John was fifteen years older than I, and his clothing on the day of our wedding was more formal. He wore an expensive beige jacket, dark brown slacks, a beige tailored shirt, and brown tie. A big man of 6’2”, he seemed starkly out of place in a land so culturally informal. He was, however, alive with the attention of the well-wishers. I soon came to know such attention was his life-blood. I, on the other hand, became quieter, and my hands shook. I knew that I did not want all of these unknown people around us. If we were to be here in this place without family, then also let it be without the superficial good wishes of those we did not know.
But that did not happen. As soon as the minister arrived—a gray man in a gray suit with little to offer except his officialdom—we headed for the beach in front of the condo. The crowd had grown somehow to ten. John walked behind me, and I could hear his animated talk to the best man about the upcoming pro football season. I walked between the minister and the best gal. I could think of no name for her status—most certainly she was not my maid or matron of honor, so in my mind that was the best I could do. She was chipper. I was not. My mind held a stunning blankness as we walked toward the setting sun.
After the ceremony, my husband turned to the ten strangers. “I want to invite you to our wedding dinner this evening at the Reef to help us celebrate,” he said. The restaurant he referred to was a well-known expensive dining spot on the beach in Lahaina Town about twenty minutes away.
I laughed in surprise. It was a nervous reaction, no doubt, to a sudden and strange sense of aloneness in my newly-married life. I eyed these strangers who recognized a mainland sucker when they saw one. Wasn’t a wedded-night dinner supposed to be a cozy affair celebrated between the two people who just vowed to spend their life together?
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