It all started with a wedding invitation.
I was invited to my coworker Candice’s wedding. Not wanting to drag Brandon along, I asked my friend Nora. But since the Anaheim Ducks won the Stanley Cup, they were throwing a celebration on the same night. Nora would never ditch me out right but the moment she mentioned it, I told her to ditch me anyway. Who am I to stand between my best friend and her favorite team!
So, going to the wedding solo. I can do that. I’d be among friends anyway.
But then, I woke up with a clogged sinus and runny nose. Of all the days to have allergies attack–which doesn’t happen as often nowadays since I have been using the prescription nose spray–yesterday was it. The sneezes didn’t go away many hours after the nose spray. At this rate, I’d have to take an allergy medication which would more than likely put me to sleep behind the wheel between here and Agoura Hills, 2-hour drive away. So I asked Brandon if the standing offer to go with me to the wedding was still valid.
And he said yes.
As it turned out, Brandon was meant to come with me all along. For all the right reasons.
When we turned off the main highway to our destination, both of us had never felt more relief to have Brandon driving the Santa Fe.
The wedding was at someone’s private home in Santa Monica mountains. As in, to get to this beautiful home, we had to drive down this steep, unpaved winding switchbacks that one wrong move would surely send you down to the bottom of the mountain. I would be way too scared to drive down that thing on my own. Besides, my Toyota may have made it down the road but I wasn’t sure about coming back up.
Uncharacteristically, I didn’t bring my camera to the wedding. My decision surprised everyone including Brandon. Well, heck. She will have professional photographers there. She doesn’t need me.
And besides, for crying out loud, I want to fucking enjoy a party for once instead of running around taking pictures. Sure, I always love taking pictures. But please, can a girl just party free of responsibilities sometimes? (Well, I did managed to take a few on my camera phone to stop my hands from shaking from camera withdrawal. Heh.)
Brandon and I and another coworker and his girlfriend were seated at a different table than the rest of the coworkers and Michael (remember, he left us for grad school?), away from the main crowd and pool side. See those balloons? They later let them up up a lot higher. We thought that these were hooked up to LED and would light up like lanterns. But actually, they were rigged to explode into spectacular fireballs by a professional Hollywood pyro-technician, a friend (or family?) of the groom.
Two of the ballons went off after the couple’s first dance into the intended spectacular fireballs.
“Oooh! The Hindenburg!” I giggled. From our side, the explosions looked unintended originally and yet they were awesome.
From the other side, it was more like a scene out of a Vietnam war movie.
A 2-inch piece of the burning balloon remnants landed on a lady’s arm and the other on her date’s jacket. The big piece of it, a good 6 inch long, landed on Celeste’s bare shoulder.
We didn’t know about this until much later. The word was that the EMT had come down to whisk her to emergency room already. But then as we were in line for the food, I found out she was still here, waiting for the ambulance.
I ran across the grass in my chunky 3.5 inch heels to house, a feat in and of itself if you know my history with heels. Michael was right on my six.
Fortunately, there was a registered nurse in the house. She already cleaned up Celeste and all the baggies of frozen veggies and ice which were applied to her burned shoulder, and gave her something for the pain.
My original thought was to just check in on Celeste. She was being brave about it because, well, that’s Celeste for you. But I thought at this scary time, it would be better to have at least one face she knows in that room. So I stayed and helped held the baggies onto her shoulder.
Pieces of her skin were coming off on the plastic baggies and onto my hands. As an afterthought, yeah that was gross. But at the time, I realized what it was and I didn’t freak out. I guess when your friend is in danger, the motherly/sisterly instinct kicked in, and nothing seems to matter but her well being.
Now that we were in ground zero, we found out that that EMT wasn’t coming down after all, and that Johann, Celeste’s boyfriend, was the one taking Celeste to the hospital. Brandon popped in to check on me and upon learning of the situation, he went back outside to the parking lot to look in on Johann.
Oh yes, there also was the car situ-fucking-ation.
You see, the parking at the estate was, well, all fucked up. All the cars were just piled up in this little lot. No valet. No nothing. Apparently, nobody put a thought into it about how people were to leave this joint parked the way that we all did.
Johann’s car was among those that was stuck behind other cars. But worse yet, the Impala actually was really stuck in a ditch. The guys, whatever they did out there, freed the car. It seemed like eternity for us in the master bathroom when we finally came out.
We put Celeste in the car with fresh bags of ice. Brandon hauled their wedding present out of the backseat and up to the house.
Brandon finally had his dinner.Â I finally finished my second Guinness and had a few bites of dinner.Â After all of that, I didn’t feel like eating.Â Not to mentioned that the grilled chicken reminded me a little too much of pieces of Celeste on my hands earlier.Â I decided to grab Michael and party up in Celeste’s honor.
Michael and I and another couple got the party started on the dance floor (aka living room). We found the bride trying to get people to dance.
“Screw that, sweetie.Â You’re dancing with US!”Â We dragged her to the floor ourselves. “Dancing Queen” came on. Candice asked for her sisters. I ran out and summoned all the bridesmaids and they swiftly followed me back in to join the bride.Â We had ourselves a dance party! Lots of fun.
10 p.m. struck and the Borens turned into 2 tired pumpkins. Michael followed us out of the canyons and we all headed home.
Oh no. I ain’t over yet.
I found a missed call on my cellphone from my dad.
The doctor gave my mom at most 6 months, but they think she may have more like 3-4 left in her. It depends on when her liver goes.
Instead of the road trip for 4th of July we had plan for the past 5 months, I’m getting plane ride home.
Seriously, I have never been so grateful to have Brandon with me last night. From start to finish.
We think we are in charge of our destinies. But sometimes, like Mother Nature, the universe/higher power will make a show of force to remind you who’s the boss.
And last night was the epitome of that reminder.