The Bridesmaids’ Luncheon: A Play in One Part (#67)

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PART ONE (OF ONE)          SCENE ONE (OF ONE)

Interior of the finest, fanciest restaurant in Nowhere, New Hampshire. In this restaurant, the mason jars used as water glasses have handles.

 Nine women sit at a long table.  They hand their menus to a waiter. Eight of them will have to wait to be introduced until they actually say something because otherwise the stage directions will take up an entire page.

Autumn is seated in the middle of the table. She has the skinny frame and jumpy eyes of a starving animal in the middle of the food chain —  if she slows down enough to eat or sleep, a bigger predator might pounce.

raising her glass at Autumn: To the bride!  This time tomorrow, you’ll be married!

Seven obligatory “yays” are followed by rather more enthusiastic sips from wine glasses. Autumn twists her napkin into the shape of a squid. M hands a piece of bread to Autumn.

M: Did you eat breakfast?

AUTUMN twisting bread into butter–squirting squid: I had some Cheerios? Hey, I forgot to ask, are the sleeves right-side up on your dress again?

M: Yes. Eat.

AUTUMN leaning over to Boyfriend-Stealing Baby Sister: What about your sleeves?

BOYFRIEND-STEALING BABY SISTER: Mine were fixed Wednesday. Eat.

AUTUMN setting bread on plate and leaning across table to JM: How was your flight? And do you know what dry steam is?

BRILLIANT BLONDE LAWYER SISTER: Will you put that damned piece of bread in your mouth already?!

Autumn picks up bread again, only to drop it as her phone rings. She checks the screen.

AUTUMN: It’s Andy, hopefully just telling me he’s picked up his parents without drama.  Hi, babe, everything okay?

ANDY made audible by stress: Not really. My parents are really, really upset about the name change.

Wong parental units made audible by angry shouts in Cantonese emanating from cell phone. 

AUTUMN: You told them now? Just now? The day before the wedding?!

ANDY: I didn’t want them to be surprised when the minister said, “I now present Mr. and Mrs. Ashbough-Wong.”

AUTUMN tucks phone between shoulder and ear, tears bread squid to pieces: So you’ve called to stress me out during my luncheon?

BRILLIANT BLONDE LAWYER SISTER: You can’t call it a luncheon if you don’t eat!

M gently tugs the phone away from Autumn’s hand and replaces it with another piece of bread.

M: Hi, Andy, it’s M. Why don’t you go ahead and talk to me now?

M gestures at Autumn to eat, gets up from the table, walks to the back of the restaurant.  All we hear are soothing murmurs of “hmmm,” “yes”,  and “I see.”

GENIUS JUDGMENTAL DOCTOR SISTER toasting the air with her wine glass: Cheers! Andy’s becoming an Ashbough! Drains glass, and pours another.

AUTUMN: Apparently not NOW, but we were both going to hyphenate and be Ashbough-Wong.

Pretty Space Cadet Sister pulls out a flat, gift-wrapped package and presents it to Autumn.

PRETTY SPACE CADET SISTER: Well, M arranged this, but she’s busy. Now seems like a great time to give it to you!

 Autumn opens the gift and finds a lovely silver frame, engraved.

AUTUMN reading inscription: “Where shall we see a kinder sister or a truer friend?” — Jane Austen.

Autumn promptly bursts into tears.   

PRETTY SPACE CADET SISTER flapping hands: Why is she crying?

BRILLIANT BLONDE LAWYER SISTER runs around the table and tries to shove bread in Autumn’s mouth: Because she’s starving! Eat, damn it!

AUTUMN: Stop it!  You’re getting butter up my nose!

Brilliant Blonde Lawyer Sister backs off while Autumn wipes away butter/ snot/ tears.  M returns, slips Autumn’s phone into her purse. 

AUTUMN: I’m not crying because I’m hungry–

BRILLIANT BLONDE LAWYER SISTER: Yeah, you are–

AUTUMN: I’m crying because the whole quote is: “Where shall we see a better daughter, or a kinder sister, or a truer friend?”

