How to Form an Island Union
It had been a few days since I had visited The Village, so I thought I’d kick down there to see what was going on. My finely honed reporter’s instincts must have been fully tuned, because today was the one day not to miss.
When I got there in the late afternoon, with a box of Ritz crackers and a jug of cheap wine on the passenger seat of the Island Car, I found dozens of people gathered at the beach. There must have been almost a hundred people there, a big chunk of the population of The Village. I didn’t know that the full population of The Village could all stand up at the same time, so I was curious about what was happening.
I grabbed the wine, left the Ritz in the car, and trotted toward the crowd. I saw Summer standing off to one side, grinning like a kid at her first Disney movie, so I grabbed her arm.
“What’s going on?” I asked.
“The wedding,” she said, looking at me like I must have just regained consciousness after a long and very deep coma. Given the normal state of the Villagers, I thought she might cut me a little slack on that one.
“Wedding?” I asked, trying to sound journalistic. I actually just sounded stupid.
Summer pointed. “There’s Celia now,” she said.
Celia the Red-Haired Ice Queen? Getting married? I thought that she despised all human beings, possibly including herself. Definitely including me. She’s great-looking and everything, but the idea of her getting married ranks right up there with the idea of cobras having loving sex.
But there she was, standing on a platform just a few yards out to sea. The platform was built of driftwood and old ship’s planks, and it rocked gently on the peaceful waves. Celia was dressed in black jeans, a bright blue T-shirt, and a white bridal veil, and even in that getup she looked terrific. Tall, thin, and very sexy. Definitely the sort of woman a guy would like to marry, except that she lacked a heart, a soul, and any warmth whatsoever.
Next to her was a guy I’ve never seen before. He was shorter than Celia and dressed all in black, and he held a pine bough in one hand and a white dove in the other. I guessed that he was the minister, or officiate, or whatever you call the person who presides over a wedding that takes place on a raft. Despite his paunch and his balding head, he looked dutifully solemn.
And next to the guru was the only other person on the platform.
He was wearing a white canvas shirt and blue jeans, with bright ribbons tied in his black, square beard. Barefoot. The rich darkness of his skin made the white shirt dazzling by contrast. He was staring at Celia and smiling with more happiness and joy than I thought he could ever muster.
Bo’s size made some adjustments necessary. Celia and the clergyman stood together on the left, and Bo stood alone on his half of the raft. Even so, the platform sloped dangerously toward his feet, causing the occasional wave of chilly saltwater to splash up over his toes. But he didn’t seem to notice, and he didn’t seem to work hard at keeping his balance. He just stood there, like the rock that he is, and stared and smiled.
I couldn’t hear the words from where I was standing — I couldn’t get very close because the zombies between me and the shore were so hungover/burnedout/braindead that they didn’t move even when I elbowed them. The ceremony was over in just a few minutes. There were no rings, of course, because that would be bourgeois and classist. But I could see Celia speaking something undoubtedly long and poetic, and then Bo spoke for a while himself. Then the padre said something and smiled.
Celia ripped off the veil and tossed it toward the crowd on the beach. Then, with two quick strides, she bounded across the platform and leapt into Bo’s arms. He caught her easily, but the force of her momentum and her passionate kiss threw him backward and off the raft. They splashed into the ocean, kissing and grinning as they rolled in the waves.
The sudden departure of such an enormous bulk caused the raft to see-saw, of course, flinging the minister off the other side. No one seemed to notice or care, though. Everyone on the beach was smiling and watching Bo and Celia kiss in the slag-green water.
After Celia and Bo had waded ashore, and after the rabbi was fished out of the gentle surf and assured that his back-flip was all part of the ceremony, everyone headed to the center of the Village shacks. There were half a dozen long tables covered with enormous piles of food. The Village folk don’t usually eat that much in a year, but they had clearly been holding themselves to a strict beer-and-bong diet for several days in preparation. They cheered, hugged Bo and Celia, and lit into the food like POWs on Pizza Night.
Music broke out, of course — the usual mix of bongos, guitars, and wispy voices, singing the usual rundown of Molly Makepeace tunes and songs from ancient India — and a bonfire was lit to provide heat and light and to evaporate the seawater from the Newly Betrothed’s clothing. The party rumbled up to Village pitch quickly, and I grabbed some beer and hugged a few strangers just to get into the spirit of the thing.
Eliza stood off to one side, next to the shack that she and Bo often used for private evenings. She was chewing on a chicken leg and drinking red wine, and she seemed radiant (naturally) and fully at peace.
I ambled over and gave her a hug. OK — I seized the hugging tradition as a chance to pull her incredible body close to mine, but it seemed reasonable at the time. She couldn’t hug me back because of the chicken leg in one hand and the wine glass in the other, but she let me give her a good long squeeze.
When I pulled back, she looked into my eyes with that calm, intense stare of hers. And then, chicken grease on her lips and everything, she kissed me.
— Donovan Graham, “The Shadowless Writer”
Comment — Edith5545: What an odd wedding ceremony! What’s wrong with a proper, traditional wedding in a church with an organist and rings and everything?
Comment — Gemstone: Sounds beautiful. Weddings should be expressions of the heart, and Bo and Celia seem to have found their voice.
Comment — WomynFire982: the idea that a classic, heterosexual wedding is supposed to be the greatest day in the bride’s life is masculine, overbearing nonsense. do you really think that the pinnacle of our lives involves binding ourselves to some man?
Comment — SunTanDude: That Celia girl sounds hot! Except for the heartless soulless part, anyway.
Read previous blog entries in the Island Wars story by clicking here.