Jason & Efia (Part 2)

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Tasha and I woke up the next morning, and it would be an understatement to say we were a little hung over. Still, we made our way to the free coffee and continental breakfast bar and met up with a few of the guests and the wedding party. Most of them were there, except for Nicola who was still nursing her hangover in her hotel room. I grabbed a coffee and went outside to revel in the beautiful weather, and as much as I was looking forward to eating something free, I kind of wanted a breakfast sandwich which was not an option at the hotel so Tasha, Dave and I decided to take a drive into town past the area of last night’s post rehearsal dinner crime scene and onto the outskirts of the FSU campus.

We drove past a place called Zaxby’s which apparently is like the Chi-Fil-A of the south, and arrived at a well known college haunt called “Bagel Bagel.” Pretty much everything is served on a bagel there. They had pizza bagels, lox and bagels, & bacon, ham and turkey bagels.  After I incinerated the roof of my mouth from my breakfast sandwich, we all headed back to the hotel gym where Tasha and I would attempt to sweat out some of the alcohol from the previous night, while Parr and Chad sat in the hot tub enjoying the warm Florida weather in October. Shaun had to go to Jos. A Bank to pick up his tux which hopefully fit well, V.J. was shit out of luck when it came to acquiring a better fitting vest, and I believe Swift found a pair of pants which is evident in the photo below.

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(From L to R: VJ, Swift, Parr, Nut, Chad, Gary, Me, Shaun)

We headed over to the Golden Eagle Country Club and were ushered into a room upstairs. We all sat at a big wooden table as Chad broke out his binder and went over his duties as the minister of ceremonies. This was Chad’s second go around marrying two of his friends, so he was definitely a little more comfortable than P-Nut was, being that A. Chad had been here before, and B. P-Nut hadn’t.  There were some chips and sodas and sandwiches in the room, but no one was really eating nor talking a lot, probably due to the fact that we were all pretty lethargic and still feeling the effects of last night’s boozefest.

I can’t imagine what goes through the mind of someone who is about to get married in an hour.  Perhaps their whole single life flashes before their eyes? Perhaps all the moments leading up to this day come rushing back as they’re overwhelmed with emotion and nervousness, or perhaps they’re just so excited and overjoyed to finally be able to say “I do” to the love of their life in front of all their friends and family that they find it hard to communicate their feelings, or maybe they just want to be still and contemplate the next few hours in the hopes that everything goes right. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to have that moment in my life, but right now the only thing going through my mind was how dehydrated I was, how happy I felt for my friend on his wedding day, and how I wish I had gotten a hair cut before I flew out for the wedding because this mop on my head closely resembled an unkempt piece of shit.

I’ve always had an issue with my hair, that issue being that I spend far too much thinking about it. It’s amazing to me that we put so much emphasis on dead protein filaments growing out of our head, but ever since 3rd grade when I idolized Jon Bon Jovi and used to spend fifteen minutes in the morning sculpting and “mousseing” my hair, I’ve always felt the need to want it to look cool. Was I succeeding in that quest that afternoon when P-Nut and Efia were about to get married? Absolutely not. On the other hand, P-Nut was having no issues what so ever. His hair looked like a dirty blonde mane, perfectly textured and styled to resemble the crest of a wave breaking on the Jersey shore. Mine looked like a dirty pile of hay sitting in a puddle in the streets of Philadelphia after a long rain storm, but as I had to remind myself, it wasn’t about me that day.

The wedding party met up with the wedding planner who went over the procession one more time and made sure that none of us screwed it up but especially, none of the groomsmen. I was the first to proceed down the grassy aisle with bridesmaid number one on my arm, which meant that I would be the groomsman furthest away from the Groom, or according to my theory, the worst friend. Wait, is it possible that this was P-Nut’s way of getting back at me for being a dick to him in high school? I don’t think so, but did he even want me to be in his wedding party at all?  Come to think of it, I don’t remember him even asking me to be a groomsman. I recall a few months back he told me he had something to talk to me about, so when I called him I basically assumed I knew what it was and when he answered the phone I said…

“Hey P-Nut, I would love to be a groomsman at your wedding.”

That statement was immediately met by an awkward silence. I think there was a issue with having an equal amount of bridesmaids to groomsmen, but eventually, it all got sorted out and the six groomsmen and six bridesmaids made their way to the “shore of marriage” before the man and woman of the hour proceeded down the aisle.

