Saturday, December 23, 2006

Gordon's Breakfast - 35

We definitely sneak in. We don't as Larissa Snowe said we would walk in with our heads held high because as soon as we're through the door of the church we are ducking our heads down and bending our knees in the hope that no one will see us and apart from a few small children I don't think anyone really notices our entrance.

My first thought is WOW. There are a lot of people here. I'm personally surprised I hadn't expected this many, but this is an occasion where both sides of the family have pulled out all the stops and turned up on mass. It's like everyone has thrown their hands in the air and gone "finally for my daughter/son a wedding" – of course they all turned Jewish also, but that can only be a good thing. There must be at least 80 to 100 people. I can see Susan very clearly flanked by her father. She's dressed in a sleeveless knee length dress, which I know shouldn't be a surprise, but I can't remember the last time I saw Susan in a dress so it gets to me anyway. Even from back here she looks great.

I can see Alison sitting with Johnny and my sister three rows from the front thankfully like the rest of the congregation they are blissfully unaware of the creeping entrance made by Larissa Snowe and I.

"There's a lot more people here than I thought," I whisper to Larissa Snowe.
"Mmm, I was expecting a small huddle, this is a proper wedding."

I think it's when Larissa Snowe says that (it's a proper wedding) that maybe it finally hits me and becomes real. It wasn't real before. We were just messing around with all the craziness, but now with all the people and girl dressed in white this is serious, genuine and grown-up. I come to an immediate decision.

"We can not possibly do this. It's an incredible stupid idea – do you mind if I say that again?"

Larissa Snowe smiles as if this was perfectly all right and really quite expected.

"Don't be silly."
"Yes, you'll regret this forever if you don't go through with it."

And I'm trying to think, am I going to regret this forever if I don't do this? Before I felt pretty certain (of something at least), but now I just feel an overpowering sense of nerves and fear. My whole body is trembling.

So we sit there and we sing some hymns and then it all happens really quickly, which is weird as my memory of weddings is that they take forever to get anywhere and I'm always sitting there thinking "come on marry them already". But it isn't like that this is a fast moving pacy and brisk event. The priest is already starting to do his business and he's talking those words that are so oddly familiar to us all.

"Dearly beloved we are gathered here today to celebrate one of life's greatest moments, to give recognition to the worth and beauty of love, and to add our best wishes to the words which shall unite Adam and Susan in marriage. Should there be anyone who has cause why this couple should not be united in marriage, they must speak now or forever hold their peace?"

At this point I'm sure, just as everyone else does inside the church, I hold my breath and pray no one says anything, except I don't hold the air inside my lungs for very long as Larissa Snowe elbows me sharply in the ribs forcing me to cough and splutter.

"Go on then," she whispers, "now, go on."
"Go on?"
"Yes, this is your moment."
"I don't want a moment."
"Yes you do."
"No way, this is a totally insane idea. Look! This is over look at them? There is no way…"

But I don't get a chance to finish as Larissa Snowe suddenly thinks she is in back at school as she is raising her hand in the air about to impress another teacher with the erudite prowess of her mind. God that girl has long arms I bet she always got noticed.

"We have something to say," and Larissa Snowe 's voice booms down the long stony church.

Then there's that almost indescribable sound from the congregation. That mix, that single voice, a soft wave of hush, murmur, alarm and surprise all rolled into one. I am pulling at Larissa Snowe's sleeve, but to no avail. I don't believe it.

"Since when did we have something to say? We are not a we, you dumped me three times.
"Get of with it," Larissa Snowe says shaking me off.

Get on with it? And before I have even vaguely thought through what I need to do, my voice too sounds like it too is booming down the aisle of the church. I think even god might be able to hear us.

"We don't have something to say, I have something to say!" and I seem to be grinning like an idiot.
"Well, I thought you weren't going to say anything," Larissa Snowe says indignantly.
"I wasn't," I say.
"I know that's why I said something."

Our conversation draws titters of laughter from around the church snapping Larissa Snowe and I back to reality. It has also given Susan a chance to recover at the shock of voice interrupting her big day.

"What on earth are you doing? This is my wedding!" she shrieks, "I can't believe you've bought your girlfriend to my wedding and taken the opportunity to ruin it."

"I'm not his girlfriend," Larissa Snowe says.
"What?" shouts a furious Susan.
"She's right we're just friends," I say in support of Larissa Snowe.
"That's not what I heard," Susan shouts back.
"Oh and what have you heard," Larissa Snowe lobs back.
"Larissa?" I say in reprimand, "do you mind?"

But before I can get another word in, Susan yells back.

"I heard you were sleeping with each other!"

"That's completely not true," Larissa Snowe says.
"Larissa!" I say trying to stop her, but its too late.
"We only did it just once."

