I once went to a wedding and fell in love. It was with a girl I had met only two days before. Her name was Amelia, she was a friend of the bride. The relationship lasted exactly 48 hours. After which, she told me she wasn't able to offer me anything. It was the highbrow it's not you, it's me.
The wedding took place on a country estate. The bride's family were rich and had hired what looked like a Norman stronghold. It was summer and we were gathered on the lawn. Dinner and afternoon drinks were followed by aimless socialising. I asked lots of people what they did, and talked about how lovely the bride looked.
Amelia made it clear early on that looks were unimportant. It was humour that counted, apparently. This was disappointing news as I usually depended on my moderate good looks to see me through. Instead, I would have to rely on my slender stock of anecdotes.
In the end I decided to simply get drunk and allow my inner comedian to take over. It worked - in a way. My attempt at larking about, while effective, was slightly boorish. I made her laugh, but at great expense. Several friendships were ended that day. And it was me, in my desperate longing, that ended them.
The reception took place on the grounds of the estate. As we drank, Amelia grew more amenable to my japes. Indeed, I felt the world was a funnier place, and was suddenly able to make a jest of anything.
"Hey, check out the ridiculous cake," I said, "it looks like Miss Havisham's from Great Expectations."
She laughed. A direct hit, I thought. The multi-tiered confection sat on a plinth surrounded by flowers and champagne flutes. It was a towering pile of chintz. Everyone kept saying how wonderful it looked. I could not agree.
"Hey, do you remember the November Rain video?" I said.
"Sure, Guns N' Roses. The one where Axl gets married, right?"
"Yeah, then it starts raining. Everyone at the wedding reception starts running for cover. Then some guy dives over the wedding cake. He basically smashes it to pieces."
"Oh god, I know the bit you mean."
"I just can't understand why he did it. Why didn't he just walk around?"
"Yeah. What an idiot."
It was night-time on the lawn and we were facing the gazebo where a small disco had started. It wasn't quite 'ties round the head' time, but it was close. Men and women bobbed to energetic pop music.
The wedding cake, now backlit, looked somehow sinister. It watched over us like a grim pagan effigy. In its own gruesome way, it was an ornate testament to love.
"Look," I said, "it's November Rain!"
I galloped across the dance-floor with a comical gait. This'll be good, I thought. My leather soled shoes then lost their grip. I intended to stop short but skidded forward. Twisting my body at the last moment, I smashed sideways into the table.
"Jesus!" A cry from behind. I tumbled to my side, my shoulder colliding with the bottom tier of the cake. I yelped as I came down hard on my knees.
Amelia trotted over in her heels.
"My god, are you alright?"
"I think so." I rubbed my elbow.
I hadn't quite taken out the cake. I had, however, demolished its foundations. Amelia squatted down as I sat up. A crowd of besuited men gathered around. Women in bright gowns stared at me. "How could he," one said.
Between the legs of an elderly man, I saw the bride with her head in her hands. "On her wedding day too," he said, "what a buffoon."
I pretended not to hear, and continued nursing my elbow. Perhaps, if I appeared injured they would leave me alone. I was Buster Keaton without the laughs.
Shortly afterwards Amelia gave me the talk. We were incompatible, she said. She was one of life's achievers. And I was a man partially covered in cake. Despite our weekend of fripperies, it would never work. I remember scrubbing my rented jacket in the bathroom sink, worried about my deposit. My reflection stared back at me accusingly.
Later on I learned that my rampage had been videoed. The day could have left me burnt, but I managed to make peace with myself on the train home. It is done. I have become death, the destroyer of weddings. Back to London, boys, back to where it all makes sense.Suggest a correction