I attended a wedding on behalf of my mother recently, and it turned out to be a test of my manners and overall self-control.
Usually I would have gone with one of my siblings but they were all caught up, so I made my way to the church ceremony all alone, ready to represent the family and make my Mama proud.
I got there early, so luckily I was able to have a chat with the groom before he went in and give him my absent family members’ best wishes and hearty congratulations.
I turned around and spotted one of those senior aunties that one simply MUST greet, on pain of death. I made a beeline for her and patiently waited my turn to say hello. No sooner had she turned around to see who had tapped her politely on the arm (me) than she immediately launched into me.
‘’EH EH EH!!! NOW SEE THIS ONE!!’’ I’ve stressed the CAPS just to convey loudness. Volume control is a foreign concept to this woman.
‘’CAN YOU IMAGINE?! EH BUT WEDDINGS CAN REALLY BRING OUT PEOPLE!!’’ She then proceeded to ask everyone within earshot (and those on the other side of the church building, presumably) when they had last seen me.
Smiling politely and laughing in an ‘’aww, shucks’’ manner, I extricated myself from the uncomfortable huddle and started to make my way inside the church.
Just before I was able to get in and quietly find a seat, bemused that no one had yet confused me with my sister Kaine (this happens often) I was stopped in my tracks by an elderly aunt. Peering at me over her glasses, she gripped my wrist and promptly cut off my circulation.
If I may digress: if you are ever stuck somewhere in the wilderness, and need to sever a limb to extricate yourself from under a rock, or to stop snake poison from travelling further up your body, you don’t need a tourniquet. You need an elderly auntie’s death grip. I don’t know if there’s a school where they are taught how to do this, or whether it is something that comes with age. Either way, that shit is for real.
There I am, frantically trying to recall this auntie’s name (so that I don’t offend her) and wishing she’d ease up on my wrist (because my fingers were changing colour). She smiled warmly.
‘’So, is this Kaine or is this Siima?’’ Ah. Here we go. I should have known it was too good to be true.
She eased her grip a little, so I let the stupid question slide, smiled and answered.
‘’No, Auntie. I’m Siima. How are you?’’
‘’I’m fine bambi,’’ she said, releasing my wrist. Relieved, I began to relax when suddenly she was squeezing my upper arms, pinching my waist and patting my behind. Alarmed, I looked around to see if anyone else had noticed this assault on my person. Nope, no one.
She continued. ‘’Eh, you have lost WEIGHT!!’’ So loud. I don’t understand why senior aunties develop death grips and the ability to throw their voices.
‘’You used to be FAT, eh!’’ Tactless Aunt continued undeterred. She even spread her arms for emphasis. Because clearly the fact that she dragged out the word so it sounded like it was spelt ‘fwaaaaaaaaatiii’ was not enough for me to comprehend my previous girth.
You’d think my humiliation ended here. Oh no, dear reader. She kept on.
‘’Eh, even the ki-face was fat!! But now look, you have made it!’’ She said this while stroking my face. She gave me a thumbs-up, one last congratulatory pat on my recently-reduced behind, and walked into church.
Already exhausted, I walked in to the church. Saying a quick prayer, I beseeched the Sweet Baby Jesus to duct-tape my mouth shut and not let me cuss anyone out. I muttered ‘FML’, in my head, then felt bad because I was in the house of God and He’d hear me anyway. Dammit.
The rest of the service passed by in a bit of a blur. It was a beautiful ceremony, the lovely couple was all smiles, and the choir was fantastic.
As we walked out into the bright sunshine to take pictures with the happy couple, I made a solemn vow.
I will not be a Tactless Volume-Control-Deficient Death Grip Auntie in my old age. I’ll attend my nieces’ and nephews’ functions, and be the smiley, quiet one in the corner. I’ll just sip my vodka from my hip-flask and be happy. Because sincerely. There are enough of them in the world.