ERNIE AND ERNESTINA: Searching
Book Two, Chapter 279: A Wedding
Returning from the library a little before five-thirty on this Saturday in mid-October, I decide to sit a spell in the waning sun on a bench in the small park across the street from my big park. I often sit here to take in the sun, to watch the children in the playground or, later, to watch a sunset or gaze at the moon.
Just now, at the other end of the park, two clusters of dressed-up people are gathered in front of the bandstand, its iron railing decorated with ribbon interspersed with bouquets of purple and white flowers. Oh, a wedding’s about to happen! I look around for a woman in white. Good, she hasn’t arrived yet. I’m just in time. I imagine what she will wear. Probably a tea-length purple dress for this informal outdoor wedding.
I assume the groom is somewhere in the cluster of people, yet I can’t pick him out. All the men are wearing suits except for one, in long-sleeved white shirt and dark trousers. He’s thin, hangs back from the others. Surely he isn’t the groom.
Three late arrivals — two women and a man — pass the playground and walk toward the bandstand. The woman on the left is short and heavy in a flowery overblouse and full skirt. On the right is a short, stocky man wearing a long-sleeved blue shirt and khaki trousers. Between them is a dark-haired woman in a sleeveless purple gown, slit on the side; she totters in silver sandals, and in her hair is a white gardenia. Oh my goodness — here comes the bride!
There’s a flurry of activity among the guests. One woman hurries up the bandstand’s steps, retrieves a bouquet, and rushes to give it to the arriving bride, who joins a young man in a gray suit. Together, the couple ascends the bandstand steps to stand before a black-robed minister.
The bride and groom exchange vows. They exchange rings. They kiss. Then, to applause, they face their guests and step down from the bandstand to mingle.
Congratulations are given, photos are taken, and the guests gradually depart. Now only the bride, groom, and the couple who escorted the bride to her wedding are left. The groom runs down the sidewalk toward parked cars, the other three slowly trailing him. In his car now, he pulls up to the curb. The bride waves good-by to her two friends, opens the car door, and lets herself in.
The show is over. The guests are all gone. Bride and groom are alone for the first time as husband and wife. Will they kiss?
I get up from my bench and hurry toward the car, but it passes me so quickly that I just catch a glimpse. He seemed to be reaching out an arm to her. I think they were talking.
As I slowly head back to my place, I imagine their life together. Will they come back to the park for the summer concerts? To dance in front of the bandstand where they exchanged their vows? Will they bring their child to the playground? Will they talk of this day and feel grateful for meeting and knowing and loving each other? Will their love deepen as their life together lengthens?
I wish them much talk and many kisses.