The Wedding Guest
Don't look at me I did'nt invite her....
“You have been engaged three times and is the first time you made it to your wedding day”, Clair commented while helping Cassie with her veil inside the church.
“Yeah... I mean, I’m happy for you and all, but how do you know he is the one?”, Barbara challenged while applying the last finishing touches on her makeup.
“Hey, leave her alone. This is her day, we are her bridesmaids, offer some support”, Holly the maid of honor firmly reminded.
“It’s alright, I expect contraversy. I know I have been engaged to three different men in four years, but this time it’s different. I have never been more sure that Curtis is the one for me. I have never been happier and he is all I think about”, Cassie explained.
One o’clock, with her father by her side, Cassie walked down the aisle.
Cassie lost herself in the moment; mesmerized by how handsome Curtis looked. His long auburn hair tied back, his face freshly shaved and his eyes overwhelmed with emotion. Cassie reached the alter and her father gave her away knowing she was no longer that little girl who made dinosaurs out of peanut butter.
The moment came as her hands melted into his and they recited their own vows.
“I Cassie Brook Nook take you Curtis Edward Bradd to be my husband. I promise to love you with all that I am forever. I promise to strengthen you when you are weak, comfort you when you are sick and to be faithful to you no matter what. You are my best friend and I’m blessed to have such a wonderful man wanting to share his life with me”, Cassie cried.
“Cassie, I love you in words I can't describe. I promise to try not to annoy you much. I vow to cook dinner twice a week, frank and beans not included. I promise not to watch sports on our honeymoon or anniversary…..I …..(he laughs). Cassie I’m not very good at this, I‘ve been working at it for months. I can only promise you that everyday I will do anything to make you happy. I promise always to make time for us and to treat you right. You are an amazing woman, one that I don’t deserve. You’re my angel and you make me laugh like no one else. I look forward to spending the rest of my life with you as your husband”, Curtis blubbered.
Cassie was hoping for a little more romantic finesse in his vows, but she knew how he was and didn’t hold it against him.
Finally, they were married and then came all the pictures. Cassie’s face was frozen into a Botox smile and Curtis just grinned a bit, he hated photographs. The tired couple was looking forward to the reception downtown and the limo was waiting.
“Well I finally did it, I’m married”, Cassie bragged.
“You finally did it, how about me, I am almost forty!!, Curtis laughed while giving her a light smack on her bottom.
Suddenly, while making their way to the limo, a woman showed up all dressed in black.
“My son has died ! Why did marriage have to be the death of him”, the woman shouted.
“Curtis ! I’m so excited your mother could make it, I finally get to meet her”, Cassie said while trying to run to meet her at the end of the aisle.
Curtis grabbed her by one arm and groaned “You don’t want to do that”.
Cassie shrugged him off and looked at him like he was insulting her judgment “ Curtis, why not?”
“I didn’t invite her, actually I’m intrigued to find out how she knew about the wedding”, Curtis whispered.
“Curtis, she is your mother and I want to meet the woman”, Cassie demanded while walking over to Curtis’s mother.
“Here we go”, Curtis sighed.
“Well, hello there, I finally get to meet the mother of the man who makes me so happy”, Cassie cheerfully noted while giving her a bear hug.
Curtis’s mother shoved Cassie away in disgust. Cassie stepped back, wondering what she did wrong because she didn’t think she was too touchy.
“I see you have married a whale Curtis, better throw her back before its too late”, his mother growled.
“Excuse me”, Cassie responded. She was hoping it was just a misunderstanding or maybe even dry humor like Curtis had.
“Oh ! Don’t sound so surprised my blubbering bride, the mirror on that wall will tell you”, his mother bashed.
“I have worked very hard to lose forty pounds for my wedding, I hardly see myself as a whale, any lighter there would be nothing left for Curtis to enjoy”, Cassie battled back with class.
“I guess I will have to call you a calf then, still a fat barnyard animal”, his mother smartly remarked.
“How dare you put down my wife, she is everything to me and I’m not going to allow you to ruin my marriage like you did before”, Curtis yelled
“What is that suppose to mean Curtis!”, Cassie snapped.
