They walked through a couple buildings before finding a group from the wedding. He was immediately engaging in conversation with old friends. Skinny disappeared, being pulled aside by the groom’s father. After visiting with the small gathering, many of whom were part of the bridal party, they found their way to the cocktail hour. They walked into a beautiful building, decorated for the reception. The dance floor situated to the right, with multiple circular dinner tables to the left. In the back of the reception hall sat the bar. He saw the line being formed to order a drink, when in the corner of his eye, he spotted his high school sweetheart. She remained striking eighteen years later. However, peering her way didn’t bring about feelings of apprehension, like in the past. It was just a couple years prior he ran into her at a party, even then he could feel an awkward tension. At first glance on this night, that awkward emotion he had felt for so many years, appeared to have evaporated. He walked over to say hello and ascertain a warm embrace. As he leaned in for a hug, he nearly lost his balance. His foot was stopped cold by a covered cord running across the floor. But, with years of working on his balance, hampered by cerebral palsy, he caught himself. Once steadied, embracing his first love felt more peaceful, than attraction driven. His emotions seemed to have finally come to rest around their relationship. He chatted for a few minutes, without any feelings of tension. The heart quieted with a new form of interaction with her, he politely excused himself.
Walking away from the interaction had him feeling a mixture of emotion. It seemed one of his most important relationships had just reached its peaceful conclusion, while another remained uncertain. Looking around the inside of the contemporary, rustic-feeling structure, he didn’t see her. Feeling momentary relief, he found the end of the drink line. He wasn’t a big drinker, occasionally having one or two in social situations. However, alcohol did have a way of helping calm his nerves. There are three main types of his disability. The most common being spastic cerebral palsy, which means stiffness in the muscles. He had been battling stiffness in his muscles throughout life. Most challenging were the spasms he could experience in his wrists and hands. The rigidity appeared at the most inconvenient times, during situations making him nervous. Seeing her this evening would most likely bring on those feelings of nervousness. So, he found a place in line, hoping to get a few sips of alcohol before the interaction was upon him. Situating himself behind other people waiting for a drink left him feeling alone. He thought about the surprising ease of seeing his high school sweetheart. Then, moved on to how it would feel to see someone special with a date. The apprehension streamed through his body. Before long, Skinny came out of nowhere, joining him in the line. He was always sneaking up on him, that guy. But, again he was thankful for Skinny’s timing, rescuing him from getting too far inside his head.
There was plenty to concern him standing in that drink line. The wedding was being held at a brewery, which in his experience meant beer and wine. He couldn’t balance a glass of beer or any kind of wine glass. As they neared the bar he was hoping hard liquor would be available. A mixed drink was most often served over ice, which for him did more than cool the liquid. Having ice inside the glass also served to balance the contents, keeping the drink from sloshing around, while the glass was inside his unsteady hand. They closed the space between themselves and the bar. He could see people walking away with mixed drinks over ice. The feeling of relief came over him, with the comfort of knowing he could have something to drink. When they reached the bar, Skinny ordered a light beer, it was then his turn, he ordered a lemonade and vodka. Also, asking for extra ice in his glass. It was a request not usually made, but he knew with upcoming greetings, he could be shakier. The extra ice would simply give his drink more stability. He also, often ordered mixed drinks in a tall glass. The taller cups being easier to handle if stiffness started taking an extra toll on his wrist. The buddies gathered their drinks of choice and moved away from the bar.
He was pleased to find the tall, narrow glass easy to handle. A straw was added making it even easier to drink. He stood inside the reception hall and took a few sips. After taking in a splash of the drink, it was time to move outside for the ceremony. They walked out the rear door and found a large grass area with white chairs. The chairs set in rows, with an aisle running down the center. At the conclusion of the aisle stood a wooden archway, where his buddy Paul would be married soon. Looking around the sun splashed area, he found another friend from his past. Patricia had been a friend from college. After spending time with the group of friends, she found a connection with one of their buddy’s, who would be in the wedding. It had been some time since he saw Patricia, as she now lived with Will in Cleveland. Will was a high school friend, who had begun dating Patricia following graduate school. They hugged and said hello, as they began catching up. She also knew Skinny from the years of everyone spending time together. The three joined together, talking and laughing, as they slowly migrated through the grass to find seats.
The three friends walked across the grass in search of chairs for the ceremony. It could be challenging for him to balance a drink while walking on any uneven surface. Sometimes a grass field could cause that undulation, bringing about some spilling of his drink. But, the ground was pretty even under his feet, his gait feeling sturdy with his half-full glass. On his way to find his seat, a voice called out his name from behind. Todd was all he heard, turning around, as his heartbeat quickened. He recognized the soft voice calling after him. Todd’s heart slightly sunk again, watching Lindsey walk toward him with her arm interlocked with her date. Lindsey’s beauty struck him, as it often did, she wore a pink dress with her pretty blonde hair styled with care. She looked stunning in the afternoon sun. Todd moved his drink from his right hand to his left, freeing up his right for an impending hand shake. He said hello to Tom, reaching out his hand. Tom accepted the outstretched hand, reminded him they had met before. Todd, greeted Lindsey with a friendly one armed hug and pulled away. Nothing more was said, he had made it through the interaction relatively smoothly, without spilling his drink. Moving the glass from the shaky left hand, back to his more stable right, Todd returned his attention to Patricia and Skinny. They continued looking for seats, as Todd hoped the couple he had just greeted, would walk past them. The friends found three white chairs in a row and began moving toward them. Lindsey and Todd continued on and found seats on the opposite side of the aisle. He placed his drink on the grass behind his feet. Relaxed anticipation filled his emotions, as he leaned back in the chair, it was time to watch his high school buddy get married.