The Bridezilla Eruption

The Bride and Groom wanted to show the Australian guests the area of London they had lived; they planned a bar crawl for the day after the wedding. On the brink of bankrupting myself I refused to book the five star hotel for a third night, much to the Brides anger, instead I promised to attend the bar crawl sober and then drive home once everyone had finished their last shot.

Unfortunately I’d found the wedding so traumatic that upon waking I was such a miserable wreck I simply couldn’t do it. I should have gone to the penthouse and told the Bride but I pictured her up in the tower sitting on her throne whilst I begged at her feet to be excused. Like a coward I text her instead “Hello, hope you had a good time yesterday, it was a beautiful day. Really sorry but can’t make today, hope it’s really good. Speak over the weekend x” And then I fled.

cersi lannister game of thrones bowing to the queen

All the stress of the last six months came streaming out of my eyes as I drove down the motorway, whimpering along to whatever song came on the radio. I pulled up at my Godparents house, people who have known me since before I was even an idea. ‘Suck it up!’ I told myself before getting out the car. Just as soon as my Godmother opened the door, asking “how was the wedding?” it all came crashing down and I burst into tears, right there, on the door step. She ushered me in and I cried my heart out on her lap, as she rubbed my back I did a very childlike movement, raised my hand and clutched her sleeve as she rocked me. I realised, this was the first time I’d cried in front of anyone since my mum’s death; it had taken six whole months to cry on someones shoulder and there had been so many tears shed, but tears all alone, who knew it was so comforting to be looked after?!

crying on someones shoulder

They patched me up, dried my tears, heard the saga of the wedding, fed me and sent me on my way to visit another best friend and her beautiful new baby. Propping both me and the baby on the couch my friend provided cups of tea and chocolate whilst I fell apart again, as I talked she got closer and closer to posting dirty nappies to Bridezilla.

After some much needed sleep I felt a little more human over the weekend, on the Sunday the Bride text “Why aren’t your wedding pictures on Facebook? We want to see the pictures!”. They’d told everyone not to put any pictures up until the official pictures had been posted “Oh ok, sorry I thought you didn’t want people to put any thing up yet? I’ll put them up tonight”. She text a few more times, she was looking forward to the honeymoon, they’d had a few big family dinners, she was excited about doing the wedding (a blessing ceremony) all over again at the end of the month in Australia for those who hadn’t come for the first show.  I was flying out to Australia for the blessing too, a secret only the Groom knew; I wanted her to have someone from her side there too.

Tired girl working at computer

I returned to work, colleagues talked of upcoming projects, I was glad for some normality. Towards the end of the day I was leaving a meeting when my phone beeped, an essay of a text from the Bride –

“I’ve had a few days to digest my thoughts after the wedding and I’m still disappointed and hurt enough to let you know about it. I chose you as one of my bridesmaids because you are one of my closest friends but we both know that the way you behaved and dismissed me on my wedding day was uncalled for, unkind and hurtful. I’ve felt so hurt by you, to the point where I’ve been in tears since the day, it’s so sad and not how it’s meant to be at all! I feel you’ve let me down on the most important day of my life, my Wedding day, throughout the entire day. I know you’re going through a difficult time and I have been highly supportive throughout, however this does not mean it is okay to be hurtful and offensive to others especially on special days. This was MY day. Just ONE day! I’ve been a good friend to you and supported you every other day. I’m allowed to think about just myself and my husband on my wedding day and not worry about other people just for this day. Brides have a million things to think about on the day. I made every effort to be there and support you on your 30th birthday, flying in on the exact day I needed to be there and make you feel special on your birthday, despite feeling very jet-lagged and tired but I hid that from you. However, you made me feel like utter shit on the most special day of my life! No bride should be made to feel like that, least of all from a good friend, and her bridesmaid. It’s so sad. I appreciate all the preparations, presents, gifts, surprises but all of that was undermined by how you acted on my Wedding day. You didn’t support me in the most basic form, which costs absolutely nothing! This was the one thing I wanted and needed the most from you. I’ve shed a lot of tears over this and I’ve confided in my husband about it too and he felt he had to tel me you’ve booked to fly over for the blessing. I know it was meant to be a surprise but he felt he had to tell me because of the state I’ve been in. Nice gesture but to be honest, I feel you let me down on the most important day of my life. I don’t think I want to take that risk for the blessing and it’s probably best you give me some space right now. So I suggest you cancel the flight. If you can’t, well I’m not sure how I’ll feel after the honeymoon. All feels too raw right now, never expected this from one of my closest friends, ever! I’m honestly in bits and about to embark on my honeymoon which I’ve looked forward to for so so long! It’s so not fair!! What have I done to deserve this!! I’ve always tried my very best to be a kind, loyal and supportive friend I could to you!!! Any way, I’m focusing on being a newlywed now and trying to enjoy my honeymoon which we’ve longed for and waited for forever. I’m shutting down from all technology now  including my phone which will be switched off until after we’re back in Australia. If you could be so kind to send any wedding videos through, we would both appreciate that. I’d also appreciate if you don’t talk to any of my friends or family about this message. “

what just what

WHAT? JUST, WHAT?! I felt winded, like her words swept right in and tore out my guts. I didn’t know whether to laugh, cry or hurl my self of the nearest cliff. I silently handed my phone to my friend who was leaving the meeting with me and sat down in shock whilst she read the words; she said what I couldn’t “What the fuck! What the hell is wrong with her! Has she lost the plot?!”

