Juliet zipped her dress and gave herself a once over in the hotel room mirror. “Here we go again,” she half spoke, half laughed then took a swig of Stoli straight from the bottle.
I peered around her well-preserved, thirty-something body into the mirror straightening my tie. “If I have to go to one more of dad’s weddings I swear I’ll set myself on fire!” I said.
“Really? Oh, that would be so sad for me. I’d have to go to all his future weddings without my favorite brother. Besides I thought you always wanted to die in a killer whale attack.”
“Yes,” I acknowledged, “killer whale attack has long been my preferred legendary death scenario…and I’m your ‘only’ brother.”
“Which makes you a shoe-in for ‘favorite’ you awesome man.” She laughed.
Both of my sisters are wonderful, but Jules and I have always been especially close. Our senior, and noticeably absent sister Samantha was supposed to be with us for pre-ceremony cocktails, but it seemed her chronic tardiness had struck again.
Juliet handed me the Stoli, “At least we’ll never have to live with this one.” She smiled.
“True.” I mused. “I suppose being somewhat grown up and thoroughly self-sufficient has its perks.”
The door flew open. “Sorry, I’m late!” Samantha rolled into the room like a runaway circus train, garment bag, cosmetics kit, and other undefined bits of tiny luggage hanging from her person. “What are we drinking?”
“The usual pre-dad’s-wedding fair…vodka.” I handed her the bottle, and as her lips touched it, we had once again closed the circle, completing a ritual celebration that had been part of the Montfort family culture since we were in high school. Other family’s had Thanksgiving or Christmas; we had Dad’s weddings.
Sam lowered the bottle, “Well, here we go again! How long do you think this one’ll last?”
Juliet sat on the edge of the bed pulling on her high heels. She motioned for a bottle pass. “Her name is Candy for Christ’s sake…it can’t last too long!”
“I don’t know,” I interjected. “Bambi lasted almost 13 months…come on…Bambi? I give ‘Candy’ better odds.
By now the average observer may be wondering why three siblings in their late thirties to early forties were in a hotel room preparing for a wedding with no significant others in tow. As it happens, the old expression about the falling apple and the inevitable proximity of its final resting place relative to the tree from which it came is beautifully illustrated by our family. That’s right, my sisters and I are all divorced.
The advent of dad’s pending nuptials had Samantha in a reminiscent mood. “Do you remember the screaming red Christmas tree that Cinnamon put up my senior year? The place looked like a holiday whore house.”
“Who could forget,” I laughed. “How about Buffy’s pink Corvette with the heart decals?” To this day her dropping me off at school in that thing ranks among my most awkward moments. Idiot high school boys alternately calling me a fag for coming to school in a pink car, then saying they wanna ‘tag’ my mom. “Ew,” I’d protest, “she’s not my mom”…and as an afterthought, “and I’m not gay you assholes!”
My darling sisters laughed. We’re a fucked up bunch to be sure, but at least we have each other. The shared experience of growing up in the company of a fast-moving parade of “dancers” has had the effect of “Gorilla Glue for the Soul” on us. Jules looked at her watch and grimaced. Then as her right hand applied deep red lipstick, her left reached into her carry-on luggage sized purse. Without turning her attention from the mirror, she found, apparently by Braille, and produced three silver flasks. She tossed them at me with a playful wink. “Fill ‘em up bro; it’s go time!” As I poured and spilled the Stoli into the unreasonably small flask openings, I laughed to myself. Thank god for my two wonderful sisters. We may not be well equipped for matrimonial endeavors of our own, but we make a hell of a team at a stripper’s wedding.
We raised the dripping flasks high. “To Pops and…uh, Candy is it?” Sam hissed.
Jules snorted, which turned my snigger into a guffaw. I quickly composed myself. Cleared my throat and in my best, if hastily conceived oratorical tone confirmed the name of the stepmom de jour. “Yes, yes, to Pops and Candy, and the two most wonderfully inappropriate, dazzlingly witty and truly lovely siblings-in-arms a brother could ask for!”
“Goddamnit,” Jules scolded. “If you make me tear up I’ll wipe my runny-makeup face all over that white shirt!” I laughed. We finished the toast with the clink of silver and a quick slug. Next stop, stepmom-o-rama!
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