this is part of as days pass by, by Stuart Langridge

So, there I am at Al's wedding.

He gets into an argument with his mother. It was not pleasant. His bride of only a few hours, Annie, was very, very upset. The two of them were really stressed and disappointed and in tears, upstairs. Meanwhile, in the main room below, the party continued, but the news spread. After a short time, probably half the people in the room knew that something had gone on, and the two of them were not, in any way, at fault. They'd possibly had their memories of their wedding ruined.

They announced that they were coming down the stairs and leaving (well, actually, they told the best man this, and he told me, and I got the band to announce it). And they came down the stairs, ready to leave. But first, they came into the main room, under some kind of feeling that they ought to say goodbye to people.

And when they walked in, everyone started clapping. Like they all knew how brave the two of them had been, and were being. I don't believe I've ever seen such an eloquent and yet wordless gesture of support. Everyone was declaring that they were behind their two friends. It's one of the most moving things I've ever witnessed, and I could tell what everyone was feeling, because I was feeling the same thing. I didn't think I could clap hard enough. I was proud and sad and happy all in one moment. It was like the bit at the end of Dead Poets Society where the one guy stands on the chair and calls out "O Captain, my Captain", and then the rest follow. I didn't think such moments, where you can hear the music swell to a heart-rending crescendo, existed outside of films.

I was privileged to witness it. And I hope that it's moments like that that Al and Annie remember from their wedding, so their day wasn't tarnished.

© Aquarius, December 2001