All that because I’d gone a bit quiet, pulled back at bit, was a little sad on the day. I racked my brain, did I say any something? What did I do? For weeks, months afterwards, I played the wedding over and over in my head; how had I let her down so badly? Sure I probably hadn’t smiled as much as I could have and yeah I might have rolled my eyes every now and then, but I did every single thing she asked and not once said any thing.

rolling eyes

Without tearing her message apart word by word, I just want to highlight a few inaccuracies – she didn’t fly over for my birthday, my birthday just happened to be around the same time as her wedding, in fact at one point she was considering getting married on that very day, and I find it hard to believe she was so tired, fighting jet lag when she stayed at the club after most of the guests had left, including even myself! And really, supportive every day? We had 5 skype messages in 8 months and all of those were about the wedding!

I love how she tore me a new one, left no opportunity for me to defend myself and then closed by saying ‘oh don’t tell any one about this message and send me your video’s and pictures’. Of course any justification on my part is redundant because regardless of what I did or didn’t do, she was still upset, very upset. Somehow I’d let her down, hurt her and she was expressing that; as much as I felt her message was selfish and unfair towards me, I can’t take away her account and feelings of events.

oh my god meridan

I didn’t know what to do. I’d grown close to her other best friend and bridesmaid, we’d confessed how demanding and difficult we’d found the wedding build up; she told me how she’d cried to her mum in the week prior when it had all got too much. I sent her the message, immediately she called “it’s like she’s got a completely warped view of the wedding, I don’t understand what she’s thinking!” she consoled. “What did I do? I don’t understand!” I pleaded back down the phone. “Nothing, you didn’t do any thing, I was with you the whole day, you were just a little quiet” she confirmed back.

I drove home to my mums house. I felt lost. How had this exploded so spectacularly? I sent the message to my friends. I needed help.

And people cared. There had been months of crying alone and struggling through winter days, wanting the world to swallow me up and spit me back out in five years time; wondering if I had any proper friends, feeling so insecure and questioning everything. But suddenly, so disgusted by Bridezilla’s message, they rallied around me like an army, shields protecting and swords ready. They text, called and wrote, cursed, told their friends the story, got angry on my behalf, they cared. One friend said “I’m sorry, I didn’t realise she was marrying you!” another relayed the saga to her friend over lunch, her friend was so appalled she very kindly emailed me and said “that message is so extreme, the bride makes it sound like you shat on her wedding cake and gave her dad a blow job!” which make me laugh out loud.

300

I didn’t realise people cared, and that’s the thing about friendships, people do care and they want to care, they want to be there for you when you need them; sometimes you just have to open up a little and let them in.

 

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The Wedding of Doom

Back to back meetings took over the days leading up to the wedding; having not recovered from the jet lag, birthday, hen party and of course the months of depression and sleepless nights; exhaustion was catching up with me. I received text messages between meetings from the Bride “what are you going to do about the bridesmaid shoes?!”. Her sister called during lunch “we don’t have a ‘wait till you see your sweetheart sign!! What are we going to do?!”. The bride continued to text “can you help decorate the venue? Can you come down early tomorrow? Have you sorted the shoes out? We need to practice timings of walking down the aisle”.

walking in adult shoes

I hurried to an appointment with the grief counselor straight from work, we didn’t talk about South America or mum’s birthday or my 30th; we talked about the hen party. I left and rushed across London buying macaroons for the bride, trying to find more bridesmaid shoes with a smaller heel that she might approve of, running back and forth ticking errands from my list. Finally, at 10pm I was almost home when, sitting at a level crossing, my car battery died and I was stuck!