Monday, December 11, 2006

Gordon's Breakfast - 34

Total victory! What can I say, I know therapy isn't meant to be about winning or losing, but I can't help myself I seemed to have stunned Laura into silence. I am definitely making progress.

I've been talking with my therapist about Larissa's crazy plan and Laura really doesn't know what to say. I know this as for the first time she is lost for words. I managed to completely wrong foot her. My only worry is that I'm not entirely convinced that is a good thing, maybe it's best to just gloss over that.

To be honest I'm not all that surprised really, I mean Larissa's plan is pretty crazy, which is odd for such a sensible girl and I suppose it just goes to show how versatile she is.

"I have to say Gordon that I'm very surprised it's…"
"I know it's incredibly rash."
"Rash is a very good way of describing it."
"Thanks, I think Susan might appreciate it."
"Have you," and she is turning her hand over, "thought this through?"
"You know to be honest, not really. I'm worried I might be over analysing, besides the plan is clearly so crazy that if you think about it for too long…well, that's pretty much why I decided not to think it through."
"Mmm, I see. Have you discussed this with your friends?"
"Not as such."
"Not as such?"
"Well, more like not at all. I'm worried that they might think it's really not the best idea in the world and word could just get out."
"But you think Susan might appreciate it?"
"You seem very sure about that?"
"Yes, you do. Why is that Gordon?"
"Well to be honest, I think it's more down to having failed to really think this through properly."
"Do you think Larissa has thought it through?"
"You know I'm not sure she has, but she gives a really good impression of someone who has, which I think might have inspired some dumb confidence on my part."
"But you're sure Susan will appreciate your efforts?"
"Actually the more you say the word 'appreciate', I'm actually less and less sure that is the case."
"So why are you doing it?"

That's really the best question Laura has asked me in a while. Why questions are always the best. They always go straight to the heart of the matter, which being strictly honest has never exactly been my strong point, and is always an issue that I cannot help at least trying to avoid. I just can't seem to help myself.

"That's a really good question, Laura."
"And that is not such a good answer Gordon."
"Let me ask you again," Laura says even softer than before, "So why are you doing it?"

Okay, okay, okay. I can do this, I can, and all I need to do is answer the question Okay, so not just answer, but answer truthfully.

"I think if I don't I might regret it quite a lot. What do you think?" I say grinning.

I know Laura never answers me, never gives me her opinion as such, but I couldn't. help myself anyway.

"I think you seem to have already made up your mind."

I nod, she's right, I think I have.

When I get home I have no sooner walked through the door when Larissa is on the phone.

"I just wanted to see how you were doing and that you hadn't had any second thoughts about my exciting plan to help you win back Susan.

"Now its your exciting plan?"
"Oh well it is exciting, isn't it?"
"That's one way of looking at it. Terrifying and kind of crazy is the other. Besides, win back, might be putting it a little strongly as I never really had her in the first place."
"Good point, but really Gordon, I think that was just a technicality."
"A technicality? Are you sure."
"Oh quite sure."

Damn, for a second there I thought I had an iron clad excuse for getting out of Larissa's crazy plan. No such luck, I swear me and crazy plans are never torn asunder.

"Are you sure you're not having any second thoughts?"
"Second thoughts? I have so many second thoughts that I have third, fourth and fifth thoughts."
"Oh that's to be expected."
"Glad to hear it, there is one thing."
"The wedding?"
"What about it?"
"Well you know we're not invited, right?"
"Oh that's just a technicality."
"Another one?"
"Yes, of course, people always turn up at weddings uninvited. Its expected."
"Yes, but they are usually people no one knows. I'm a marked man."
"I know its terribly exciting."

Boy oh boy. To be honest I'm kind of thinking that really Larrisa Snowe crazy plan won't happen. That instead we'll get there and…well I'm not sure what, but it just won't come off. That at the vital moment someone, namely me, will falter, have a drastic change of heart and come to his senses. I'm pretty convinced this will be the outcome as otherwise I would be insane with nervous worry right now instead of being quite laid back and just getting on with what I need to get on with.

"Don't worry I'm with you 100% on this," I tell Larissa Snowe.
"Gordon it's the other way around I'm with you 100%. Don't worry, I'm not going to give you a hard time I just wanted to make sure you got your one suit dry cleaned."
"Hey I have more than one suit," I protest.
"Gordon, you know that jackets you bought a decade ago from charity shops don't count. It's really time you owned two suits, you know that don't you?"
"I guess I do now, okay what can I say it is sadly true and I feel diminished, you know in a sad comical way. I own one decent suit, but I don't necessarily think this is a crime."
"It is a bit of a crime."
"You mean I'm a suit crime committer who would have guessed it would come to this."
"But seriously tell me one more time you're not having second thoughts?" Larissa Snowe asks.
"Actually zero thoughts, I've really tried and have been pretty successfully in my effort not to think about it at all."

