be confused with the male singing group of the 70s. Frankly, the prospect of seeing them both scantily clad in leather chaps was enough to scar me for the rest of my natural-born, however, common sense had prevailed and their trademark stage costumes consisted of matching midnight blue Lurex tuxedos.
Whilst sat alongside me canvassing requests and dedications, Sid randomly remarked “Cake were nice; not as good as yours though but they had a better do”
“That’s ‘cos we didn’t have one in the end, remember?”.
It still smarted that my mother had frozen all the buffet items when my wedding had been cancelled at the last-minute and we had lived on them for weeks afterwards. In hindsight the three-tiered wedding cake, which had proved popular with all house guests had probably lasted longer than our engagement which in itself should have told me something.
On the way to the ladies’ cloakroom to touch up my make-up having busted out some moves to the Macarena, Cha Cha Slide and not forgetting the obligatory YMCA, I discovered Simon sitting outside on the balcony on his own nursing his pint. I thought he hadn’t noticed me so I just carried on walking but Simon was ahead of me and pulled a chair up alongside him. “Cracking day, wasn’t it?” indicating that I should sit and I agreed that it has been the very best of days.
“What am I going to do, Dall? I’ve got one kid with a girl I don’t even like and another on the way. I feel my life’s over”!
I sat quietly just listening to him wail about the injustices of his life oblivious to the irony of the situation. It was hard to feel sorry for this spoiled Peter Pan who had no concept of the hurt he continued to inflict on those around him. The saddest thing of all was that I no longer felt any real animosity towards him, in fact, I didn’t feel anything for him at all and in many ways that was much more heartbreaking.
I recognised that Simon had been indulged all his life first by his parents and then by me and in loving him too much we had created a self-absorbed disloyal narcissist with the emotional capacity of a toddler. No doubt we’d have still been together making each other miserable if circumstances hadn’t forced our hand. The truth of the matter was we started out dating each other when we were teenagers and had simply outgrown each other. Whilst Simon hadn’t really changed at all and I seriously doubt if he ever would, I had and now I realised that I wanted a good deal more out of life than he was capable of giving to anyone.
As I got up to leave he whispered “It wasn’t all bad, was it?”
Smiling wistfully I said “No Simon, not all bad just on the days ending in “Y”.”
“A wisecrack for every occasion”
“That’s me; a regular Dawn French” and excusing myself I went in search of the cloakrooms.
After some major restoration work with the help of Estee Lauder, I felt a little more presentable and returned to the party. On the way I couldn’t help but notice a couple locked in an embrace on the balcony and a second look confirmed that it was Simon and one of the other bridesmaids indulging in a little Summer Night lovin’. I sighed to myself and genuinely hoped that at some point in his life for the sake of his family he managed to curb his self-destructive streak.
However, I had a more pressing appointment with a gentleman who had signed my dance card earlier in the evening and as I strolled determinedly into the ballroom to the sound of Nat King Cole’s “Unforgettable, I smiled at the kindest man in the world as he took my hand and swept me around the dance floor. And there in that ballroom, this fairy princess danced with the man who would always be her hero; my Dad.