In the middle of nowhere and knowing no one in the area to call for help I finally managed to flag down an old man in a campervan and begged him to jump start my car. I was tired, it had been a long day at work, I’d gone through all the emotions at the grief counselors office, rushed over London, commuted the 2 hours home and still had to make a wedding sign; a broken down car was the last thing I needed. And then, a bird pooped on me!! “OH COME ON!” I wanted to scream at the cloudless sky above me, the stars just twinkled back in response. Battery fixed, I drove home, wiped shit from my shoulder and painted the ‘wait till you see your sweetheart’ sign late into the wee hours.

girl broken down car

Whilst packing the wedding signage, luggage and a selection of other wedding items into my car, my mum’s neighbour appeared wanting to hear tales of my South America trip. I tried to explain I was in a hurry and off to a wedding; unfortunately this provided an opening for him to offer me unasked for opinions “you’ll never get married and have kids, you’ll never settle down, you’re too wild” he declared. Well thanks for that! Just what you want to hear when you’ve just turned 30, broken up with your boyfriend of nearly three years, generally feeling pretty depressed and about to leave for your best friends wedding.

It seemed a lot of people wanted to distil their advice on to me during that period. Earlier that same week whilst tucking into some take away sushi at my desk, too busy to join colleagues in the staff canteen, my manager erupted with “if you run away to Australia now then you probably won’t get married and have kids, there is only a certain time frame in your life when these things happen and if you run away now it’s not going to happen for you, it doesn’t happen for everyone you know”. With these thoughts running through my head I drove to London, trying my best to get in the appropriate Bridesmaid mindset.

hitchhiker escape

Arriving at the hotel to demanding text messages from the Bride, I felt the pressure crushing down on my shoulders; I text a friend ‘”I don’t think I can do it, I’m just, I can’t, she’s going to push me over the edge, I feel too fragile”. Her reply beeped through “you need to suck it up and get on with it, it’s that or turn the car around and come get drunk with me!”. I should have gone got drunk with her! Instead I cried in my car, I’m not sure what about really, just the stress of all the months weighing in on me. I think this was my penance – having rarely cried for 29 years, suddenly three decades worth of tears was demanding to be shed within six months! I threw my head down dramatically on the steering wheel which made my horn blast out, at the exact same time as a bunch of builders walking past who looked and laughed at the weirdo crying in her car. Eventually I sniffed away and wiped up my tears, filled my arms with pre-wedding night pamper stuff, tea cups and luggage and made my way to the penthouse room of the hotel.

crying on steering wheel

“Welcome to the penthouse” my friend declared swinging the door open with a theatrical gesture and ushering me in “let me give you a tour”. I emptied the burdens from my arms onto the floor and was led to the bathroom “and here is the £600 worth of designer make up I’ve brought for the wedding, yes that is the full set of £25 each brushes you see there, and here, over here is the £100 box of Jo Malone bath goodies that I’ll use for the bath I’ll take the night before my wedding, and oh, oh here is the £50 candle I’ll light whilst I have the bath, the night before my wedding (‘and this is the paper I’ll wipe my ass with the night before the wedding’ I wanted to add as she spoke) Come let me show you the living room…” And so it went on, I was led around her penthouse apartment, I ooh’d and arr’d in the right places. Finally I was shown the bedroom, her dress was hanging up in it’s dust bag “ohh let me show you my dress” she said excitedly. Only I couldn’t do it, I wanted to be excited for her, I really did but all I would have been able to do was cry at that moment, so broken did I feel “no, no, I want to see it tomorrow when you’re wearing it, let me see it when it’s the day” I said, knowing I couldn’t fake any happiness right now. She wasn’t impressed with this response, I’d annoyed her, it was in her eyes, I wasn’t going to be able to put a foot right.

hanging wedding dress

We went to the venue to practice walking down the aisle; I’d been a bridesmaid before, it was not this complicated! “Becky, you held the train for your other friend who got married didn’t you? So you know how to do it? Good, you can do it for me” well yeah, it’s really not that hard.

That evening we had a picnic (the Bride barley ate to avoid any bloating for the next day), we had our nails done and talked of the wedding. I began to relax, ‘what was I so stressed about? It was all going to be fine, I was being silly, letting the months get on top of me, this was my best friends wedding, it was going to be great’ I told myself.

We gave her Bride presents – a personalised dressing gown, dress hanger, honeymoon kit, beach bag, macaroons, chick flick movies for us all to watch, facemasks, popcorn and of course, champagne! She in turn gave us bridesmaid gifts – tissues “for you to use when you cry at the wedding tomorrow” some soap “to scrub up clean with for the wedding” and finally a locket, a locket with a plastic bird attached for decoration, a locket with her face inside “I thought you could put a picture of me and you from the wedding day inside the other half”. How lovely.

locket_open

The big day arrived. I was sent to the venue to help decorate; I walked in to find various family members stringing up ribbons and laying favours in organised chaos. “You have to come back now!” my phone screamed “I can’t get away” I urged into the mouth piece sneaking glances at the various family members rushing towards me with piles of decorations to set up; finally I managed to escape back to the hotel, I’d been gone all of half an hour – clearly that was too long for the bride, she wasn’t impressed.

