Let me start with saying, it wasn’t any of us getting busted. Our wedding rehearsal was a drug-free zone.
The neighborhood our church was in…not as much.
Josh and I decided to get married in our college town, which was this weird juxtaposition of Uber Conservative Catholic College and Crackhead City. On campus was relatively safe. Off campus, things could get dodgy. It was the original “Good block bad block” type of town. Living off campus was always a crap-shoot. Either you lived in a decent safer neighborhood, or you came home to your roommates still laying on the floor because there were gunshots outside, or waving hi to the crack dealer on the corner.
The church we got married in was in one of the dodgier locations of town. A beautiful older church, with a lovely older congregation, and a really great priest who was fun to work with during our wedding planning. Yet as much as I wanted to get married, the afternoon of the rehearsal found me frozen in panic on the crappy old sofa in my apartment, clutching the box of silver my mom had passed onto me. My friend Jen walked past me three times as she got ready before realizing I wasn’t doing anything.
I had realized that Josh’s idea of eloping was probably the smarter one. I wasn’t going to be able to get up in front of friends and family and profess love and eternal devotion. I wasn’t a PDA sort of gal, I hated speaking in public, why was I doing this? Why didn’t we elope?
My friend and bridesmaid gently pried the box of silver out of my hands. “Don’t think of it as getting married. Think of it as picking a Parcheesi partner for life.”
The absurdity of that line is probably what got me off the couch and moving.
We got through the wedding rehearsal, my mind still reeling with panic of having to get married in front of way too many people (you know, more than three people there.) We left the church and were mulling in the parking lot, our families chatting, as this was the first time they had met.
And then, my stepdad announced matter-of-factly – “Okay, everyone get up against the truck.”
We all looked at him, confused. Did he want a group picture, I thought.
“Get down, he has a gun!” he clarified.
And that’s when we all looked around. And realized that something was happening on the street. We darted into cars, behind cars, grabbing children as we ducked for cover. My grandmother stood there, not sure what was going on, as she was deaf in one ear. Someone pulled her down. I noticed Josh’s sister standing there, and grabbed her, then having this conversation with God about how I would take a bullet for this little girl if need be, but I would be really pissed if I died the night before my wedding.
Afterwards, when we compared notes and read the news account, we got a fuller picture of what happened. See, there was a drug bust down the block from the church. A little teenager was running, to inform the others of the cop’s arrival. There was a guy on a bike with a big hand gun. There was a guy running with a big hand gun. There was a van, whose side door opened dramatically as it went around the corner to reveal a cop with a gun. Everywhere around us seemed to be someone running with a gun. Amazingly, no shots were fired. The parade of men with big hand guns went by, and we glanced around and collectively went “Let’s get the hell out of here!”
I slid into a car next to my maid of honor – who went to a different college in a different state and didn’t know of the town’s reputation – looked at me and said “Does this sort of thing happen a lot?”
Meanwhile, my grandmother was laughing at herself. “There I stood, the big white target!” she laughed, referring to the nice white dress suit she wore for the occasion.
We all peeled out of the parking lot as if we were being chased (we weren’t) and went to the rehearsal dinner. The next morning, when the bridesmaids and I drove up to the church, we paused, looking around for any potential threats, before racing into the church ourselves. However, there were no drug busts the day of the wedding, and things went smoothly. I actually was so happy to have survived the parade of guns that I was totally relaxed for the wedding.
Not that I’d recommend having a drug bust at your wedding rehearsal. But it worked out for us.
This is part of the 31 Days writing challenge…