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P-Nut in his tux and perfect hair looked pretty good that day, but let’s be honest, Efia looked better. She was decked out in a gorgeous white gown, smiling ear to ear reminiscent of a classic Hollywood beauty as her father walked her down the aisle to meet “Jason” at the alter. I had a thought… What is it like to give your daughter away on her wedding day? I can’t imagine what it would be like to have a daughter, let alone multiple daughters, or what it must be like to go through the process of getting married and having to give these daughters away, but I would imagine by the time you got to that point in your life as a father, you’ve gotten past all that.

The minister of ceremonies, a.k.a. Chad presided over the formal tradition between his best friend and Nut’s beautiful bride to be. As he began to speak and reminded us all of why we were gathered there today, he was being slightly overshadowed by one of the children at the wedding who was not completely behaving themselves, and may or may not have started talking and screaming during the part where everyone was supposed to be contemplative and quiet. Chad continued on, but after a couple more outbursts, P-Nut’s mom took it upon her self to remind her grandson exactly where they were, and what the appropriate behavior was.

“Zip it! We’re in the middle of a beautiful ceremony!” She said.

I looked over to Parr the way Jim from the Office would look into the camera when Dwight said something ridiculous…or at least I tried to look over at Parr, but since I was all the way at the end of the line of groomsman, and he was at the other end, I’m not sure if he saw me. Regardless, Chad continued on with the reading of the vows, and then I started to hear weeping and crying. At first, from my vantage point I thought it was coming from where the guests were seated, like maybe a cousin or a mom was just overwhelmed with joy and couldn’t contain themselves, but then I realized it was coming from the same plane that I was on, a little further down the line right where the Bride and Groom were standing.  Aww, that’s sweet I thought. Efia is getting all teary eyed on her special day. Only thing was, it turned out it wasn’t the Bride who was crying tears of happiness, it was the Groom.

My initial reaction was at some point later during the reception we would all bust on P-Nut for balling like a little girl at his own wedding, cause that’s what guy friends do who have known each other for twenty plus years. I imagine Gary would grab a few napkins and hand them to P-Nut after the ceremony and tell him that “these are just in case you get a little too emotional on your honeymoon,” and we would all have a laugh and no harm would be done. However, in the moment as I watched one of my best friends cry during one of the most vulnerable and happy moments in his life, I got to admit, I was kind of envious.

Look, I’ve definitely gotten emotional and teared up a bit during a touching part of a movie, but I’ve never cried tears of joy. I don’t know what it’s like to be so in love with someone and happy to be with them that in the moment, I’m unable to hold back the water works streaming down my face while I look into the eyes of my soulmate on my wedding day. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve cried before, but not because I was happy, it was because I had lost something, or someone. I cried when Tasha and I broke up all three times, and I cried when our cat Jose died, and most recently, (and I can’t believe I am admitting this in my blog), but this past holiday season when I was sad and depressed for many reasons, I found myself listening to the EDM song “Leave It All Behind” by Dash Berlin.  It was Christmas Eve, I was alone in my apartment, and I was incredibly moved by the lyrics that apparently hit too close to home that I ended up balling my eyes out and breaking down on the floor of my kitchen while the song played in the background. Go ahead, you can laugh. I know it’s pretty funny when someone sheds a tear to “electronic dance music.”

Tears of sadness are a common thing, and there have been many times in my life when I laughed so hard I cried, but I don’t know what it’s like to be so affected by the love I have for someone else that it causes me to shed tears of gratification. I can’t even find the words to describe what was going through my mind that day, but I knew in that moment how much P-Nut really cared and loved Efia, and how for most of my life I’ve been missing that feeling and longing for that connection with someone. Truth is, I never busted his balls for crying at his own wedding. When the ceremony was over and he and Efia were officially husband and wife and everyone was smiling and clapping, the only thing I felt for my friend was a complete and total sense of pride and respect. If I hadn’t said it before, at least he knows how I feel now.

All the groomsmen and bridesmaids were now subject to the part of the wedding where we were secluded like prisoners from the drinks, the apps and everyone else at the wedding to engage in the arduous task of taking pictures.  The groomsmen had to wait while the Bride, Groom and the parents of the Bride and Groom were getting their pictures first, followed by the bridesmaids, then the groomsmen, then finally all of us together. I took it upon myself to grab some beers for us while we sat around and waited for our time to snap a few memorable moments. You can see in the picture below how Gary made use the groomsmen gift we got from P-Nut while we were waiting for the photographer.

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Also below you can see how horrific my hair looked that day.

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After the pictures, we were all announced to the ballroom full of guests by our legal names, except for Parr, aka Joseph T. Carr whose was announced to everyone who could hear the Emcee butcher his name…..