Ushered straight into the hair dressers chair, I sat whilst she forced 100 pins into my head. Establishing that I was the only bridesmaid who was single, she launched off with a speech “well if you want kids you have to have them by the time you’re 35 otherwise you’re too old for it! And you really ought to have met the guy by the time you’re 30 you know, so really, it’s unlikely this is going to happen for you” OH MY GAWWDDDD why do people keep saying this stuff to me?! Perspective people! Just broken up, dead mum, living in said mum’s house whilst trying to sell it, a lot going on here, give me a break!!!

“Ok, so I’m done, I think it looks great but you might think it a little high, have a look in the mirror and see what you think, I can take it down a bit if you like but I think it looks great” the hairdresser offered. I looked in the mirror, I stared at the beehive, oh the beehive! I kid you not, Bride of fucking Frankenstein!! “Umm yeahh, maybe take it down a little, just a little you know?” I begged.

bride-of-frankenstein-hair

I started to apply my make up but was interrupted with ‘Becky turn the TV off, move the iPod in here, no I want the other one on, change the song, take this message to the Groom, come take a picture of me and my mum, who are you texting?! Come in here” the Bride ordered, it took me half an hour to apply eye liner.

Pulling the bridesmaid outfit on, I noted how my friend had managed to choose the exact colours, style and cut which look awful on me; along with the beehive I didn’t recognise the girl staring back at me from the mirror. I hadn’t been able to find any alternative bridesmaid shoes so wore the ones I’d brought originally, putting them on at the last second, terrified she’d yell at me. I put my mums earrings in, wanting a piece of her with me for strength.

I wasn’t being a very good bridesmaid, I knew I wasn’t. I should have been making more of a fuss of her, smiling more, doing, well I’m not sure what but I should have been doing it. Instead I wanted to run away, get in my car and never come back. I knew I wasn’t being good, I tried to mask it, I wasn’t a very good actress, I rolled my eyes at her demands, I was letting her down and I couldn’t stop myself.

unimpressed bride

She put her dress on, of course she looked beautiful, how could she not? She’d gone to boot camp for 8 months, had her already perfect teeth fixed, hired an award winning hair dresser, had Jessie J’s sister as the photographer (I’m not sure being a famous singers sister makes you a great photographer but she was very lovely and took beautiful pictures), any way, she looked stunning.

The bridesmaids waited at the venue for the Bride to arrive before we made our entrance into the ceremony. “Who’s that?” I pointed to a lady with a note pad and pen, she clocked me pointing and came running over “hi, I’m the wedding reporter” the what? The wedding reporter! So this lady had been hired to write the story of the wedding. The Bride had contacted various wedding magazines and websites to see if they wanted to feature her wedding in their publications, this person was writing the article they could submit with the pictures. I didn’t even know such a thing existed! How hard could it be? ‘The Bride wore white, they said I do, some people cried, we all ate cake’ nailed it! I might become a wedding reporter for my next job!

journalist-media-woman

Credit where it’s due, the ceremony was beautiful (although I didn’t cry). I love seeing a Groom’s face as the Bride walks down the aisle, I love getting to be part of someone’s special day but my absolute favourite thing about a wedding is looking around and seeing that the Bride and Groom are surrounded by every single person in the whole world that they love; there is something special about it, like magic in the air, you can almost touch the love. This wedding was filled with that, people had flown across the globe to be there, so much love for these two people, it warmed the soul.

walking-down-the-aisle

After the ceremony it was time for a much needed drink. It became very apparent that I was the only single girl at the wedding which seemed to give people free rein to decide I should either hook up with the dodgy cousin sporting a mullet or one of the teenage waiters, neither of these sounded like a good prospect to me! I grinned through people’s jokes though “where have you been? Off with a waiter?’ they’d say “no, I went to the toilet” I’d defend my innocence “oh yeah, alone?” they’d guff as everyone around laughed along.

kristen-wiig-as-annie-in-bridesmaids-2011

The speeches were touching, each speaker shared elements of the couples story, a story I knew so well, having been part of it from the start; we’d all met on the same day.

Oddly the Bride and I had been at university together, we’d never known each other but had graduated in the same ceremony. Upon moving to London we’d attended one of those awful group interviews together, met, bonded and walked to the train station post interview. I recall walking away thinking ‘that’s the kind of person I should be friends with’, randomly as life seems to go some times, a few weeks later I walked in on my first day at a new job (not the one we’d interviewed for) and she was sitting there, as too was her Groom to be, the first day for all of us.