“Honey, I’ll explain everything later. For now, lets just make the reception and leave my mother here by herself. She obviously needs more time alone to clean her dirty mouth”, Curtis said.
“We are not leaving until I know what’s going on!!, Cassie pressed while taking a seat on the back pew.
“You made a big mistake marrying that clown faced blob, I liked Tiffany better”, his mother said with an unusual southern accent.
“WHAT!, you hated Tiffany ! Remember when you faked your own death and we had to fly back all the way from Tahiti, only to find you still kicking at a barbeque. I think you still laugh at that horrible prank you pulled on our one year anniversary, almost convincing Tiffany that I had cheated on her with a dancer named Lollipop. You have done nothing but destroy my life. You can rot for all I care”, yelled Curtis while trying to march out of the church.
“Curtis don’t you dare leave . If we don’t deal with this now, our marriage will never survive”, Cassie said.
“That’s right, listen to your sugar's cow bell. What a desperate woman”, his mother said.
Cassie began to think. Something about all this seemed off. His mother’s accent changed from being Yankee to Southern peach at a flip of a switch. The woman was suffering from a trashy mouth that did'nt match her soul. Cassie knew she had to figure it out before Curtis refused to see her again.
“Cassie, there is nothing to be said, you don’t know her like I do”, Curtis sharply noted.
“That’s right because you never allowed me to know her. Look Curtis I am strong and I can handle anything she can dish out. I am your wife now, so trust me”, Cassie tried to convince.
“May I ask where is the reception is being held?”, sweetly inquired his mother with cruel intentions.
“You're not invited”, Curtis lashed out.
“You have to excuse him, the reception is being held Downtown at The Crimson Hotel’s ballroom”, Cassie confessed while looking at her enraged husband’s face.
His mother gave a flaky smile and strolled out of the church, secretly spitting on the limo.
“What did you just do?”, Curtis asked while putting his hand to his forehead.
“Curtis, I think there is really something wrong with your mother and I want to keep an eye on her”, Cassie claimed.
“What are you talking about?”, Curtis asked.
“Mental illness, her behavior is erratic. I have learned about this before when I was in school for nursing”, Cassie whispered.
“Can’t we just go to the reception already? Everyone is waiting for us”, Curtis begged.
“Curtis we have a lot to talk about, but like you said everyone is waiting for us”, Cassie smiled.
Fashionably late, they arrived at their wedding reception.
Curtis was relieved when his mother was nowhere in sight, but Cassie was still very worried about her. Still the couple ate dinner, mingled, danced and had a good time. Everything was going great until Curtis’s mother dropped in. Now she wore a slinky white dress, clearly defying Cassie. She walked around like she was Miss Queen and needed special treatment, fore she was the mother of the fairest son.
“Is that mom?”, Curtis’s brother Calvin asked.
“Who, that twisted hag wearing white?”, asked Curtis while trying to hide behind his brother.
“By God, it is her. I have not seen her since I moved to Hawaii”, Calvin said
“Well, wasn’t that the point?”, Curtis asked with an attitude.
“Yes, but I’m still happy to see her. I have not spoke to her in three years since she broke up my relationship with Kim. I wonder how she found out you were getting married”, Calvin said.
“That woman is no longer my mother, she’s just a stranger across the room”, Curtis said.
Cassie was busy getting ready to throw her bouquet.
“I hope Cassie does'nt spot her”, Curtis spoke to himself.
Cassie threw the bouquet high in the air. Curtis’s mother trampled her way through the dance floor and snagged the bouquet.
The single women groaned as Curtis’s mother pranced around holding the bouquet with her teeth and ran towards the special customized wedding cake. She spit out the flowers in her mouth and goggled at the four tiered cake with lemon chiffon fondant.
“I’ve got first dibs”, his mother yelled while shoveling her hand into the cake and gorging it into her mouth.
The DJ stopped the music and everyone just stared. They all were wondering who the wedding crasher was.
“That’s it…. I’m getting security to throw her out”, Curtis grumbled
Cassie ran over to Curtis and tried to stall him.
