***For the purposes of maintaining the anonymity of friends who are not complete exhibitionists like myself, I have assigned assumed names in the following retelling of this Saturday past (it should come as no surprise that the bf, who, ironically enough, isn't one for having his life plastered online, will continue being called those two most magical letters of the alphabet: MP).
It's Saturday, October 4th. The clouds have conga'd right on out of the day, leaving behind plenty of blue skies for N's wedding reception. I've skipped lunch in anticipation of a 12-course banquet dinner. I've ironed my outfit for the evening (alright, so amma ironed my outfit because, truth be told, I have no idea how to iron these traditional Pakistani numbers. And, yes, like most second generation desi-Americans, who--for the most part--have only attended desi weddings, I have no idea what to wear to non-south Asian weddings and usually just settle for the traditional garb that I'd wear to, say, my second cousin's wedding. I do so without any qualms, thank you very much). I've washed my hair. I've dried it and styled it. I've rewashed and dried again because, holy mother of the internet, what the eff is going on up there anyway?!! I've fantasized for a split moment about pulling a Sinead O'Connor but then, realizing that shaving my hair probably isn't the most time efficient of options, I've taken a curling iron to it.
I've now lathered both hands with soap and, after breathless minutes of gentle squeezing and praying that there is no blood (oh God, DON'T LET THERE BE ANY BLOOD!), I've managed to put on delicate glass bangles that, for all intents and purposes, should be too small for me (when it comes to bangles, it's the smaller, the better--or so I'm told by the Pakistanis). My ironed outfit is now in a garment bag (since I'd rather not be too blinged out on the train, I've decided to change at MP's). My clutch, my heels, and my dhupphata are in my purse. My hair is done.
But, holy holy, it's already 4:15 and, the last time we spoke (five days ago) my great friend ES said that she and her lovely husband would arrive via rental car at MP's at 5 and there I am, standing in the bathroom, still contemplating my hair without a single lick of makeup on my face. For, what feels like the first time in my life, readers, I'm on the verge of being late (this is a monumental moment in the life of this very punctual Nerddd) and it's stressing me out. The stress works in my favor and, before I know it, I'm wearing a light layer of makeup and, damn, I don't think I've ever done my eyes so well. And, although it feels like it didn't take very long, it's 4:40 by the time I'm done with the makeup application and I'm running to the train station, garment bag and giant purse full of another purse and shoes and stuff in hand.
By some fortuitous stroke of train scheduling luck that, very clearly, isn't my own, the train arrives within five minutes of my own arrival at the station. Unluckily, however, when I put my left hand on the wall behind me, in order to steady myself as the train barrels to MP's part of town, those goddamned glass bangles explode (my wrist and hand, somehow, remain unscathed). A nice man collects the shards for me and hands them to me. Not knowing what to do with what's left of glass bangles that I've silently sworn off for as long as I am sane, I stuff them in my bag.
The train pulls in at MP's station after what feels like weeks and I shove my way past tourists, race up the stairs, and hail down an off-duty cab that is seemingly going in the direction of MP's place. Even though the cabby tells me he can't do it, that MP's place is actually out of the way for him, I sorta beg and stomp and feel my face turning red with desperation so the cabby, who's likely afraid for his life at this point, lets me in.
Once in the cab, sputtering about usually being so punctual and suddenly being so late to no one in particular, I fish through my shard-filled bag and emerge with my phone. I frantically dial ES's number to let her know that I'm on my way and that she and her husband should go upstairs to MP's apartment because I still have to change and, I'm so sorry I'm late, and, historically, I'm punctual so this is just so out of character.
I'm sweating now, yes.
The phone rings a few times before I get ES on the other line.
ES: (whispering) Hey, what's up?
Nerddd: (panting heavily) Where are you?!
ES: (as calm as an art museum) Hm, at the museum.
Nerddd: (on the verge of hives) But what time are you coming over to pick us up? For the wedding??? Sir, please take a left here. A left!
ES: (talking to B, her husband): B, what's the date today? The 4th, right? (getting back to me) The wedding is tomorrow.
Nerddd: (um, no it isn't) Um, no it isn't.
ES: Sabila, the wedding is on the 5th.
ES: Yes. Yes, it is. I don't know who's wedding you're planning on attending tonight, but it isn't N's.
Nerddd: (exploding, much like those deadly glass bangles) SERIOUSLY??! OH MY GOD! WHAT IS MY PROBLEM? PULL OVER RIGHT HERE, SIR! I PRACTICALLY HIJACKED THIS GUY'S CAB BECAUSE I THOUGHT I WAS RUNNING LATE AND THE WEDDING ISN'T EVEN TONIGHT!
ES: (already giggling) It's a Sunday night reception.
Nerddd: (paying the cabby) I apologize for this, sir (the cabby doesn't look amused). Can you believe the wedding wasn't even tonight (ahem)?! I'm an idiot, clearly (I add this for good measure. He doesn't crack a smile. I double my tip and step out of the cab). ES, do you realize I've done my hair and my makeup. I took PAINS to do my hair and my makeup. And poor MP, he's probably already dressed. Ugh. I'm an idiot and I'll call you back.
ES: (trying hard not to howl at the museum, manages a very muffled goodbye).
I'm defeated. I walk slowly towards MP's apartment, the garment bag limp in the same hand that, though it was spared injury, now appears naked and patehtic wearing a lone surviving bangle. The makeup that looked so good only an hour earlier feels heavy under the layer of panic-induced sweat I'm now coated in. My hip hasn't hurt in quite some time but I feel myself almost limping: I've been routed by a misunderstanding. I've been schooled.
And, goddamn it, I'm starving.
It's only when MP opens the door, looking wedding dapper in a black ensemble, and wearing an eager-to-go-to-the-wedding smile that I allow myself to dissolve into laughter. I laugh and laugh and he laughs too, without even asking me what's the matter. Finally, I manage to spit out that the wedding is tomorrow.
We laugh for a very long time and MP takes these really nice pics of me laughing on the phone with amma (who's promptly declared that I'm crazy and now all of my friends know it, too).
And then we go out for a very nice dinner.