Now, making his way into the ballroom is ‘James’ T Carr.”

Yeah, that was it. Here comes our good ol’ friend “James.” How do you mess that up? Sure, Joseph and James are similar, because they both start with the letter J, but clearly one has an extra syllable plus a different vowel in it. As the kids used to say back in 2012, THAT was an “epic fail.”

After the wedding party was announced and all of our duties were completed, we all found our seats, got settled in, ordered a drink and then hit the buffet. Ahhh, the buffet. I think I went back twice that afternoon for more food. I must have had two helpings of the shrimp and grits because it was excellent, an extra large potion of the lobster mac and cheese, and I’m pretty sure I threw some greens and chicken in there, but it was pretty much all carbs all day for me. There was a lot of southern home-style food at this spread which is what I would expect from a wedding that took place in the panhandle of Florida. The food was great, the drinks were being drank, but I gotta be honest, none of us were really pounding down the alcohol, especially Nicola who was a few seats away from me and Tasha at the table, definitely still hung over and apparently “on water” that afternoon.

That’s me and Tasha speak for not drinking alcohol in case you didn’t know. It came about two months ago when we were at the Golden Nugget in Vegas, and we were pretty buzzed and I noticed these two girls sitting at the bar who could have been hookers, but could have also just been “randos” who were just on the prowl, but they looked suspect to the former. Anyway, I leaned over to Tasha and said to her.

“Watch me freak these girls out.”

Then I told the bartender “we” wanted to buy them a drink. He came back a few minutes later and told us their reply was “Thank you, but no thank you.” Apparently one the girls already had a drink, and the other one was, as he put it, “on water.” Is that anything like “on ecstasy” or “on LSD?”  Tasha and I started cracking up because I’m sure those chicks thought we were making an indecent proposal, but the truth is, we just like to fuck with people we don’t know when we’re drunk. Try it sometime. It’s pretty fun.

Anyway, we were on alcohol, Nicola was on water, and P-Nut and Efia were on the dance floor, while Chad stood in front of them, and asked for us all to quiet down as he raised his glass of champagne and gave a heart warming speech to the newly married couple. You might remember Chad from getting married to Mary in a past blog entry of mine, and you might remember P-Nut from such past speeches as “Diarrhea of the Mouth at Chad’s & Mary’s Wedding.” If you don’t, you can always go back and read “Chad & Mary (Part 2)” to recall some of the things he ineptly said to the Bride, the Groom, and the room full of 200 plus wedding guests that day. In the meantime, here we are three years later and Chad was finally able to give P-Nut a little payback as he toasted his friends, while bringing up the wedding speech within a wedding speech.

At this point, the wedding speech retribution was accomplished, life had come full circle, and it was time for the Bride and Groom to unknowingly predict the next two singles who were to get married. Efia stood in front of a small gaggle of single ladies, and on the count of three, she tossed her bouquet into the air over her shoulder, and into the hands of…. Tasha. That’s right. Tasha caught the bouquet, again. She caught it at CJ & Shauna’s wedding too, but I didn’t remember it happening until she told me two weeks ago after I wrote that entry. So there she was on the sidelines, bouquet in hand as all the gents gathered on the dance floor behind P-Nut and waited for him to wind up and enthusiastically toss the garter over his shoulder, and into a dwindling group of single men including me and three of my single friends. It was pretty much not a contest at all. Gary, Parr and Shaun were standing behind me and to my left, each with drinks in their hands which unequivocally gave me the advantage in catching it, and anchored to my right was an older gentleman in a blue flannel who had either changed clothes, or just wondered into the a wedding reception that day.

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That’s me with the garter in my hand raising it up over my head after catching it like I just won the Stanley Cup, and that’s Parr, Gary, and Shaun, with their drinks in their hand and a look on their faces as if to say, “Of course he caught it” because as it turns out, it landed right in front of my feet on the dance floor. I had to pick it up.  P-Nut isn’t the most athletic guy I know, but also in his defense, a garter don’t make for a very good projectile.

So I caught the garter, and Tasha caught the bouquet for the first time in the five weddings we attended together. I knew this would eventually happen. To be honest, I was happy it was her who I was forced to humiliate myself with in front of all of P-Nut and Efia’s friends and family for next few minutes. In classic wedding tradition, she sat in a chair on the dance floor, and I got down to business. With careful meditation I assessed the situation, took the garter in my teeth and applied said garter to her upper right thigh with precise precision and calculated accuracy. It even might had tickled her a little bit, and it definitely made for a good show.

