Two life-changing things have happened to me in the last four months (my current joblessness not counted). One, the untimely death of a friend, and the second, the liberating realisation that I am a romantic just like the next girl. You see, I have been married for two years but have not had a wedding. Me and my significant other went to the magistrate’s court and pledged our love to a government official. I was fine with that. I’m all for marriage but have always been ambivalent about weddings. So it has been insightful, to say the least, that in the past few months I’ve been consumed with thoughts of choosing centrepieces and invitations. Up until a few months ago, no one knew what I was plagued with, until a chance encounter with a forgotten friend made me confront these dark thoughts and give a voice to my unfulfilled and unexpressed desire to pick out white organza tie-backs.
My relationship with my late friend was complex at best. We had been very close at varsity, and even had the requisite split over a boy. A boy, I must add, neither of us particularly cared for. Nevertheless, we graduated, she moved away and a couple of years later I moved to the same city. We still had a rapport that can only comes from a year of sharing a bathroom with someone. The last time I saw her we had lunch and rather unexpectedly, I blurted out what I was scared to admit, even to myself. That I, independent, intelligent woman of the millennium wanted to don a white gown and walk down the aisle. Cringe. This, to those people who know me, is something I have vilified since I started dating or got to third base (can’t remember which came first). You see, I’m a child of divorce, so along with the requisite cynicism about relationships, I’ve also been schooled that a wedding does not a marriage make. Like I said, I’m all for marriage but ambivalent about weddings. So it came as quite a shock to me that the very parade I had denounced, had become all I could think about. I was haunted by it. And it was my last lunch with her that gave me the balls to admit this to myself and it was her passing that’s given me the courage to announce it to everyone else.
When I made my confession, she did not bat an eyelid or seem in the least bit surprised at my general ideological shift. We came to the conclusion that I should bugger what everyone else thinks, and that I can be the cynical killjoy I claim to be yet still proudly wear a white veil in front of family and friends. Since then I have told my partner that I do want to take this frivolous step in the name of happily ever after. And although I still do not have the balls that she approached life with, I will adopt her plucky attitude and will at least have one glorious day to show for it.
Writer: Katlego Moutlana
(This was published in 2010 from a magazine called Celebrate Life)