Our friends got married in Tulbagh over the weekend. In a beautiful chapel, on a wine estate, in the pouring rain. We didn’t get to the church on time because the road from the farmhouse to the highway was under six inches of water. Two of our party, a married couple, had to travel separately because they had started fighting before we even left Cape Town.
Fehraad’s car got stuck in the mud. We all shouted advice from the dry of our own cars – and watched as Charl got his blue suede shoes muddied, and Fehraad made the mistake of opening his window as the wheels spun wildly looking for purchase. The resultant spatter was like a slasher movie.
My table at the reception was the hip crowd – all up from the mother city for the event. Of the ten of us – only four were single. I was one of them. Of the three remaining – two were in long-distance love. The other had been recently dumped – by note. And was still smarting: “I mean”, he said: “to be ditched by someone you were supporting is one thing – but by mispelt scratching on a bit of torn-out notepaper. That’s just pathetic.” We nodded sagely – we had all been there.
So we drank, and we ate and we laughed and we took the mickey out of each other. And we listened to speeches and we all thought they went on a bit too long. We mocked other people’s outfits and agreed the bridesmaids dresses were errm , unusual. When our pals came round we grabbed them and kissed them, wished them long lives and shed a few tears.
All in all – a regular wedding, right? Could any of you tell from the description that there were two grooms? That it was a ‘gay wedding’?
I thought not. So why are we still battling to legalise same-sex unions? Surely it’s a no brainer?
Luke’s dad thought so. He gave my favourite speech of the night – talking about how much he loved ‘his boy’. How proud he was that Luke had found his niche in life, in work – that he had fallen in love. That he had chosen someone as wonderful as Ross.
Nicky talked about his wife and his other sons, too: with elegance and wit. About how the family had experienced hardship. And how Granny Mo (93 tomorrow) had instructed them to “rise above it”. At no point did he reference that his son was gay or marrying another man. Because that just wasn’t how he saw it. He saw his lovely child happy and glowing. And that’s all that mattered to him. I looked at my pals G+R sitting at the table. R was dragged up as Christina Sparkle (ok, so that would have given the game away had I mentioned it) and G was still a bit grumpy from earlier. “Are you listening?” I asked them … “Yes” they nodded – thinking “mind your own damn business”.
The rest of the wedding went as the rest of weddings do – some people overdid the alcohol, some people danced badly, some circled the room looking for eligible men. Some told inappropriate jokes and were gently booed. Then we all went home with cake to put under our pillows. (Well, apart from Charl and Fehraad who stayed late and had to walk from the river. Charl was still furious the next morning – Fehraad said he had just looked at the stars.) On Sunday the rain broke, arching a rainbow over the valley. And, as unromantic as I am – I thought it auspicious. This traditional wine-farming community had welcomed all of us. They had blessed the union and all who were there to celebrate it.
And that’s all it takes.