It's the story of my impending wedding, and I suppose I'm playing a somewhat major role. Let's hope my fiancee and I aren't bogging the crew down with endless bureaucratic red tape as they race around the city at a fast and furious pace documenting a life less ordinary than Hugh Grant's bumbling Brit from that romantic comedy classic.
First things first: Who wrote the script and what are they calling this movie in the making? Obviously they're working from a bigger-is-better mode, because there are a lot more than four blessed unions on the horizon.
I swear every time I turn around I talk to someone planning a trip down the aisle or, like me and my beloved, up the stairs or on the patio of what I'm sure will be our favorite downtown restaurant once this project is in the can and awaiting word on the next greenlight (something cute and pitch-worthy like Maybe, Baby).
I was still living in Philly when I was carried onboard the Four Weddings express by a woman I'd been dating for a few months. (Let's call her Lisa because it's a common enough name that it could be anyone's and in fact it is her name, so that makes it easy.) She was four years older -- a crucial age gap in the mid-to-late twenties stage when the woman's approaching the big 3-0 and the guy's not really approaching anything of any real consequence at all.
I would prove to be deaf, dumb and blind to all the signs at this railroad crossing.
After a Saturday matinee on a rainy afternoon, we slipped inside a cab for a quick ride uptown to our favorite bookstore, and in hindsight I realize that was the exact point from which nothing would ever be the same for us again.
She'd already lived through her share of weddings and funerals and was ready to enjoy the events in-between, while I was just finding my way to the station for my first ride on the train. (I don't know about you, but I'm kinda digging this "runaway locomotive" of a metaphor.) We found ourselves bickering in the short days and weeks to come before we figured out what was going on -- although I'm proud to say we didn't simply go our separate ways.
Instead we decided to remain faithful friends and share all the moments, the weddings and funerals and everything else. I remember Lisa taking the day off to sit with me as I mourned the loss of my grandmother. She held me as I cried, made me eat when I didn't have the strength to cry anymore and sent me home to help bury my nana, my angel.
I became her rock during moments of sickness in her family. During break-ups and make-ups, new loves and one-night stands, nothing could shake or break our bond.
It was like we'd taken the wedding vows and made them the contract of our friendship. Unlike the Hugh Grant and Kristin Scott Thomas characters in Four Weddings, there was no unrequited romantic longing. If anything, our relationship was practical to a fault.
It took Lisa finding her true love to trigger our spiritual connection. When she flew off years later to Cannes for the film festival, I remember sensing in the pit of my stomach the day she left that a change was gonna come. And sure enough, when she returned, she told me she met the guy who would become her husband and the father of their two adorable kids.
And now, on the cusp of my own wedding, I think of Lisa miles away in the City of Brotherly Love. I'm here, and this city is my home, the locus of my love, the scene of my big closeup. Yes, Mr. DeMille, I'm ready.
It took four weddings and a funeral to get Hugh Grant and Andie MacDowell together, and I suppose it's taken a whole lot more than that to get me on the verge of getting hitched.
Weddings and funerals, births and divorces, riotous acts and lots of Charis (grace) are just a sample of the details in this ongoing drama. And that's just the first act.