Gosh I wish I hadn't said that. I think I'm one of those people who failed to grasp the concept that certain thoughts need not necessarily be converted into sentences and expressed verbally.

"You know that's the mental equivalent of sticking your head in the sand?"
"I know genius isn't it?"
"Well it certainly explains a lot. Look I have to go. I have a meeting, what do you have planned?"
"Oh I'm going to have breakfast."
"Arrrgh, Gordon' breakfast, almost midday, not quite what one would expect."
"Hey, don't knock it. I like the idea that breakfast and lunch merge into one. As it means I can have serial at lunchtime, which is kind of cool. I'm a late breakfast kind of person, what can I say?"
"No, you're just late generally. I'll see you on Saturday. And if you feel yourself starting to panic call me."
"Before you go, what is our exact plan of attack, you know, just so I have something to think about for the rest of the week."
"Oh I thought we would walk in with our heads held high."
"With our heads held high? Are you sure?"
"I thought so, unless you have an alternative?"
I think about it for a second, then it strikes me I have a much better plan.
"I thought we could sneak into the back of the church. You know, all sneaky and stealthy like? It seems pretty appropriate."
"Oh, no we can't sneak. This is definitely not a moment for sneakers."
"Really, as I have to tell you that I am so much better at sneaking around than I am at holding my head high."

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Gordon's Breakfast - 33

Alison I have been celebrating. I should just say drinking. We have been sitting around drinking wine all evening and to be honest we're a little tipsy, but for a very good cause: it's the first time that Alison has had anything to drink since Caitlin was born. She keeps saying throughout the evening that she feels really rather irresponsible, but I merely encourage her. To be honest I think I'm a bad influence.

Tellingly Alison has insisted we dance and I have heartily acceded to her suggestion. We've been jumping around her sitting room to one track after another, to the Foo Fighters, The Strokes and Feeder. And when the right song has come on we aren't just dancing we've been shouting out the words at the top of our voices like we're in our own private sitting room club.

"I love this song – ‘and there's no new religion and there's no real solution' – and I've always felt that if you can't move around your own house to music then there is something seriously wrong. A little dancing is good for you, right?" asks Alison who is almost pogoing to Feeder.

"Absolutely and I am quite happy to go on record and admit to jumping around the flat to the odd track, but only – and I think this is an important distinction – when it's really too late and I have had too much. Or otherwise when it is exactly like to night."

"...Suffer the breaks, you know I still remember it, keeps burning away, I know that you may take a while, to come back around..."

And then we reprise. Alison is really hollering out the words to this one, shaking her head and belting them out. Suffer the breaks? Yeah, I think we still remember it.

After tiring of the dancing we flop down again and Alison idly leafs through a magazine on the couch and then quickly declares I'm failing after scanning a quiz of things not to do once your in your thirties.

"Gordie you're falling desperately short."
"I am? Damn those lists."
"Afraid so. I've tested you and, really, it's disappointing."
"You're drunk I want a recount."
"Funny, so are you, no recount."
"Okay so how am I failing exactly? Hit me with it."
"You buy wine that costs less than £7 a bottle. That, Gordie, is a terrible crime."
"I can't believe you've picked on that one. I brought champagne to your Christmas party!?"
"You know, I meant to say at the time I thought that was a little ostentatious."
"You didn't say that when you were drinking it."
"Really? Mmm, anyway, you own a watch that definitely cost less than £100 -- fashion faux pas extraordinaire. In fact, you have a teenager's watch. What is that a Timex junior diver's watch?"
"Okay, guilty what can I say I almost never wear a watch any how. Isn't that why they put the time on phones?"
"Cheapskate, what else? Oh, own an item of clothing by Kangol. Guilty again."
"I have a T-shirt, not a stupid hat that I wear backwards or forwards. That seems unfair. I know I'm not Samuel L Jackson and I realise that only black people look cool when they do this."
"Unfair? Repeat after me 'I am not a teenager'. Your Kangol days are over. Oh, I have you on the last two as well. Own a plant that lived longer than 28 days? Come on, your place looks like the CIA has been experimenting with Agent Orange. All your plants are dying."
"OK, guilty, but I think that's only a minor misdemeanour, what else have you got?"
"Right, here goes, deep breath... Still believe that there is someone better out there? So guilty you've dumped more people than a dumpster truck, which is a lot of dumping. You're industrial about it."
"You mean it's not acceptable to believe in this any more?"
"Please tell me you're kidding?"
"I'm kidding?"
"That's kind of sweet, but..."
"Yeah, I know kind of sweet, but sad."
"You've worked your way through the alphabet."
"Hey, I'm not the only one."
"True, but it seems other people realised way before you that ‘S' was the letter you should have stopped at before careering on down the track."
"Oh that's hilarious, no really, just so hilarious ."
"I liked it. So what's your plan?"