The Bride and I became fast friends, moving in together, holidaying, festivals, house parties, burning toast & baking cakes, decorating my mum’s Christmas tree, sharing a bed for warmth under 10 blankets when the heating broke during the snow storm, consoling each other through boyfriends and broken hearts, getting mad about whose turn it was to take the rubbish out, all of it, every high and low of friendship.  And now, a decade later she was marrying that lovely man from the other side of the conference table.

business man

The thing about weddings and hearing those speeches is that you can’t help but reflect on your own life; I knew her journey as well as my own but where her mum was sitting mine never would, where her husband stood sharing his love for her, I didn’t have a plus one. Sometimes, as much as you want to be happy, you can’t fight the sadness that engulfs you.

I found it all a bit overwhelming, I was struggling to keep things together. I missed my mum, my boyfriend, my old life. We’d been building for this wedding for a year, through the chemo, the dying, the grief, the breakup, it was all so entangled in my head and now, finally at the pinnical day I wanted to lay down and sleep for a thousand years.

sleeping beauty

Not wanting the Bride to pick up on my inner turnmoil, not on her day, I withdrew a bit, just a little quiet. I still chatted with the guests, laughed in the right places, danced, took the pictures, did what was expected but I wasn’t beaming as I perhaps should have been.

The Bride must have picked up on something, she was frustrated with me, refused to make eye contact, pulled other guests I was talking to from the table to dance with her but ignored me. I let it slide, bit my tongue; I hadn’t got drunk or said any thing to anyone but I also hadn’t made enough of a fuss of her, she was angry, I guess I should have been better, I should have been better! I wasn’t.

I returned to the five star hotel she’d insisted we all book rooms in despite the expense, feeling utterly hopeless, completely unprepared for the post wedding fall out approaching on the horizon like a storm!

bridesmaid falling apart

Failed Hen Parties and Drunken Girls

There was no time to recover from the birthday hangover, instead, first thing Monday morning I was sent north for work. This would have been fine but after spending the last month in South America I’d forgotten that you actually have to go to work to earn money and to do this, it meant not ignoring your alarm clock. Driving full pelt to the nearest train station I made the train by the skin of my teeth.

anna waking up frozen

The Hen party was at the end of the week, we’d spent months and month planning for it. I’d had my brother design the invitations and then got them produced at a professional printing house, posted them to all her friends across the globe, we’d planned it intentionally close to the wedding so those flying over could attend both.

Years before, when we’d lived together in a horse box sized flat in London she’d gone to a wedding and the bride had been given a book full of recipes from her family. Returning from the wedding she’d made me promise that should she ever get married I would remember the idea, I had. I chased the entire wedding party, all over the world for photo’s, memories, letters and a recipe and then I’d worked it all together into a photo book; this we would give her during a game at the hen party.

recipe photo book

Almost every thing was ready for both the hen and the wedding, there was just the small issue of my bridesmaid shoes. She’d wanted me to wear some god awful pointed kitten heels which looked like flippers on me, as I’d predicted, they hadn’t fitted. Trying to be the accommodating bridesmaid I managed to sneak out of my meetings and run for the nearest shop, trying to find any shoe that fitted and matched what she wanted. Mission completed, it was one thing off my very long list. Unfortunately she didn’t like the shoes I had bought, the heel was half an inch too high and it wouldn’t be fair on the other bridesmaids – the other bridesmaids were 4 inches shorter than me any way, what difference would another half an inch make?

nude kitten heels

I rushed about in North England for three days before finally returning home. One day in the office before the bank holiday weekend and the hen party.

I’d planned on getting my hair cut but my friend wanted to see me before her hen so I cancelled the appointment and went to meet her. I found her in the nail salon across the road from her mum’s house, I walked in, seeing me she started to cry. “My mum’s not being supportive enough about the wedding, I’m only back for two weeks, I thought my family would be making more of a fuss of me, these are my special two weeks, we had a fight, I told her not to even bother coming to the wedding, I tried my dress on yesterday and she didn’t even cry…” And so she went on all whilst I sat there and hugged her, consoling her.

consoling best friend

I thought about my own mum, how different it would have been had she lived and I’d been the one getting married. We had joked about recreating the scene in Mamma Mia where Meryl helps Amanda get ready, a moment just for us whilst she brushed my hair. In reality I would have got frustrated and taken it out on her. She would have forgiven me of course, smiling as I took her arm whilst she walked me down the aisle to my waiting husband to be. I so desperately longed for my mum. It occurred to me that perhaps I wasn’t the shoulder my friend should have been crying on, saying her mum wasn’t invited to the wedding, pick your audience!

mamma mia meryl amanda

When she calmed down, she talked about how busy she’d been all week doing wedding stuff; then she showed me the five pairs of shoes she’d bought, the designer clutch bag, the numerous new outfits. Eventually when she was done sharing her shopping, we talked about the wedding and the hen party, her excitement and anticipation, her fears; somewhere in all of that I saw a glimmer of my old friend, she was still in there, under all the wedding stuff I almost saw the person I remembered.

