Anna and Dylan Chandler (Bride & Groom) from their castle
When sweaty, happy dancing bounced my curls back into place well after dinner, I saw confidence restored to the faces of those I loved.
“There she is!”
Half of my friends hadn’t recognized me in the church at all. And the ones that did, regarded me suspiciously, like laughter wasn’t allowed with this hairdo.
“This is horrible hair.” I thought. “Never again.”
I told my hairdresser about my horrid week, and we decided I needed to be someone else for the day. She gooped product in after the cut and straightened my hair so radically, I became unrecognizable.
My crazy straight hair.
Later, during the ceremony, a giant fly got trapped in the hair of an older woman sitting in front of me at the church. I laughed and cupped my mouth, as my eyes slid upwards to face Jesus hanging on the wall.
“He has a great sense of humor.” My pew neighbor said. “Kinda has to, just hanging there all these years.” That made me snort, and I squeezed my nostrils tight as I felt the laughter rise into my eyeballs and ears, imagining steam coming off my head. “I didn’t recognize you with that hair, though.”
Riding to the reception on giant double decker tourist buses, we got to see the city from above. So beautiful and insane. I loved it, hated it, danced with it all these years. Tried to forget it, came back to it. Memories of my life trying to squeeze in, my straight hair holding it all back. “I’m someone else today.” I thought to myself.
JR’s Inside Out photograph series lined the fence of the Red Hook, Brooklyn art gallery that was hosting the reception. We walked through the wooden gates laughing and kissing faces of dear friends, as we were handed Moscow Mules – Vodka, lemonade and ginger beer – aptly renamed Warsaw Mule to commemorate the Polish bride.
Everyone laughed, drank and landed upon the cheese platter like a starved swarm of cicadas, some biding our time, or cutting the line between cigarettes and vodka.
I sped to the bathroom to check my hair. Still straight.
And somehow I got home, hair back to normal, landing into my reality, when seeing my kitten – who’d just had her lady parts snipped the day before – tore me down in a grand finale of welcomed tears.
Straight hair gone, it was no longer able to protect me from previous weeks of dealing with deaths, peoples’ surgeries, endless work and sleeplessness.
She purred for the first time since her procedure. I held her and wept.
The wedding was spectacular.
The perfect reminder, just as I leave the city for the oceans of the Cape, that people who love each other always find each other, that Moscow Mules are my favorite drink going forward, and that the curls are staying.
Back at it