The Ceremony : Chandra Story
“we may never never meet again on that bumpy road to love
but I always always keep the memories of…”
I was Jade’s mate of honor and walked down the aisle in the processional right before Jade and her dad. During the rehearsal the night before I was told to arrange my pace so I would arrive to my place right when the guitarists ended John Denver’s Perhaps Love. As I walked down the aisle I thought about the feeling I used to have for Jade and the agony I used to have when learning about William and Jade’s engagement.
Jade had broken my heart for the first time when I was 15. It had taken a lot of courage for a fifteen-year old- boy to ask a girl out on a date. In which she replied, “Us? Out on a date? But we’re best friends, we’re like siblings”
She had broken my heart again when I was 18 when we had been dating for 3 months. I was driving her home after we went to a movie one Saturday night when she dumped me.
“I still don’t feel any real chemistry between us”
Over years, Jade had over and over again broken my heart. Back in her early university years (I was in Kansas at that time), she kept telling me about Chris ‘my cute senior from the hiking club with great taste of music’. I didn’t feel that there was any romance between them though. Chris, in short was my substitute for Jade. Man, I felt for him. But I was still jealous. And there was this other guy, that German guy Timm Neumann. Jade said that they were just friends, ‘Timm’s more like my travel companion’. He was there in Bali when Jade celebrated her 25th birthday; Jade had celebrated Christmas with Timm’s family in Munchen; they travelled to Morocco together and as if those were not enough to make me jealous, they traveled to the US to attend my graduation.
I thought I could never hate a man as much as I hated Timm until a little bit over a year ago when she asked me to pick her up at the airport so that I could meet William. I almost didn’t recognize Jade when I saw her at the airport. She looked unbelievably beautiful and radiant. A guy behind her gave me his awkward smile. I remembered that for a moment I shut myself from Jade and the rest of the world and tried to concentrate on that guy. Medium height, had a messy dirty blonde hair, and a pair of boyish green eyes underneath his tortoise square glasses. The word ‘nerd’ crossed my mind right before Jade knocked my head with the 750g Toblerone bar and said, “Chandra, this is William my boyfriend. William, this is my best friend Chandra”.
Thus began my love and hate relationship with Jade & William. Listening to how they met (at a party when they were seated next to each other and ‘William was the one who saved me from dozing off in that party full of snobs’) to how they got engaged a few months after the airport moment (‘like an Easter egg hunting, but instead of finding a painted egg I found his granny’s Faberge egg with “will you marry me” note in it’) until she requested me to be her mate of honor had made my friendship with Jade in a very awkward situation. I had still expected Jade to return home after getting tired of her abroad adventure and married the guy next door who had known her since her preschool days. What exactly that William had and I didn’t have except for that hyphenated surname? Wasn’t it easier to marry someone from the same cultural background? I had all those questions crowding my head until I got a series of birthday presents from Jade on my birthday.
She showed up in my house with a box of good cigars at breakfast with notes “a mate of honor should always enjoy cigars with the bride”. She surprised me again by giving me the latest Kindle device (which was a useless little device in Jakarta), a pair of cuff links with my birth stone and had arranged to rent a boat for the whole weekend which we could use for fishing – a memory of our childhood weekend. After gulping down uncountable cans of beer, on the deck of the boat she produced a stack of cards from her purse which I immediately recognized her birthday cards from me over these years.
“You know, at the end of any of these cards you always wrote down ‘I wish you nothing but the best’. Through our ups and downs, you always wrote that. Lately knowing you always sulk when we talk about my wedding, I wonder if you really meant them”, she startled me with her words, I mumbled saying that of course I meant every word I wrote.
“Well, thank you for that. I think that because of those wishes you wrote me every year, I had found my best partner in life as I had found you as my best friend in life. I just want to tell you that I also wish you nothing but the best”.
As in cue, my 3 minutes long walk had come to an end as the guitarists finished their song. I took my place beside Lauren and winked at William as we both facing the aisle waiting for Jade and her dad to enter the ceremony site.