Despite the fact that this wedding was taking place in frigid February, the bride (Carla) had us bridesmaids dressed as though it was July. Long gowns? --no way. We wore silk dresses that ended just above the knee. And, for some reason, Carla insisted that we not wear nylons. This is a winter wedding? Carla had always been a bit of a Bohemian.
The wedding was huge. There were six bridesmaids and six ushers. The ceremony was taking place at a beautiful church in Westchester, embracing the expected elegance and decorum. We were all required to act accordingly. I was prepared to comply, but Dave had other ideas.
Before the ceremony, Dave and I sat in a room adjoining the main part of the church. As always, I had taken off my shoes while waiting. Dave left me to join the other guests just as Carlas Mom told the wedding party to get ready. As I got up, I reached down for my shoesand they were gone. Figuring that someone had inadvertently kicked them under the table, I was on my hands and knees, frantically searching for them.
I arose from the table in a state of panic to find the other five bridesmaids staring at me goggle-eyed. What they saw was a girl wearing an obscenely expensive dress while standing there red-faced and barefoot. I explained that my shoes were lost.
Does anyone have an extra pair? I pleaded.
Why would anyone have brought extra shoes? answered one. Lets have someone go out to the guests to see if anyone can loan you a pair.
Before we could do that, the music started and it was time to start the ceremony. One of the girls asked if we should all go barefoot, but that was scotched by the maid of honor, who said;
Then Carlas mother would kill all of us instead of just Sally.
All for one and one for all, right?
Understand that I myself will go barefoot in front of anyone. I have never given a hoot who might be staring at my feet, and heaven knows I've given them enough times when they could. But this occasion wasnt for me, it was for Carla and Victor (the groom). This was what you would call a society wedding and there were some very important and prominent people in attendance.
It surely would have been interesting to conjecture what would have happened if Carlas mother had seen me before the ceremony started. No matter nowit was showtime. With nothing else I could do, I headed out there.
As we gathered at the altar, I said to myself: the hell with itIm gonna walk proud and enjoy myself.
Thats easy to say, but with my back turned to the guests and my bare heels visible to anyone who cared to look, all I could do was console myself with the idea that no one was looking at me, not with the beautiful bride and handsome groom to see. That notion made me feel better, and I succeeded in resolving to stand tall.
However, when the ceremony ended and the ushers joined the bridesmaids to walk up the aisle, it did seem as if everyone was looking at my feet. Of course, many people truly dont notice feet, and others feel they have to pretend that they dont, but I was in good position to see that plenty of them, men and women alike, were aware that one of the bridesmaids was barefoot. I passed by a dignified looking eighty year old woman who was wearing a diamond tiara in her blue tinted hair. She looked at my feet and then up at my face, her mouth forming a perfect o. I fought off the strongest temptation to place my bare foot on her lap as I walked by.
Instead, I smiled into her face and said , What the %*&@#$ are you looking at, you frosted old dowager?
Well, okay, I didnt actually say that, but I did smile at her as I walked by. I smiled because, heaven help me, I was starting to enjoy this. Was I not the girl who protested the dress code at the Windows on the World restaurant in the World Trade Center five years ago by sneaking in and dining while barefoot? (Thats a story for another day). At any rate, I walked up the aisle while smiling and meeting the eyes of everyone who looked at me, especially the ones who seemed to show disapproval.
Halfway up the aisle, I passed a six year old boy who was laughing and pointing at my toes yelling, Feet! Feet! I smiled at him, too, even while wishing I could kick the little bugger right out of the pew.
I scanned the crowd for Dave, and there he was, looking directly at me and smirking. When he saw me looking back, he surreptitiously held my shoes up.
I should have known it was him! How could I have been so dumb? I couldnt even fully blame him, as I had recently played a nasty trick on him involving massaging his leg with my stocking foot while he delivered a speech in front of a large audience. This was his revenge.
We continued up the aisle and out of the church. As we reached the outside steps, the usher whose arm I was holding turned to me and asked for a date! He looked to be about 17, the young whippersnapper. It seemed as though hed be more comfortable as a road agent for the Beach Boys than he was wearing a tuxedo. He had driven in from the west coast for this wedding.
The cool surfer dude said to me:
You wanna go out? I dont know you, but you seem to be really cool, with your bare feet and all.
I answered, Maybe I seem so cool because my bare feet and all are freezing in the February cold. No thanks, Moondoggie.
He was okay with that, and in the limo heading for the reception, he sat across from me and offered to warm my feet by rubbing them. I thought for a moment, then let him do it. If Dave didnt like it, tough noogies! He was the one responsible for this whole thing.
As he rubbed my feet, the usher talked about how much he would enjoy showing me his woody. Not being a California girl, it took me a while to realize that he was referring to his car.
At the reception, my only concern was Carlas Mom. Though we had known each other for as long as I could remember, we had lost touch in recent years, and I was pretty nervous about what she would say.
Dave caught up to me just outside the reception hall and handed me my shoes. As I started to put them on, someone tapped my shoulder. I turned and found myself looking at Carlas Mom. I blanched white, but she smiled and said;
I see that you are still the free spirit I knew when you were a child. Even then you always went barefoot when everyone else wore shoes. We love you, Sally, so please leave your shoes off during the reception if you want to.
Dave and I proceeded to dance the night away. Before the evening was over, all of the young girls were barefoot, including the bride, the maid of honor, and the bridesmaids.
I guess the big winner in this whole episode was Dave. As a dedicated footman, he enjoyed seeing all the young girls with their shoes off. And, of course, he definitely put one over on me.
But as the saying should go, Revenge is a dish best served barefoot.
Its my serve.