The hen party was upon us, the bridesmaids were on tenterhooks however the day went without a glitch. Once the mothers and older generations left it was time for the real party to start in the evening. Throughout the day the bride kept asking why I hadn’t put a picture or status update on Facebook, it was like she wanted the world to know, it wasn’t enough we’d showered her with presents, surprises and games, everyone had to know.

That night with a Sex and the City theme, we took a limo into central London, sang to our hearts content in a karaoke booth and then attacked a club. All was well, the day was a success…until disaster struck.

mr big sex and the city

The bride decided she wanted to go to a club closer to home so she would be able to stay out later rather than remain in central London and get a taxi home at an earlier time. She insisted despite us all knowing she’d be asleep within ten minutes of the the taxi ride. We changed the time as requested unfortunately this wasn’t communicated to the brides sister.

The taxi arrived, the other bridesmaid went to inform the driver we’d be right out, I herded everyone towards the door but typically, the girls got stuck at the toilet. Seeing missed calls from the Bridesmaid I made my way outside to tell her what was taking so long, of course by this point she had gone back inside to fund us. Deciding to remain put, I sat in the taxi and waited.

The next thing I knew the bride was lying on the floor outside the club, I made for the taxi door, ready to help but seeing her surrounded by the rest of the party decided it was ‘too many cooks’ and thought better of it, remaining where I was, making sure the taxi didn’t leave. Her sister stumbled over to the taxi door, I buzzed my window down ‘you need to get in the other side, this side doesn’t open’ I smiled out. She shouted a reply ‘oh my gawddddd Beckkyyyy I’ve had enoughhhhh’. Umm ok, I buzzed the window back up whilst she made her way around the other side of the minivan, yanking the door open, screaming at me and climbing in the seat behind to sit down and cry.

A moment later the other bridesmaid climbed in the front of the taxi, she too sat down and burst into tears. Finally the bride clambered in beside me, also crying.

drunk bride

‘What, what? I, What?’ I uttered looking around at everyone is tears completely confused, I’d only been away from them for a moment and they’d all been fine!

I later managed piece together the turn of events –
Once outside the club, fuelled by alcohol, the sister and bride had started yelling at each other.
Sister ‘I don’t want to go, why are we going?!’
Bride ‘Fine, we’ll go back in then!’
Sister ‘that’s not what I’m saying!’
Bride ‘I’ve had enough of this, I’m going home’
With that the bride had turned to march off in the opposite direction, the bridesmaid had gone to grab her arm but the bride snapped it back, by doing so the bride lost her balance. Both bride and bridesmaid tumbled to the floor, bridesmaid spinning to take the hit and protect the bride from injury but scrapping the skin from her own hand in doing so. Once untangled the bridesmaid returned to her feet but the bride decided she quite liked it on the floor, shut her eyes and tried to go to sleep.

asleep drunk bride

The Sister yelled ‘Get up! Get up now! Stop being so stupid!’
Bridesmaid ‘leave us, I’ll deal with it, she’s my best friend!’
Sister ‘well she’s my fucking sister! I’ve had enough of this’ and with that stormed off to the taxi (where I buzzed the window down and told her to get in the other side of the car and got the brunt of her anger).

The remainder of the taxi ride was taken up with the sisters screaming at each other ‘you’ve ruined my special two weeks, I’ll NEVER forgive you for this! This is my special time! After the wedding I’m returning to Australia and never coming back here again’ the Bride shouted. ‘You’re so selfish, you’re so fucking selfish! We worked so hard on this, you’re so ungrateful! It’s all about you isn’t it. Stop crying, stop fucking crying, shut up’ the sister yelled back.
The taxi driver caught my eye in the mirror, I shrugged ‘girls, what can you do!’.

fighting girls

Once back at the sister’s flat, we comforted the bride, I left her with the other bridesmaid and went to check on the sister. I found the sister sitting on her bedroom floor smearing makeup down her face with a wet wipe. As she cried and I reassured her that neither her nor the bride really hated each other, they were just drunk and the wedding stress was taking over. ‘I know, I know’ she responded, then out of nowhere she said ‘I’m sorry Becky, you’d give any thing to have a family wouldn’t you?!’. It came out of nowhere, so completely unexpected I felt winded, hot tears began to spill down my cheeks, she moved to hug me. I wanted to lock myself in the bathroom and call my mum, have her acknowledge how hard I’d worked to make the day special, what a good job I’d made of it too, that I looked lovely in my dress even if I did feel fat after eating all that chocolate for months, that it’s such a shame everyone else was spoiling things right at the end but to tell me every thing would work out ok. Of course I couldn’t do that and her words remained silent whilst I tried not to cry for her in an awkward embrace. The Bride chose that moment to storm in the room ‘I’m not going to sit downstairs and be slagged off by you!’ she turned and pointed at me.