I eye Alison for a moment and think of telling her Larissa Snowe's crazy plan. I want to, but I don't simply because it's the craziest plan ever. Seriously, I mean really crazy, like lock me up and throw away the key crazy and crazy like you have to be insane to try this.

Instead, I tell her about the really rather nice lunch I had with Larissa Snowe and just omit the craziness that came out of it and the craziness that is to come.

"You two are spending a lot of time together, I'm beginning to think you're the one they all talk about?" Alison says.
"Which one's that?"
"The three times dumped sucker for punishment."
"Oh that one. That's me, I have the t-shirt, and I tell you soon other people will want that t-shirt as well, it will be like a cult t-shirt and I reckon a movie can not be far behind, besides its different now, we're friends. We work better."
"Mmm you seem to work rather well."
"Just friends, no funny stuff, well some funny stuff, but that's just my jokes falling short of the mark. You know how it is."
"Oh, I know how it is," Alison says.
"No I told you, its not like that."
"But haven't you two know."
"No...well once...oh."

And I totally regret the words the instant they are out of my mouth, it just comes so naturally as I always tell Alison pretty much everything. I'm such a fool when it comes to full disclosure.

"Oh you naughty boy."
"Hey, I'm so far from naughty, I'm as straight laced as they come."
"So much for good friends."
"Hey, it was a one off."
"They’re all one offs."
"Well this was definitely a one off and to be honest I'm pretty sure it was a charity thing on her part."
"Oh don’t say that, I'm sure it wasn't charity, just committed giving," she sniggers.
"Quite, but seriously, I don't think it would have happened if she hadn't been going away."
"Maybe she'll dump you again, you know for old time's sake."
"Oh you're funny."
"Why thank you, you’d have to get new t-shirts printed."
"Look while we're on the subject..."
"Of t-shirts?"
"Not quite."
"I didn’t think so. That's a loose conversational link," Alison says, "I saw that coming a mile away. Probably further."
"I know why can I say? I love my loose conversational links."
"Oh dear, this sounds ominous."
"You know its not, but I kind of think we should have that talk."
"You do? That talk?"
"Yeah 'that talk', I kind of feel that we've been putting it off for months and well, to be honest, I feel pretty bad about that."
"Have you consulted people about this?"
"I have, and widely, market research, pollsters the works."
"Oh really do tell."
"Well I spoke to Johnny and Larissa Snowe, who were in agreement, and my sister for a second female opinion."

Alison laughs at the mention of my sister exactly like she knows something that I already know (it was pointless).

"And what did Sara say?"
"Yeah Sara, well, she just rolled her eyes and blew smoke at me. But you already knew that and besides she does that a lot anyway, so no biggie. Although really is sometimes wish she wouldn't blow smoke just so much."
"And Johnny?"
"Are you sure you want to know?"
"Oh absolutely, if we're going to have 'that talk'."
"Well he said, rather you than me, which was..."
"Honest. It's such a guy thing to say, but you still bought it up?"
"Yeah, I mean I think its one of those things you need to talk about."
"You sound like you read the manual."
"There's a manual? Damn, no body said there was a manual."
"No there's not a manual, which by-the-way is a good thing."
"So do you want to talk?"
"No, not really."
"But it's been months."
"I know, and you know what it is?"
"I wish I did."
"Well I just don't have anything to say about Paul. I really don't."
"Look, Ali, I just worry that we never talk about it and we always avoid it like some piece of unhistory."
"It is unhistory and we don't have to talk about it."
"You never call me Alison, you know that don't you?"
"True, but its such a big thing."
"That's sweet, and you're right it is a big thing. But it's been almost seven months and occasionally it makes me cry when I'm on my own, which is when you're meant to, and it can't last long. Besides, I have Caitlin. And all you. I'm sure it would be different if it wasn't like that, but I'm lucky and it is like that."
"Okay, I'm drunk, but you have me convinced. That can't be a good thing."
"You're a pushover, but you knew that. I'll convince you when you're sober if you like. The funny thing is that everyone expects you to fall apart and sometimes I think maybe I should just fall apart for a few days. Just to set people's mind at rest. Of course, I'd have to make sure as many people as possible were present so no one missed it, but I think that can be arranged."
"What would you do stay in bed and drink gin?"
"Nice idea, but I was rather thinking one quick streak down the street just to get everyone's attention. I'd shout something religious like 'Jesus is here, he's here!' over and over just to make it really convincing and act a little manic and shaky."
"Well if you're going to do something..."