The next day found me snoozing in a hotel room along the highway in historic Capas in Tarlac, on a direct line to the Church of Our Lady of Sorrows where my godchildren Jess and Mads were scheduled to say their "I do's" at 4:30 p.m. There was time for a nap after a heavy brunch.
My foggy slumber was interrupted by a rustle. I swam out of sticky sleep to find two uncommon creatures perched at either side of the foot of the bed. It took me a while to register that these were the makeup artists Mads had contracted to do aesthetic work on the bridal entourage. They said they were to do ten faces so they came early.
"You've had lunch?" I asked, reaching for the phone to call for room service.
"We won't lie, Madam – no, we haven't had lunch yet," they chorused.
No luck with the front desk. No more room service till probably later. I gave my visitors some money to go take a quick lunch. Ten faces would be a lot of work. I wouldn't want those hands unsteady with hunger when they eventually got to me.
"Thank you, Tita," they trilled as they trooped to the door.
From Madam to Tita. That sounded friendly enough. Oh well, maybe it was safe to go back to sleep for just a little while longer.
Ten minutes later, the ladies started coming. I gave up trying to sleep and went about trying to get everyone's story. I met my kumares coming in from Alaminos, Vigan, Lipa, and Mantecao. The readers were the couple's friends from Baguio. The secondary sponsors were all from Mindanao — two were my former students and probably my future inaanaks, too. The flower girls were very pretty and the maid of honor could pass for Bulacan's deadringer for Sandara Park.
At one time, there were 21 ladies in the room and two hardworking makeup artists who obviously were not at all confused about their talent with the brush or their gender orientation. Too much estrogen wafting in the air, I had to get out for a smoke.
Fifteen minutes before going to church, I gave my face for the ministration of the makeup magicians. True enough. Lunch was good investment. Like, I hardly recognized myself — which suits me fine as, on those rare occasions when it cannot be avoided, I use cosmetics for camouflage. Warpaint and battle gear. They give me an excuse to be comfortable in my presumed anonymity as I take a more active part in a social event.
Jess and Mads had the perfect romantic wedding among the intimate circle of their combined relatives and friends. We visitors especially basked in the warmth and hospitality of our newest kin by affinity and the relaxed friendliness of a small town family affair.
I guess I can't call Jess a kid anymore now that he's married. I rarely agree to be ninang to my students, but working with Jess in the classroom, on the Tambara, and on the many community outreach and extracurricular activities that we put together in the last two years, I was confident that he was ready for the responsibility of putting wife and family above his own convenience.
Heck, if he could run my book launch on a shoestring budget, perch for hours like a misplaced princess on a habal-habal, and endure helicopter rides despite his acrophobia, he can probably take on the trials of marriage. It's not like the prospect of marriage to Mads spelled the prospect for torture. Far from it, obviously.
As the hour of her final walk down the aisle drew near, it seemed to me that Mads turned calmer and more in control. I found especially admirable her loving respect for her parents and her capacity to endure a long engagement. "Go, girl," I silently cheered her. Jess picked a winner there. This union looked like it would indeed spell forever. The bride reminded me so much of a young Audrey Hepburn – daintily pretty outside but with a steel backbone, a fine mind, and a warm heart.
And the groom? Oh, he was pretty, too. He remembered to comb his hair for the occasion.
So I did make good my promise to Jess that I would make it to his wedding wherever he planned to have it. I had promised him a perfect day, too. Well, I had help from Up There with that one, but Jess got that, too. It was just right that we celebrate love and forever on that beautiful summer day.
God bless you, Jess and Mads. May you both and together live long and prosper.
(Wayward and Fanciful is Gail Ilagan's column for MindaViews, the opinion section of MindaNews. Ilagan teaches Social Justice, Family Sociology, Theories of Socialization and Psychology at the Ateneo de Davao University where she is also the associate editor of Tambara. You may send comments to [email protected] "Send at the risk of a reply," she says.)