My name is Victor It was Saturday afternoon and my brother, Stevie and I were in the room that we used to share when we were kids. We were there getting ready to go to our cousin Paul’s wedding. After five, sometimes volatile years together, he was marrying Vanessa. I was his best man and Stevie, as well as two of our cousins were groomsmen. I was dressed and ready, relaxing on my old bed while he was in the mirror putting on his bow tie.
“Look at my two men,” my sister Rhonda said when she walked in the room.
It was the first time that the three of us have been together in—wow—almost three years. I got up from the bed before she told me to.
“You both look so handsome,” she said smiling and looking at the both of us in our charcoal grey suits.
“And you look beautiful,” I said as she walked up to Stevie.
“I can do that, Rhonda,” Stevie said as she adjusted his bow tie.
“I know,” she said, but she didn’t stop until the tie was just right.
Rhonda couldn’t help herself; she’s been taking care of my brother and me since I can remember.
“I’m just so happy to see you two; for all of us to be together. Even if it’s just for the day,” she said and cut her eyes at Stevie. “Since one of us has to leave tomorrow. But it’s so good to see you two.” Rhonda held out her arms and we shared what we called our circle.
“All we got is each other,” she said softly the way she used to.
“That’s all we ever needed,” Stevie said.
I never knew my father and I was five years old when my mother met a man and she moved away to DC. After that, Rhonda pretty much raised us.
“I can’t believe you kids still do that,” our Uncle Don said coming in the door, interrupting our moment. We broke our circle. “You know I always wondered what you were saying to each other.”
“Some things you were meant to wonder about,” Rhonda said and kissed him on the cheek.
“We haven’t told you in all these years, no reason to believe that we’d tell you now,” I said as I followed Rhonda past him and out of the room.
Uncle Don shook his head. “You got something smart to say too?”
“No, sir. There’s nothing else to be said,” I heard Stevie say.
The three of us rode together to the church. On the way there, we talked a little about Uncle Don. Him and our Aunt Michelle have three children; Paul, who’s getting married today, and his sisters, Maggie and Angie.
“Uncle Don is a good father,” Stevie commented. “Not only to his kids, but to us too.
“I’m sure both of you will be great fathers one day,” Rhonda said.
“Not me. I don’t want any kids,” I laughed. “I’m not even interested in getting married.” Understanding that one wasn’t necessary to do the other.
“You gotta have a baby to be a father,” Stevie said. He is an FBI field agent or at least he was until he recently took a desk job. His wife, Sharon, said that him being in the field so much was putting a strain on their marriage, so he made the change.
“Now that you’ve given up working in the field I’m sure that you and Sharon will have a baby soon,” Rhonda said. “I need some nieces and nephews.”
“No, we won’t be having a baby.”
“Why you say that?” I asked.
Stevie took a deep breath. “I might as well tell you.”
“It’s about time,” Rhonda said. We both noticed that he’d been acting kinda funny since he got here this morning. “Tell us the truth. Save me the trouble of asking.”
“Sharon and I are divorced.”
“What?” I asked. “But you just gave up field work for her. I thought that was the point?”
“I did too,” Stevie said and looked out the window.
“I was right, wasn’t I,” Rhonda said and I wondered what she was talking about. She moved closer and put her arm around Stevie. “She was cheating on you the whole time.”
“Yeah.” He turned and faced her. “She was.”
“I’m sorry, Stevie,” Rhonda said.
“Me, too, Stevie. I’m sorry to hear that. Damn, that’s fucked up.”
“It’s all right.” He kissed Rhonda on the cheek. “All we really got is each other.”
“That’s all we ever needed,” I said and it reminded me once again that the only people that would never let any of us down were all in that limo.
And that was sad, but true.
The wedding went off, well, as well as a wedding can go. Vanessa made a beautiful bride in her simple white dress with elegant lace train and Paul looked pretty cool in tails. Paul and Vanessa decided they would make a few changes in the conventional church wedding ceremony.
Paul came down the aisle flanked on either side by Uncle Don and Aunt Michelle. And Vanessa did the same with her parents. They wanted to be—as they put it: presented—by both of their parents; which made perfect sense to me. Well, as much sense as a wedding can make.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not anti-marriage. I’m sure when the right two people get together it can work. My grandfather loved my grandmother until the day God called her home. So I know that it can work. I’ve just never seemed to find the right one for me. And believe me, I have tried— though unsuccessfully—to find the one, but each relationship ended with me still looking for what I am now starting to think doesn’t exist.
Not the perfect woman; just perfect for me. And me being perfect for her would be great too.
My grandfather told me once that loving a woman is hurt and disappointment. When he told me, I was too young to know what he was talking about. But it stuck with me. Maybe because it’s turned out to be true. Honestly, the only women I’ve ever known that didn’t disappoint me was my grandmother and Rhonda; the best sister in the world. She’s always been there for me. She was there to fight for me when I couldn’t fight for myself. And she was always there to hold me when I used to cry.
It’s okay, Victor. Don’t cry. She didn’t mean it.
Once the ceremony was over, we were all rushed into another room to take pictures. When the last picture was snapped, we headed for the reception that was being held at The River Club. Vanessa chose the venue because of the exquisite view of downtown and the St. Johns River.
We were sitting at the bridal table and I was congratulating Paul and his new wife Vanessa, when she asked me when I was going to find a woman and get married.
“When I find the right one,” I said and hoped that Paul, since he knows how I feel about getting married, would help me out and change the subject.
“You just need to find the right type of woman,” Paul said and kissed his wife.
“I don’t have a type.”
“Yes you do,” Vanessa insisted and picked up her champagne glass.
“Okay, what’s my type?”
“You’re type is that you don’t have a type. What you have, Victor is a style.” Vanessa paused. “And before you say it, there is a difference.”
“Okay, what’s my style?”
“You like personalities. Not any particular type of personality, they just have to have one. You like a—how should I say this—” Vanessa paused. “—you like a very feminine, very lady like woman. Like every other man in your family, you’re a gentleman, so you know how to treat a lady.”
“Anything wrong with that?” I asked.
“Worked for me,” Paul said and it required a fist bump.
“Not at all.” Vanessa leaned close and kissed Paul on the cheek. “And it is still working for you. But because you’re a gentleman, Victor, you like a woman who knows how to appreciate it.”
“So far, I can’t argue with you.”
“Because it’s pointless to try,” Paul said, and his new bride took a playful swing at him, but he was right. Vanessa is a force to be reckoned with when she wants to be.
“And you like your very feminine, very ladylike women to be attractive,” Vanessa said; and then she laughed. “But it’s not a disqualifier.”
“I’m glad you said that.” Paul drained his champagne glass. “’Cause you’ve had some very feminine, very ladylike—bats,” he said and laughed.
“They all had personality though, Paul,” she said quickly. Then she tried to stop laughing. “Seriously though, you’re a nice guy, Victor. You just never let anybody get close enough to you to find out.”
“And those are the ones he likes best,” Paul added.
“The ones that don’t try to get to know him. They have—” He looked at Vanessa. “How should I say this?” Paul paused. “They seem to find other purposes for him.”
“Whatever,” I said, more to end the conversation. And that’s when I saw her.
I watched in wide-eyed wonder as she crossed the floor on the way to her table. The way she seemed to glide effortlessly across the floor when she walked. Poise, elegance, grace; she was absolutely phenomenal.
© Roy Glenn 2015
Find the continuation of Chapter One in next week’s edition on November 18th.
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