That was my first reaction.
My second was to look the groom in the eye, grab his leg and widen my eyes. He nodded. He knew what I meant.
My friend walked in just after her and introduced himself. I wanted to introduce myself so we could talk and I could make her laugh and we could fall in love.
Instead I stayed sitting down and watched her sit at a table next to us. I was scared. Because what if?
I suppose I should describe her. Her brown eyes sparkled. Her smile was white and warm. She wore a maroon and white dress that showed off a cute tattoo on her clavicle. She was obviously feeling generous because her assets were on display. Her boobs and ass, to be blunt.
My friend mentioned her ex used to beat her up. What if she’d got all dressed up because she wanted a guy to talk to her? What if she was just looking for a good guy who her mum would approve of? No guys talked to her the entire night. Apart from the married ones. My heart hurts.
“I actually want to marry her,” I kept telling my friends. That’s hyperbolic but who’s to tell me what love is?
We caught eyes as the bride and groom were walking out. She smiled a TINY smile. I think. Maybe not. Maybe I just wanted her to.
She stood in the reception with her mum. No one else. No friends. No boyfriend. Just her smile.
I held my head up high, pushed my chest out (I lift) and strolled towards her.
No I didn’t.
Fight or flight. Either of those might’ve been better than turning to stone.
At dinner she played with one of the kids. Rio was his name. He was acting all cute, like only kids can do, and she was smiling and laughing and loving.
I was jealous of a child. Fuck him.
After dinner we headed back to the reception where I was scared I’d perform my first act all over again.
Her and her mum were sitting at a table, alone. I said to my friend “let’s go. You wingman the mum and I’ll speak to her.”
I did the button up on my suit jacket and, with a bounce in my step, I walked over. She looked at me. I smiled. She smiled. Man I wanted to grab her face and kiss her.
“Hello,” I said. I thought that would be a good opener.
“I know you don’t know me but do want to take a walk outside? It’s cold but I’ve got my jacket. It’ll keep you warm.”
“Ok,” she said. I held her hand as she got up and holy shit were her eyes sparkling.
I led her outside but not before shooting my boys a wink. I think they were more excited than I was.
She had tiny hands and I wanted to hold them both and dance with her.
We talked about the wedding, about the bride, about the groom, about the grounds, about the kids…
The kids. She lit up when we talked about the kids. There was something so vulnerable about her in that moment. I didn’t have a chance.
“You’re so pretty,” I said.
“Oh, thanks.” She giggled.
I leant down and kissed her. I hate having to do things but I had to do that and… wow. Her lips. They calmed me down.
I stopped kissing her because I wanted another dose of those eyes and I wanted to see and feel how much she’d enjoyed it. As much as me? I doubt it. But she looked at me and put her hands on my shoulders and pushed her hips ever so slightly towards mine and stayed there. In that moment I wanted us both to turn to stone and never move again.
I put my hand in the small of her back and led her inside.
“I’ll be dancing with you later,” I said.
“If you’re lucky.”
None of that happened.
But in my mind it did. And our brain can’t tell the difference between what we dream and what is “real”.
Maybe that’s why I didn’t approach her. Maybe I thought I already had.
I don’t even believe that.
Everyone was dancing. Her and her mum were sitting at a table.
I didn’t go over and speak to her.
They got up to dance.
I didn’t dance with them.
The other girls left the dance floor. Her and her mum were the only ones left. I was the only other one dancing.
There’s no made up story this time. I couldn’t look at them. I was scared. What if they laughed in my face? What if what if WHAT IF?!
“What if I go over and introduce myself and make them laugh and the mum leaves us to it and we dance and stare into each others eyes and then at each others lips and then…”
That never crossed my mind. I was playing the “what if?” game but I was playing it unfairly.
They said goodbye to the bride and I watched them walk out. I had a flash of me running after her and saying sorry for not introducing myself and making a joke out of it and asking her questions and listening to her and getting her number and walking back onto the dance floor feeling like the Real Me.
Come on. I didn’t talk to her for the entire night. I was never going to do that. My “what ifs” were a fortress.
“She’s… beautiful. I think I want to marry her.”
That’s what I’d said to the bride. After the ceremony. Before I failed to take every opportunity I had.
I was thinking about what I’d say if the bride asked me why I didn’t talk to her.
I don’t have an excuse. Well, I do. I was scared to be a real man. The Real Me.
I go for girls when I know I’ll have a good chance. In terms of looks, at least. I go for girls who I think are as good looking as me. Or less good looking. Because then I won’t fail. And then I won’t feel shit. And then I won’t be unhappy. And then I won’t want to curl up into the fetal position and wish for a miracle.
I’m grateful I didn’t talk to her because it’s allowed me to write this.
One day, I hope I believe that.