PAIRS (Part two)
Blog Posted:12/29/2011 10:12:00 AM
As she fussed away into the kitchen with her pencilled notes to herself, the glass door allowed the noise from adjacent rooms to pervade the café. A young man whose practised voice seemed to suggest he was used to being the centre of attention could be heard telling an off-colour joke to friends, who in turn seemed only too anxious to laugh. They knew his ready sense of humour and well-polished witty responses had been largely responsible for charming his new bride. He could also charm anyone if it suited him , and his character was well known to his male friends.
“Well, it’s no surprise to me, Malachy, you could always con the girls….” quipped one of his cronies.
“Aye, they’d never know which way our Mal would jump,” added an older voice, to the chorus of laughter from the group.
In formal wedding wear of grey tails and white bowtie the groom was tall and good looking, with sleek black hair and a sunbed-acquired suntan. His appearance was just perfect, almost too perfect. Aware of his own attractiveness, he smiled constantly in the direction of women. His straight white teeth revealed themselves in what often turned out as more of a leer beneath an appearance of innocent boyish charm. He caught the eye of the chief bridesmaid and she moved over to his chair, and he whispered into her ear. She reddened and smirked with a knowing, “Sure you’ll need that for later tonight! ” and laughed heartily.
He drew her hand closer and stroked the skin of her forearm as he confided in her some detail of his supposed worries, inviting her to be more sympathetic towards him and listen more closely. She gave him her undivided attention and her brown eyes held his long and deep. Once he had her attention he began to assume an air of seriousness and dedication to his task in hand of getting the new marriage up and running, with plans for a house and a career move ahead. She seemed to know much of what he was about to say before he said it as though she had been through the story before. But she feigned attention as if it was all new…she loved his attentions and basked in them. He could barely disguise his interest in today’s target audience, the bridesmaid who had been the best friend of his new wife since schooldays and whom he had known just as long as his wife.
“You’ll have to come round and visit after we get back from you know where,” he suggested in a low tone “Just because I’m married doesn’t mean we can’t still be close friends, if you get my meaning....we'll talk about décor and stuff. You’re really very good at that crack.” She was pleased at his compliment. “Sure if you want me to I will, Malachy,” she replied, “But what will herself think of that?” “Don’t you be worrying about her…she has her evening classes and such…and Jaysus you’re her best friend from schooldays....C’mon we’d better be joining the others now, so…” .
Further along the passage, in a dimly-lit room in the back of the hotel the main wedding party was in mid celebration. After several hours of celebration, the room wasn’t fresh. It was a private room used exclusively for such celebrations and the doors were sprung to close automatically, and were not glass. It smelled of smoke and the upholstery was dark and old fashioned but it was the best Portaisling could provide for its favourite daughter of the day. It was long after the main meal and before the dancing would begin, and two guitarists and an accordion player were busy unpacking instruments and setting up their gear. It was one of those awkward interludes when there is no set pattern for behaviour and people go off and do necessary everyday things which have been held up by the formality of the day’s proceedings.
The bride was a little unhappy for her groom was absent again, maybe at the toilet, maybe drinking heavily with his brother or the best man, maybe getting some air to allow him to take stock of what he had just vowed to do, maybe flirting a last time with a certain young guest at the reception. His absence rendered the bride oddly conspicuous, rather like a mother pushing an empty baby buggy or a policeman with mud on his uniform. She was happy because the preparations and the successful wedding day were all she had hoped and planned for…but she was uneasy about her future with Malachy. Where did he think he was when he should be here with her..and this their first day as a couple…?. She managed to laugh heartily with some of the guests, a young man - plainly her brother, whose red hair unmistakably matched her own long red tresses, and an older woman who might easily have been an aunt or a neighbour. The two women showed friendliness but not the casual disinterested intimacy of mother and daughter.
“Your hair is lovely, Kate…Malachy must love it does he? Where is he by the way?” the older woman enquired harmlessly.
“Oh, he’s over there with James somewhere,” …she made excuses for him.
“And did you enjoy the meal? Did Malachy? Are you enjoying the day? Is Malachy enjoying himself? Such a good idea to have the reception in his dad’s hotel, nice personal service, you know.” She twittered on in good-natured way, not realising how she was causing the girl to wince.
“Yes, it’s been a lovely day,” Kate lied. They’d got turkey for the main meal, his favourite, but he’d said nothing about it and seemed preoccupied all the way through their celebration. Maybe with wedding nerves, she told herself.