The next morning everyone drifted around each other like icebergs; with it being Easter Sunday, I produced giant chocolate bunnies for everyone, mentally noting this would be my first Easter without a chocolate egg from my mum, yet another sad first for me, another milestone crossed.

‘I’m going to have to speak to her, I’m the older sister, I’ll have to do it’ the Bride declared, dramatically rising from her chair and marching up the stairs to be the martyr in peace with her sister. Bridesmaid and I stared at each other, so tired, worn down and forlorn, our eyes locking and turning to the TV. Twenty minutes later the sisters returned arm in arm singing the wedding march, faces full of smiles ‘we’ve made up now’.

chocolate easter bunny

I went to pack my bag. The bride found me. ‘You will cry at the wedding won’t you? Did you cry at your other friends wedding when you were bridesmaid? Make sure you put your hen party pictures up on Facebook tonight as soon as you get home ok?! What are you going to do about the bridesmaid shoes?’. I tried to tell her I was struggling, I tried to tell her how hard I’d been finding all her requests the last few months, how I was broken, how I was on the verge of cracking apart “yeah but you always manage to get thing done don’t you, it doesn’t matter what people throw at you because you always do it, you always manage, you just do” she replied,  only I wasn’t managing.

I drove back to my mums house in tears. Four days to go to the wedding.

Birthdays and Awkward Naked Moments

I’d begged my mum for letters. I’d asked for one for Christmas, for my birthday, my wedding day, the day my first child was born, on Tuesdays, in fact she’d ‘best write me one for every day’ I said, you know just in case, she’d laughed. I needed advice on how to change a tire, how to put up a shelf, what to do to stop a baby from screaming, what to do when said baby becomes a teenager, how to cook a Christmas dinner, when the last postal date before Christmas is; I needed her advice on every thing! As soon as she was ill, I begged her for letters but the time ran out all too quickly. The day she died I searched high and low, messaged her friends to see if she’d left the letters with them, I needed her to have left a piece of herself behind for me.

Eventually my brother found two little books, one for each of us. She’d started to fill these with quotes and random tip-bits but had only got about five pages in, I raced through those in minutes. She had left one page for my birthday though; one page that I waited six months to read.

letters

My 30th birthday arrived four days after my mum’s birthday; where I’d spent hers sweating out a hangover in the Rio sun, I was now back in England, in her house, without her. There’s something about turning 30 –  I’d always seen 30 as a marker for when you had your shit together by; you’re mature, have a mortgage, a husband, a successful career, maybe a kid or two? I had none of these things, I still felt like a teenager. This was a whole new decade, my 20’s were gone, never to be seen again and I wasn’t sure I was ready.

I read her letter alone in bed. She wrote about the day I was born; I’d arrived early in the morning just as the sun was rising, she’d held me in her arms, both of us drugged up, my pupils fully dilated and spinning, she remembered looking down at me and thinking ‘no one would ever love you as much as I do’.

So after that emotional start to the day I got up, pulled on my Cheshire Cat costume and went on a Disney themed pedi-bus tour around London Bridge. For those not up to speed on things such as pedi-buses, this is a 16 person bike with a bar in the middle which is used to peddle to a series of bars where shots are consumed.

cheshire cat

Eventually leaving Mrs Incredible, both the Mini Mouses, Mary Poppins, Pocahontas and a number of other characters; Buzz Lightyear, Snow White, Captain Hook and I got the train back to mine in a very drunken state.

The next day I awoke in Buzz Lightyear’s bed which is odd because I’d gone to bed with Captain Hook – this all sounds far dodgier than it was! Snow White had passed out drunk and there weren’t enough beds so I shared with Hook, only sometimes I sleepwalk when I’m drunk.

snow white captain hook buzzlightyear

In fact one time, a few years ago, I was living with a male friend from Uni. One morning I went into his room ‘oh my god, I was so drunk last night!’ I declared in a worst for wear state.
‘Err yeah!’ Came his reply!
‘What?’ I questioned.
I’d got home around 3 that I knew and that was all I remembered. One shoe was in the bath, a necklace was found in the kitchen, my dress for some reason was in the living room, my coat dumped inside the front door; it seems I just wondered around undressing myself for bed.

At 5am, apparently, I slept walked into my housemates room. Kicked his door open so hard it ricocheted off the wall and then proceeded to yelled at him to go to work (he’d spent the week skiving and spending the days on his PlayStation). He rolled over in a sleepy state and declared ‘it’s Saturday’ to which I replied, something he has never let me forget, ‘don’t look at me, I’m naked’ and with that I wondered back to my room, bouncing off the walls for balance as I went.

