It was two men at the front of the altar and they were exchanging ‘I dos’ before their officiant.
I was the officiant.
In the seats that were placed at my line of sight, I saw many familiar faces – family, friends and acquaintances who were all here to celebrate the happy couple.
There was a genuine, palpable peace in the air.
There was no conflict, no feelings of discomfort. We were all merely present to watch two souls join in the bonds of matrimony. The legality of their union was not at the forefront of the celebration.
We were gathered here to embrace love and rejoice in the sanctity of togetherness, in the bonding of two people who were reaffirming their long-standing commitment to one another.
They just happened to be of the same sex and from what I could see by the smiles that faced me, this small fact was just that – a small, irrelevant fact. The more important fact was the reception that was occurring later with a Martini Bar and a two-tiered multi layer mocha cake with chocolate ganache frosting (yum!)
Then I heard the sneeze and I realized it was coming from somewhere off to my left. It wasn’t just a regular sneeze – it was a sneeze of protest and furthermore the nose where the sneeze was emanating from was on a face I recognized all too well.
I ignored the perpetual sniffle as I carried on with the ceremony, but it was clear that the sneeze was there in protest to disrupt the proceedings and make the crowd feel uncomfortable. It was, at the very least, making me feel uncomfortable.
Still I moved on until the two guys were pronounced ‘Husband and Husband’, after which they shared an embarace followed by a quick peck on the lips that seemed much too short for the importance of this occasion.
As congratulations were being given, I stepped outside to confront ‘the nose owner’ and found the disruptor had disappeared. I was upset I was unable to speak my mind because the culprit had fled the scene.
Later, speaking with one of the grooms I was pleased to see that it had not ruined their moment and I asked how he felt through the rude string of sneezes, especially knowing this was coming from someone known to us.
His reply was simple and succinct – ‘I asked God to bless them after each sneeze.’
‘Do you think he did?’ I asked, further inquiring ‘…and do you think he cured them of their rudeness?’
‘They were not protesting anything,’ he said to me with a grin that made me feel like I was not in on the joke. ‘…they have a cold and they happen to be at the wedding, that is all,’ he reassuringly said to me as a faint realization was slowly entering my head – my clouded head.
Just as I was about to respond, I sneezed again and woke up to find I had been dreaming all this time.
I had been the blessed.
The nose owner was me.
The sneezes were mine.
I was the culprit.
And while the wedding had been great (while it lasted) and I was happy for my buddies, the realization that there was no piece of the two-tiered multi layer mocha cake with chocolate ganache frosting waiting for me did not make me feel like a blessing from God had been bestowed upon me.
In fact, my reality felt like a nightmare. Despondent, I lulled myself back to sleep hoping I would make it back to the wedding before they were out of cake.