“Curtis please don’t”, she cried
“She ruined the cake. Do you have any idea how long it took for my cousin to make that cake? She always ruins everything”, Curtis complained.
“ I know baby, but just let me talk to her before you do anything you will regret”, Cassie eased.
Curtis could not wrap his mind around how compassionate Cassie was being towards his evil mother, it made him love her more. With a deep exhale of frustration, Curtis surrendered into Cassie’s wishes to talk his mother down.
“What is your name?”, Cassie asked Curtis’s mother.
“Ruby, but I like to be called Ruby”, Ruby answered, not making any sense.
“Well, Ruby my dear mother-in-law, we have to talk”, Cassie whispered while everyone looked on.
“Do we now…….so you can tell me I destroyed your little cake, ate your flowers and bad mouthed you”, slurred Ruby.
“No, I forgive you for that. Let’s talk in the restroom where there is more privacy”, urged Cassie
“Alright, lead the way my hungry hippo and don’t be surprised if you come out of the bathroom crying because I violated your virtue”, Ruby chuckled.
Cassie led the way as Ruby stumbled behind her, appearing like she had too much to drink.
Once in the restroom Cassie had Ruby in her sight and was trying to find a way to know for sure if Ruby was really sick or if she was putting on an act of a lifetime.
The restroom was super bright, with oversized vanity lights and windows from all angles. She now could plainly see Ruby. Once Ruby was out of the spotlight, she became docile and quiet.
“We are alone now, give me all you’ve got, I can take it”, Cassie challenged while unpinning her veil”.
“I……..I…….I 'm running out of fat words for you”, Ruby stuttered.
All of a sudden a bright ray of light shined on Ruby’s pale face and Cassie could see her eyes.
“Oh my God”, Cassie gasped.
Cassie saw that her pupils in her eyes were not equal and this meant Ruby needed to go to the hospital.
Cassie ran out of the bathroom sobbing.
“See, I told you would be crying when you left the bathroom”, Ruby said.
Cassie ran up to Curtis with desperation.
“We have to take your mother to the hospital right now”, Cassie demanded.
“Why, what happened?”, asked Calvin who was standing near by.
“The pupils in her eyes are not equal, which means there may be something wrong with her brain”, Cassie spoke.
“That’s not good, we have to take her now”, Calvin agreed with Curtis still not springing into action.
“Curtis what is wrong with you, we have to take her”, Cassie cried.
“That woman is dead to me, I’m not going to help her”, Curtis uttered.
“Don’t you get it, this could explain why she has been acting this way”, Cassie argued.
“You and Calvin can take her, I’m staying here to have a few drinks”, Curtis said.
“I don’t believe how nasty you are being, fine………our marriage is on hold until you find it in your heart to be there for your mother”, Cassie sassed while she ran back to the restroom to get Ruby.
When she entered the bathroom, Ruby was lying on the floor unresponsive.
“HELP!”, screamed Cassie. Calvin came rushing to her aid.
“Call 911”, Cassie said while feeling for a pulse.
Ruby’s pulse was strong, but her breathing was shallow.
After a few hours had passed Cassie and Calvin were approached by a doctor in the ER.
“Are you Ruby’s son?”, Dr. Sweeny asked.
“Yes, I’m one of her sons”, Calvin replied.
“Your mother has a very large brain tumor and apparently it has been there for quite some time. She is resting now, but we have to operate soon”, Dr. Sweeny explained.
“ That would explain her headaches from having her “low sugar attacks”, her trying to tell me there was fog on the road when nothing was there and the vindictive mood swings”, Calvin recalled.
“That is a likely possibility. Tumors like these can cause behavior and personality changes”, Dr. Sweeny theorized while pulling on his stethoscope.
“Is it cancer?”, Cassie asked with concern.
“It doesn’t appear to be, but we won’t be certain until the tumor is removed and a biopsy is performed”, Dr. Sweeny cautioned.
Cassie and Calvin waited for Ruby to come out of surgery, then a few moments later Curtis showed up with his tuxedo stained and his hair undone. Just to see him there made him look like a million bucks to Cassie.