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After looking at the pictures of the wedding, the reception, and the ones later on in the evening when a teenager named Brandon tried to teach us all how to perfect the “Gangnum Style” dance, it really brought me back to a joyous and wonderful weekend in my life.  Almost three years ago, I had gotten a speeding ticket at the start of the weekend, Tasha and I were flat broke and living together in a one bedroom apartment in L.A., and we didn’t know what raw deal life was going to hand us next, yet we were able to let all of that go for awhile and be a part of the start of Jason and Efia’s new life together.

This wedding was like a milestone in my adult life. I wasn’t the one getting married, or giving a heartfelt humorous speech to my friend on the dance floor. I wasn’t about to go on a honeymoon to Hawaii, nor was I making the last payment on a diamond ring I bought almost two years ago. However, I felt like I had grown up a bit that weekend as I watched yet another one of my best friends from high school start a new chapter in a novel new life with someone they love. Love is the only word I know where I can use all the other words in the English language to try and describe it, but it still can never be truly defined.

I may not be able to fully comprehend P-Nut & Efia’s love for one another, but they caused me see love in a different way, a way that I could define for myself.  The events of that weekend made me cry just a little, and laugh just a little bit louder because it reminded me of how even though life may stress us out or make us ask why, at the end of the day, if you have someone you can come home to and you care about them more than anything else in the world and they tell you “everything is going to be ok”.… then you love someone, and they love you, and you’re the luckiest person on earth.

I’ve loved Tasha as my girlfriend before, but situations change and now we love each other in a different way. She’s still the first one I go to when I feel anxious about where my life is headed, and she’s still the only one I talk to truthfully when I’m feeling down and depressed. Sure, I may not have cried at my own wedding like a little sissy boy, (just kidding Nut!) but I do understand what it’s like to love someone in my own way, and I think for now, I’m ok with that.

Yeah, living with Tasha over the next year was a little difficult, I’m not gonna lie. We argued at times, we wanted to kill each other a lot, and neither one of us got laid much at all. We were working together on this project that we really believed in, even if the synopsis of our partnership and the logline of the show still had some room to grow. Trust me, to put yourself in an position where you sleep a foot away from your ex, but on a separate bed, and split cable, power, and water bills each month, but still take separate showers shows that you must really love someone, or some thing enough to put up with those awkward and unaccommodating moments.

I may not understand crying when you’re happy love, but maybe one day I will. I know that Tasha and I share a love for each other, even though it’s different from P-Nut and Efia’s or Chad and Mary’s or different from the love that you share with your spouse or significant other. And I know what you’re thinking…..how could you live “the married life” within the same four walls as your ex-girlfriend and NOT sleep with her.  Am I right? Believe me, I STILL hear that question, and the answer STILLl is it just never happened. But you know what, it’s alright if you don’t believe me. I wouldn’t expect you to fully understand “our” love.

When we all got back to the hotel, the wedding party sat around in the lobby drinking a few beers and eating pizza that I bought for everyone. We were all a little tired, yet somehow, still a little hungry and to be honest, I wasn’t looking forward to the four hour drive back to Atlanta the next day so we could catch our flight home. I honestly wished we could have stayed a little longer and spent more time with our friends. As I’ve gotten older, and as my single friends have gone the way of the dinosaur, I’m starting to realize that there aren’t many more of these weddings left to go to. I guess that’s why I had a hard time saying goodbye to everyone that afternoon.

Dave and Shaun had to catch their flight, Parr, Gary, Desiree and Nicola had a long drive back to Jersey, and Chad and Mary had to pack up their stuff and their son Bastian and head back home. Sure, I know I’ll see them all again soon, but logically the next time we’re all together it will most likely be for someone’s wedding.  It certainly won’t be my wedding, even though the perfect unmarried couple caught the bouquet and the garter that afternoon. I guess sometimes life is bittersweet.

Tasha and I made it to the airport the next afternoon by driving exactly what the posted speed limit was the whole way through Georgia. It was a nice drive, and it only took us five and a half hours to drive 261 miles, plus I saved some money on the flight by flying in and out of Atlanta. What about that speeding ticket I got at the beginning of the trip? Well yeah, that part sucked, but I eventually did pay it when I got back home. No speeding ticket was going to negate the fact that I was honored to have been a part of my best friend’s special day.

On the airplane ride back to Los Angeles, I smiled to Tasha, put on my headphones and sat back in my discounted seat while I fondly recalled the events of the weekend, as I just kept telling myself  “I saved some money on the flight.”

Next Wedding: June 10th, 2015

Follow on Twiter @CMarc333

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All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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