Any way I awoke the day after my 30th feeling the hangover much more than I ever had in my 20’s.
Having spent months feeling horribly insecure and depressed, wondering if I’d ever feel happy again, why people even liked me in the first place; my birthday had come as a great surprise that people made the effort to come and it was fun and random and there was this tiny glimmer of something in my belly, like a tiny light had been turned on, as if maybe, just maybe things were going to get better.
Unfortunately Bridezilla’s wedding was just around the corner…

bridezilla

Her Name is Rio and She Dances on the Sand

We had jumped ship, escaped into the night (well actually the afternoon) and bused it down wiggly, coastal roads until Rio was in our sights.

Once checked into our triple room both Crocodile Dundee and London boy went off to call their respective partners; I on the other hand, with no one in the world to call (cue the violins) scanned Facebook and read the news. It dawned on me that only a few months before I’d have had a list of people to update on my whereabouts but not anymore.

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Eventually, once the boys had finished declaring their love across skype we set out for some Friday night Rio action. London boy researched a few clubs which turned out to be Gay bars. Our odd trio received a few inquisitive looks which was fine until I needed the toilet. Asking where the toilet is through slightly drunken charades is very easily misinterpreted in gay bars!

Moving on, extremely hungover the next day, Crocodile Dundee and I made out way across Rio to throw ourselves off a cliff. There really is no better way to get over a hangover than hang-gliding over the city and floating down to the beach. It’s probably the closest I’ll ever get to flying and is quite possibly the best thing I’ve ever done. I wanted to sprout feathers and never land.

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Having demonstrated a perfect landing (discovering unknown skills in both horse riding and hang-gliding I was beginning to think South America was giving me super powers!) we returned to the hotel to meet up with the rest of our tour group, who had since made their way to Rio.

christ the redeemer

There are millions of pictures of Christ the Redeemer but nothing can quite capture how it feels to stand at his feet, watching his head dipping in and out of the clouds. Covered in mosaic tiles, Heitot Da SIlva Costa’s Art Deco statue stands 38 metres high with an arm span of 28 metres, it really is amazing. Just like every other tourist I laid down on the floor to fit his image in my camera lens and then immediately demonstrated the standard tourist shot of my arms out in front of the statue, recreating his stance.

christ the redeemer pose

Following my meeting with Christ we tracked back down the hill. Years ago there was a tram taking people to the statue but after a tragic accident it was stopped. In the old town you can find a mural which includes a picture of the tram driver who lost his life; he and the tram were a big part of the community, the locals are now campaigning for the tram to be brought back.

This area of Rio is very old, full of beautiful, historic buildings but now forgotten and as such covered in graffiti. It made me sad; had this been Europe the old town would of been protected and looked after for future generations but instead it will probably just crumble away.

We moved on to the Escadaria Selarón; 250 steps covered in over 2,000 tiles by Chilean artist Jorge Selarón. Selarón started the steps in 1990 as his tribute to Brazil; originally the tiles were sourced from rubble heaps in the city but as the steps became infamous, people from all over the world started donating tiles, leaving a legacy for today. You can’t help but run up and down the stairs searching for a tile of your home. There is tragedy attached to this beautiful curiosity of a place; after 13 years of decorating the steps, one morning the city awoke to find the artist lying on his stairs, dead.

escadaria selaron rio brazil

A cable car sails you right up to Sugarloaf mountain just as the sunsets and the city lights begin to sparkle, it’s very easy to see why people fall in love with this city.

The next day most of our tour departed for new lands, it’s bitter sweet saying goodbye when you’ve spent a lot of time with people. Crocodile Dundee left for Canada to see his long lost love, the Canadians flew to Easter Island and the Americans disappeared into the city.

rio sugarloaf

Those remaining went to a football game, we picked a team, they lost.

The penultimate day involved hunting down some Brazilian hair treatments to save my sun damaged locks and randomly, an impromptu night out with the tour guide which as far as I can recall was almost entirely made up of jumping, hair flicking and air guitar.

I awoke on my last day to a dark, dark hangover on what would have been my mums birthday, the first of her birthdays she would never see. I knew it had been coming but I’d not given it much though; perhaps it was the hangover or the thought of going home, back to the depression but it hit me like a sharp smack in the face. Sitting on my bed, gasping for air whilst hot tears streamed down my face, those awful hot prickling eyes which never relent, snot, so much snot and those stupid embarrassing whimpering noises that escape from somewhere deep inside. All of it, it all tumbled out of me, smearing across tissues and the back of my hand. She was dead and it seemed awfully unfair.

My hangover melting out in the Rio heat, I spent the afternoon walking the length of Copacabana beach alone, feeling pretty miserable.

copacabana beach rio

London boy and I ended up on the same flight home; touching down in Heathrow we said our goodbyes. He uttered ‘I’ll add you on Facebook’ to which I replied ‘ok’ both of us knowing we’d never hear from each other again.