You were naïve.
Asleep on the job.
You saw it coming a mile away, but you didn’t blink.
Instead, you held the envelope up, admiring the cursive.
The “C” in cordially was written so prettily you thought it came from the 1700s and caused you to hate yourself, if only for a moment.
And then, still admiring, you call out to your wife and put the nail in your coffin.
“Jackie’s getting married! In Tampa! We’re going, right?”
“Wouldn’t miss it for the world! — It’ll be our vacation!”
Hook. Line. & Sinker.
Life goes on.
Eight months later, it’s weeks before the wedding when your phone lights up. It’s a text from Jackie.
“You booked your rooms, right?”
“What’s in Tampa?”
“You’re funny — see you soon!”
Your head cranes to the stairs.
“Hey, Jackie texted me; she asked if we got the… Ohhh, fuck!”
Suddenly you feel the coarse hairs of a noose called responsibility tighten around your neck. You think, “how can I be so stupid?!” “How can I say yes to a wedding, States away!” “Do I even like Jackie?”
The questions multiply like an unattended calculator in a classroom full of third graders.
And then time speeds up as you see your weekend unfold.
You imagine the car ride and all the fun you get to have on your 15-hour trip. You picture all the other idiots driving next to you, who, on a public highway, seem to privately be in your way.
Next, you’re in the hotel lobby. Its marbled, luxurious interior makes your jaw drop. And when you see the bill that comes with this place, your jaw falls off at the damn hinge.
Now you’re red-faced in the crowd, sun beating down on you, grinding your teeth, foot tapping away. Jackie walks by in her wedding dress.
“Aren’t you glad we came?” Your wife enthusiastically asks.
You nod artlessly.
Finally, you feel your hips swaying and your head nodding, grooving on the dance floor — your one moment of peace. The drinks you had finally seemed to be working their magic when you hear Jackie’s familiar voice.
“It’s so good to see you! But it sucks you have to go so soon -that’s like 30 hours of driving in two days!”
The music pauses.
The world eats itself.
And you grab your chest as you fall into the floor, spinning down into the recesses of your mind.
Then an echo from another world snaps you out of it.
“Danny, Why the fuck are you screaming?! You’re upsetting the cat!”
“Nothing — just nothing… hold on, Dear, let me grab some water.”
And that’s when you see it.
The motherfuckin’ wedding invitation, laughing at you on the fridge.
The consequences of saying yes were somehow displayed proudly.
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