2447 words (9 minute read)

Crowded


Rachel chose lavender and gray as her wedding colors. I swear, even the chairs were boring. She had asked me to be one of her bridesmaids, but I never got back to her. I don’t look good in purple. So now I’m stuck sitting between two randoms from John’s side.

“How do you know the, uh, bride?” The man on my left asked. He smells pretty good, but I can’t pin point like what.

“She’s my cousin.” I said, without turning my head.

“I’ve known John since college.” His brought one khaki covered leg over the other. I looked at him now and nodded.

“He used to be quite the partier.” The man said, wiping his nose with his fingers.

“Yeah, he’s told me some stories.” I said, almost whispering.

“I bet.” He said, facing back to the altar.


After the ceremony I called Jack to pick me up. Rachel said I could bring him to the reception, but not to the actual “merging of lives” (wedding).

“Dude, I thought you were going dress up a little!” I yelled, catching my skirt in the car door.

“Yeah, I have a suit in the back.” He said, smiling and looking forward.

“Okay… Damn look at that outfit!” I said, pointing to a woman leaning against the church.

“Oh shit! Get a photo.” He said, doing a double take.

Jack and I have a game of taking photos of ugly things. Usually it’s a large man or an obese child that wins, but occasionally we find outfits or a group scene that are worthy. The key is making sure your flash is off.

“Ah, no I missed it. I mean, you can kind of see, but it’s too blurry.” I said, letting my back smack into the seat.


Rachel wanted her reception to be in the community garden, but wasn’t able to put a temporary bar in so she chose a karaoke place instead. With the karaoke place there are private rooms and no need to hire a band (she ended up hiring a DJ for the main dancing room though). She rented out the entire building and sectioned people into rooms by how much she likes them. She asked me to be in the room next to hers. Wonderful. I think she chose the venue because there are three full bars, two inside and one with its own outdoor patio.

“Agh, there isn’t a ton of parking left.” Jack said, looping the block.

“Did she not hire a valet?” I asked. I thought she did.

“Nope, I guess not.”

“Just park here.” I said after some driving, pointing at a bus loading area.

“Fuck it.” He said, rolling into the spot. I got out and stood watch while he changed into his suit in the backseat.

“You ready to see how far we can take the open bar?” He said, making a clicking sound that usually goes along with a wink.

“Uh, you know it!” I said, hearing him lock the car a few times behind us. I’ve never understood why he locks the car more than once. Maybe he likes hearing the beep as we walk away.


Until Rachel’s, I had never seen streamers as a wedding decoration. But luckily they were contained to the main room. Apparently John had wanted them in all the rooms (along with party poppers), but the manager said it would be too much of a hassle to

clean up. So they compromised for just the main room, and hats instead of poppers. Which I understand. It’s the only room big enough for dancing so it’ll be filthy anyway. More importantly, directly across from the entrance, where everyone is given two food tokens for the buffet, is bar number one.


“Emily! Finally you’re here.” My aunt said, intercepting our beeline to the bar.

“Have you seen Rachel yet?” She asked, grabbing my wrist.

“Not yet. But-”

“Well make sure you congratulate her, it’s a big day.” She said, nodding. Like I don’t know.

“Yeah, I will make sure to do that.” I said, willing a smile to appear.

“Great, I have to go welcome your mother, but I’ll see you on the dance floor!” She said, releasing her grip and dancing away.

“Okay.” I said, turning to Jack.

“Do you want a drink or buffet first?” I asked, waving our tokens around like fans.

“Drink.”

“Drink.” We said.


Jack didn’t get dressed until five minutes before he was supposed to pick up Emily. He woke up at noon and played call of duty for three hours. Most of the people who still use headsets while playing are teenage boys with un-dropped voices who say they fucked your mom last night. Jack uses his headset just to listen sometimes. After playing for a while he decided to pick out what to wear to the wedding reception. What tie goes with a dark blue blazer? The white tie with his monogram or deceptively more expensive black tie? This would be the first time Jack would see Rachel in a year. He stood there for a moment, holding both the ties, and thought about her. He knew she loved honey in her tea, unless it was earl grey, then she preferred sugar. He remembered her hands. Her fingernails were different lengths, she let them break on their own. He remembered the shampoo she used, lavender. He went with the black tie.

After taking too long to pick out his clothes, and an urgent call, Jack got in his car to pick up Emily. He wasn’t sure if he should have gotten it cleaned, oh well, no time now, he thought. He was excited, weddings are fun when you’re not the one it’s for, he thought. His Volvo rolled to a stop in front of a cream colored church. It was probably white some ten’s of years ago. Emily got in and started talking. Jack didn’t mean to, but he noticed her. Her shoes were a half size too big, making her look too young to drink. Her hair was a little flat in the back, maybe she took a nap on it.

When they got to the venue, Jack kept driving around waiting for his palms to dry. He strategically angled the ac so it hit the steering wheel. He blamed his hesitance to park on not being able to find a spot. After a while, Emily started getting antsy. Jack used changing into his suit in the car to wipe himself with a towel, he nervously sweats with his whole body. He laughed a little. The towel had semen and coffee on it.

Going into the reception Jack realized his mistake. Avoiding the bride at her wedding, fine. Doable. But avoiding all her immediate relatives, not so realistic. Drinking would be necessary today.