“I’m so…so…sorry for the way I acted”, Curtis apologized while embracing Cassie still in her now wrinkled wedding dress.
“It’s okay, we will get through this”, Cassie cried.
“What’s going on with Mom?”, Curtis asked Calvin while fighting back the tears.
“She’s in surgery. Curtis…..it was a brain tumor all this time”, Calvin answered with grief.
“A brain tumor…”, repeated Curtis.
“Yes, honey a brain tumor. The doctor agreed that it was a likely cause for her cruel behavior”, Cassie added.
“I’m such a jerk, I’m a bad son, bad brother, bad husband……”, Curtis rambled.
“Honey, remember your vows to me, you said that you would do anything to make me happy everyday of our lives. So quit feeling sorry for yourself and get with the program!”, Cassie encouraged.
“Since you put it that way, I guess I have no choice in the matter”, Curtis smiled.
About an hour later, Dr. Sweeney came out to give them word on Ruby’s condition.
“Ruby made it through the surgery okay, she is resting now. We removed most of the tumor, but,she will have to be monitored for the next few years”, Dr. Sweeny confirmed while giving Calvin the phone number of a Neurologist to follow up with.
“Do you think she will behave now?”, Curtis asked while knowing he sounded a little bit forward.
“When we did testing, we discovered that her hormone levels are severally imbalanced and she does suffer from hypoglycemia. If you combine the tumor with her pre-existing health conditions you have the perfect storm”, Dr. Sweeny smiled.
“When can we see her?”, Cassie asked.
“You should wait until tomorrow, she needs her rest and we have to run more tests”, Dr. Sweeny recommended.
Dr. Sweeny walked away while whistling some classical music and applying hand sanitizer.
“Honey, we are suppose to leave for our honeymoon tomorrow”, Cassie commented in disappointment.
“I already called the resort, they will postpone the booking for us, we can go anytime”, Curtis said.
“Thank you honey, see you are already making me the happiest woman on Earth”, Cassie said.
The next day Curtis, Calvin and Cassie went to the hospital to see Ruby. She was resting as a nurse checked on her IV drip and documented her vital signs.
“Mom, it’s me, its Curtis”, Curtis whispered while sitting down and holding her small hand.
“Your favorite son Calvin is here too”, Calvin said while laughing under his breath.
Slowly Ruby’s eyes opened, then widen.
“Boys, oh boys…..I have missed you so much!”, Ruby cried.
“How do you feel?”, Calvin asked.
“Like a truck ran over me, but I’m feeling more like myself”, Ruby said while trying to sit up in her bed.
“I’m glad you are feeling better”, Cassie commented.
“Oh, my dear, I have a bad feeling that I was not very nice to you”, Ruby said.
“That’s an understatement, but I knew that was'nt you”, Cassie said while taking the opposite side of the bed and holding her hand.
“What do you remember?”, Curtis asked
“Bits and pieces of a puzzle. I remember acting very mean for no reason; it was like no matter how hard I tried, I could not control the vile things that came out of my mouth. I remember the wedding, destroying the cake…..oh dear…..I destroyed your cake…..I’m so deeply sorry”, Ruby cried.
“It's just a cake, it does'nt matter”, Cassie comforted kissing her hand.
“The doctor told me about the tumor, I guess everything makes sense”, Ruby giggled.
“Yes it does”, Curtis sighed.
“Oh no, I think I am keeping you from your honeymoon….. I’m sorry”, Ruby apologized again with tears in her eyes.
“Mom ,believe me it’s okay. When I was honeymooning with Tiffany you faked your death just so we would come back early”, Curtis revealed.
“I did what?” Ruby asked.
“Mom…. Calvin and I got some stories to tell you….”, Curtis warned while trying not to make his mother feel bad.
“Curtis, leave your mother alone, its best not to bombard her with the past right now, we need to focus on the future”, Cassie stated.
“ I liked Tiffany better”, Ruby said in the Georgia Peach accent.
Cassie and Curtis looked at one other in dread.
“HA!! GOTCHA!”, Ruby playfully said.