The Pilgrimage Series: Wedding

Words by Katia Pase

Published on May 22, 2012

We were in the car because George’s old man was getting hitched and his bride’s family owned a farm up in Maleny and that’s where the wedding was. I didn’t want to go at first. I’d only referred to George as my boyfriend twice, but he said it would be fun and he didn’t know me to turn down free piss. I hadn’t been to a wedding since I was a kid, and maybe the whole thing would be like a spiritual awakening or something. In the passenger seat I picked at a loose thread on my dress while George pushed it up past one-ten and air drummed against the wheel.

Listen, he said. I’ve just gotta make a quick stop.

Where, I said.

I gotta pick up something for dad. I told him I’d grab it on the way.

I shrugged and George winked at me. He had on different pieces of suit got from Op-shops and dead relatives. Said his Cuban heels were made by his great grandpops who used to own a cobbling business in Venice that serviced the who’s who of the mafia. I said George sounded like a girl in those boots when he came in late at night and tapped down the hallway, and he said I had no style.

Fuck it’s a grey morning, George said.

We could barely see ten metres in front.

We pulled into the driveway of a house in some shit-stink suburb on the outskirts of Brisbane just before ten. George said it was his mate’s place, guy by the name of Tank. No one answered when he knocked on the front door, so he walked back down the drive a bit and came back with a key and let us in. I’d never met Tank but I could guess what we were there for. We sat down on the brown couch in the living room, and George told me about his dad who had been married twice and divorced once. His first wife died of Leukemia. George doesn’t remember her much, said he was raised mainly by the second wife who was a dog trainer. I asked what happened to her, and George said she ran off to the Northern Territory a year or so back with a violin teacher his dad referred to as ‘the poofter’. I asked, what does the bride-to-be do, and George said he hadn’t met her yet. I raised my eyebrows and he suggested we go back and swing by Julia’s and I said I wasn’t fucking going to Julia’s, Julia with the yellow hair and the nose bleeds all down her slender neck.

But she could sort it out, he said.

Does your Dad really need it? It’s his wedding day, I said. Christ!

George looked to the doorway.

He asked me to sort it out. I didn’t get him anything else.

Christ, I said.

I went to the bathroom. This wasn’t the enlightenment I was looking for. I decided to count to thirty and if I finished peeing before I got there I would tell George it was over. When I got to twelve George called through the door, let’s just go, and I finished and we left the house and got back in the car.

We got there right as it was about to start. George stepped out the car and did the buttons on his jacket.

It’s not so bad, he said.

You don’t have to wear a fucking dress, I said. Do I look nice?

There he is, George said, and walked over to his old man standing behind the rows of chairs on the side of the hill. It occurred to me then that I didn’t even know the guy’s name. I watched the two men shake hands roughly, then George’s dad pulled him closer and slapped him on the back. George waved me over and when I was close, hooked me by the waist. Here she is, he said to nobody. It turned out the old man was also called George, but went by Georgie or Nips.

So how’d you go? Georgie said. George shook his head.

Tried, he said.

Georgie slapped him on the back again and said, go grab a seat. Let’s fuck this puppy.

We sat near the back and George had to hit me to keep me from laughing at the bride struggling to stop her veil choking her in the wind. When Georgie pulled it back and kissed her I tried to think of myself up there one day, but it was hard to imagine as I’d never been with anybody where I hadn’t considered faking my own death before they could tell me they loved me.

Afterwards the men stood around in their suits and slicked-back hair, each with a fag hanging off bottom lip. Reservoir dogs hanging out on a dewy hill in Maleny and they flicked their butts in the direction of the sea. The bride Angie came up to me. She had real short brown hair and was pretty small but built like I thought a discuss thrower should be.

How about this, she said, and I had no idea what she was referring to so I nodded.

Oh thankĀ God, she said. I can finally eat again, she said, and I looked at her and she laughed and said, though you’ll never have that problem you lucky thing.

I nodded again and blew on my hands to warm them and stood around and waited for George.

They had this huge blowout that night at a pub a little way out of town. Me and George sat side by side in the parking lot and passed a blunt rolled from the weed he found wrapped in a wedding program on the floor. We didn’t say a whole lot. Inside we could hear Gunners and AC/DC. A real country throwdown. We went back inside and it wasn’t long til Angie ripped her dress pulling moves to Zeppelin. George got bailed up by this radical leftist and I slipped away and went upstairs to check my lipstick and sit down for a few.

On my way back to the party I bumped into Georgie at the top of the stairs. His shirt was undone by now and under his grey carpet of chest hair I saw a third nipple just an inch or so down from his normal nipple. Nips. He grabbed at my waist.

Dance with me gorgeous, he said. We fumbled round in a circle and he sniffed my hair.

It dun matter because George might not even be my real son, he said. And let me tell you what I think you’re too pretty for him and I can say that too.

He sniffed my hair again and moved his head round and smashed his lips against my neck and a few seconds later I went back down the stairs to another gin. I looked round for George and found him passed out in the flower bed at the end of the porch. I checked for a pulse then lay down next to him, and I didn’t want to think about tomorrow, but right then, nestled in the chipbark, I was happy to be by his side.