“Hey, could I please get two whiskey cokes?” Jack asked. He’s always been nice to bartenders since he covered his friend’s shift for two weeks at The Shoe one time.

“He didn’t hear you, hold on. Hey, Sir!” I shouted, while leaning over the bar.

“Hey, yeah. We would like two whiskey cokes. One without ice.” I said.

The secret to being served first is being a girl and wearing a tight shirt. Unless you’re a chubbo, then you have to be nice.

“Want to take these outside?” I asked, after we got our drinks.

“Yeah, sure.”

“Okay, I think it’s over here.” I said, leading the way through the growing crowd. Damn, how many people did Rachel invite?

Walking into the outside patio area, I could only see two types of people; people avoiding other people, and drunk people. It’s actually amazing how drunk some of these people are. They must have brought flasks to the wedding or something - the reception has only been going on for forty five minutes.

“Hey,” I said, nudging Jack.

“Want to split up and see who can find the best drunk chick?” I asked. We play this game when we’re bored sometimes.

“Yeah sure, I already see a few good prospects.” He said, rubbing the sides of his mouth.

“Meet back in ten.” I said, heading toward two girls using an excessive amount of hand gestures and having a loud conversation.


“Okay, I was like, pretty drunk.” I caught the taller girl saying as I slunk into a seat within earshot.

“Yeah, you came home wasted-” The chubby one said, trying to formulate a serious tone.

“Yeah, well… Anyway…” The tall one said, scooting to the edge of her bar seat. I swear she will fall off if she moves her ass cheek another inch.

“I was getting a drink and Dan was working. You’ve met Dan, right? I think I introduced you two...” The tall one asked.

“Uhm, yeah. I think you did, last Friday-”

“Yeah! Anyway, he’s was working and he got me a drink and I wrote my phone number on the receipt.” She whispered the last part. Who does she think is listening? Besides me.

“Okay…” Chubby said.

I need to take a drink so it looks like I’m doing something. The jack and coke is sweeter than I wanted. I’ll order something bitter next, probably a gin and tonic.

“He’s been texting me.” Tall girl said, using more hand gestures.

“Mhmm.”

“Yeah, he was like ‘hey. Sup?’ And isn’t that the classic hookup text? And he texted me three minutes sooner than I texted him.”

“I mean yeah…sure. Although could mean he’s desperate if he’s texting you so fast, like he has no life,” The chubby one said.

“But I don’t know, I mean it sounds like he’s totally into you,” said the chubby girl. A smooth recovery.

“Um well, it was like, pretty obvious!” And she’s shouting.

“Did he ask you out?” Chubby said, feigning excitement.

“Uh, let me check… yeah, he’s working tonight and want’s me to come. And I’m like ‘I’m with some friends now’ but he asked me to come to the VIP room.” Tall girl said, not looking up from her phone. Holy shit, how old are these people?

“So I was like ‘Okay, I’ll come by soon.’ You know.” She continued.

“Wait, when can we leave - to go?” Chub girl asked.

“We can go now if you want, I’m good to drive. This is only like my third drink here.”

“Yeah, let’s get one more drink to go.” The chubby one said, waiting for the tall one to hail the bartender. Well, this has been a less than thrilling conversation. I bet Jack’s going to win this round.


“Hey babe.” Jack whispered to me from behind.

“Oh shit! I didn’t see you come over.” I said, focusing on the heat going to my cheeks.

“Ha! How’d your’s go?” He asked, referring to the girls now leaving the patio area.

“Not that great, just some girls contemplating the meaning of life.” I said.

“Seriously?”

“No, hah. How’d yours go?”

“Not bad, I’ve got a, uh, an interested party.” He said, grinning an annoying amount.

“Ah, nice.” This is the third game he’s come out with a bitch.

“Yeah, her name is Sarah and she’s a teacher or a vet… something like that.”

“She’s right there.” He said, pointing at a woman who was already staring at me. She’s pretty.

“Anyway, I told her I’d be right back. See you in a few drinks.” He said, starting over to her.


After I exhausted the outside bar I went to look for Rachel or John. It is a big day. Most of the streamers in the main room were pounded into the floor making a paste with all the spilt drinks. There are way too many people to look for anyone.

Taking a seat at the bar I looked around. If you don’t focus on one person everyone looks the same. They’re all just heads moving around in chaos. I started ripping the napkin stuck to the bottom of my drink. I made spitballs with the ripped napkin squares. After a while people started to leave. Taking one more drink for the road (a long island), I left. Jack’s car was gone. Not surprising. I can’t remember what Sarah looked like, besides blonde. I wonder if she thought I was pretty.

Taking off my heels, I started walking back to my apartment. Why does Jack do that? What is so special about that girl. She looked pretty average to me. Maybe that’s it though. Maybe he isn’t ready for anything real and wants mediocrity. How can someone actively want mediocrity? He must not care. Maybe he’s just that easy. I mean he was why Rachel broke up with him, right? Because he’s a Whore. Why do I care if he’s being a Whore? What a Whore.

To me everything external was muffled after the speakers at the reception. The DJ played pretty loudly. I decided to sing a taylor Swift song I’d heard people butchering earlier. DJ’s and karaoke don’t mix. I know that now. But I still should have sang there, I sound pretty good. After I finished singing in the street I just wanted to be home. Not even the ringing in my ears could distract me from my thoughts anymore.

Next Chapter: Old Fashioned