My Son’s Best Friend’s Wedding
Written by Nandini Sethi
The other night I made myself a bowl of porridge and drizzled sweet honey all over it. There was a mind-numbing reality show playing on television, and the weather a perfect concoction of chilly yet cozy, just perfect for me to snuggle into the thick blanket with my husband. I couldn’t help but think of my son that day. These were his favorite kind of days, with steaming cups of porridge being passed around and a comfortable silence in the air.
He loves my cooking, and he never fails to remind me every time we are on a phone call. The little tug in my heart perpetuates into a painful poke when I think about this; a hot, home-cooked meal is the purest form of a mother’s love.
Ten years ago he moved out and started a career, and made a new life for himself. This new chapter in his being, I know, has taught him some of life’s hardest lessons, and it never fails to amaze me the depth of pride I feel when I watch him work. The hair on my head has greyed and every little strand on his father’s moustache is now white, but never have I ever felt his love for us diminish in the slightest.
But I am a traditional woman of sorts, and in this household, I get what I want. And what I want is for him to find a beautiful girl and finally get married.
Being a realistic woman, I don’t expect a grand wedding with the venue made out of diamonds or tulips randomly falling from the sky. But I do expect him to find a decent enough girl with basic etiquettes, or else I will have to do the searching for him.
I was surprised to find out on our weekly Wednesday video calls that he has been seeing a girl for some time now and is getting serious about his relationship. But, being the best son that he is, he would not ask for her hand in marriage without our approval.
And so, for their arrival the next day, we were nothing short of prepared. A lunch wasn’t prepared, rather a feast was laid out, and the exquisite wine glasses that had been stored at the back of cupboards gathering dust for years, were finally filled with expensive liquor.
The girl was pretty and smart, a perfect match for my boy- just the right height for him, and it was hard to ignore how perfectly her hand was enveloped in his.
At lunch they told us all about their blooming romance. I couldn’t help but think of my days as a shy bride, when getting out of the house was forbidden, and each isolated day felt like I was living the love story of Romeo and Juliet.
They told us that they were planning the wedding to be held in summer, and that they wanted a romantic beach wedding. It all sounded like a fairy tale, and I couldn’t be happier with my son’s decision.
The young girl, clad in red that complemented her skin so well, narrated their tales from New York. On the first date he bought her a rose, red her favorite color we’ve all come to learn, and gave her a sweet kiss after dropping her back home. The girl’s choice of words touched my heart, almost as if she knew cheesy flirting and sappy compliments would only heighten my appreciation for her.
“What a coincidence! He makes me lemon tarts all the time”, the girl told me. I informed her that he had picked up his baking skills from his mother, and apart from zesty lemon desserts, he couldn’t cook a dish to save his life.
Over tea, at our insistence, they told us everything else. She flew back with my son to attend his best friend’s wedding, and showed us her gorgeous ethnic wear. She told me that she loves my son very much and thanks God in her prayers every day to have been so lucky even to have met him. I kissed her cheek and said, “he is the blessed one to have you in his life, my beautiful daughter”. A tearful exchange later, I told her to take rest before the wedding function in the evening. And so we parted for the time being.
The function was lively, and every little element from the lights to people was gleaming. My soon-to-be daughter-in-law and I got ready together, and as she pleated my saree, I felt content knowing that my son finally got his happily ever after. And so did I.
She had a good sense of style, and the light make-up on her face shone under the pretty, little fairy lights. I asked her why she came all they way to attend the function of a friend she had never even met, but she re-assured me that she had spoken to him on multiple occasions and the main purpose of her visit was to meet the parents of a boy she loved so dearly.
Her words were sickeningly sweet, and caught me off guard every time.
Throughout the night her gestures were nothing but loving, and every time I introduced her to someone she was kind and overly sweet. I was starting to get a bit suspicious about her intentions, and didn’t hesitate for a moment before telling my son about my apprehension.
He scoffed, “There’s no pleasing you, is there?”
I understood where he was coming from, so I brushed aside my unpleasant thoughts and made my way to the where the ceremonies were going to take place. As expected, there was confusion and chaos, but the absence of the groom only added worry to the mix.
Seeing the tense condition everyone was in, I volunteered to go call for the groom. I called out his name in the hallways, but got no response.
The eeriness in the air, walking from door to door, far away from the main venue sent a chill down my spine. Repeatedly I kept calling out to him, banging on every door.
I stopped dead in my tracks, and listened closely to the muffled commotion coming from inside the room I had just passed.
Slowly, I tip-toed my way back. Losing my patience, I pulled open the door with such sudden force that I feared it would break.
But that thought was no longer my concern. My only concern was the groom seated on the bed in front of me, fully dressed in his special attire his best friend picked out for him, stroking the hair and kissing the lips of said best friend’s fiancée.