BABY SINGING SISTER: You know the whole quote?!

JM: I love that quote.

BOYFRIEND-STEALING BABY SISTER: I didn’t know ANY of the quote.

KL: Me, either.

JUDGMENTAL GENIUS DOCTOR SISTER snorting: At least she learned something as an English major.

AUTUMN: You guys left out the “better daughter part,” and you’re right, because my in-laws hate me and I’m not even married yet and I’m already a crappy daughter-in-law!

M: Or maybe we left it out because it didn’t fit.

AUTUMN sniffling: Really?

M: Yes. And don’t worry, I calmed Andy down, and I calmed his parents down and everything’s absolutely fine and here’s your ravioli, sweetie.  Now eat.

The wait staff appears and serves the meal. Everyone eats quietly for a few beats.   Autumn leans over to M.

AUTUMN: Can I have my phone back?

M: Nope.

AUTUMN: You lied about his parents being fine, didn’t you?

M: Nope.

AUTUMN: You’re lying right now.

M: Nope.

AUTUMN: I can tell.

M: Eat your ravioli.

Autumn takes another bite, squeezes M’s hand under the table.

AUTUMN whispering: Where shall we find a truer friend, indeed.

CURTAIN

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Autumn Ashbough

WF writing about the humorous perils of life with Chinese-American significant other.

25 thoughts on “The Bridesmaids’ Luncheon: A Play in One Part (#67)”

  1. Very well written piece of theater. Very theatrical. M certainly sets things as straight as she can, always so calm in the midst of chaos and worry. Changing names or taking on your partner’s name can be a touchy subject. Understandable Andy’s parents aren’t happy as it’s not traditional in Chinese culture to change their name post-marriage. I’m sure they were convinced in the end…

    1. No one famous. It would have to be an indie project, I think, because not enough stuff blows up for a Hollywood film. 🙂

      So an unknown actress who does good snark and borderline insanity. Maybe British.

  2. Oh, Autumn! The drama you went through just to take a bite of bread…and all the drama you went through just to get married [an accumulation of all the other pre-wedding posts.]

    I never changed my name and no one really cared! Actually, probably no one even knows.

    1. Well, it’s funny now. I think at the time I cared too much about everything being perfect. I should have embraced the insanity. Because at the end of the day, you’re married whether events go smoothly or not.

      And being officially married is ultimately just an external ceremony to show the internal commitment Andy and I made to each other two years before. 🙂

      1. I’m noticing that.

        “What’s the biggest difference now that you’re married?”

        “My left hand clinks sometimes. It never did that before.”

      2. That is true!! It is a celebration of your love. My husband and I approached our wedding differently and decided it was going to be a big party for us, not stress for us and a party for everyone else. We took a laid back approach to it all.

  3. I think I get why you said your last post was supposed to be tragic. You frame events in such a funny way that I missed that though. Weddings sound stressful!

      1. Also, things get funnier as time passes. In the moment, I was REALLY UPSET that I didn’t have a copy of my wedding vows when the ceremony started.

        It’s already funny six weeks later, though, and it’s rapidly closing in on hilarious.

          1. I repeated after the minister, and bride said them herself. Turns out I was supposed to print them for myself. I printed stuff for everyone else, but I was told someone would give them to me so I didn’t even think to print them for me. *sigh*

  4. For a writer, it’s a real benefit to have a lot of drama in your life. Of course, you take full benefit of it with your humorous writing style. You’ve posted so many funny stories related to your wedding. My wedding and wedding preparation was really nice and also boring. I could write maybe one short post about it.

  5. When I came to this blog all I expected was girls fetishising Asian guys. But I got so much more than that. Your stories are interestings and very well written. Thank you!

    1. Thanks, Kai! LOL, I never thought that’s what the title of the site might make people think, but it’s quite reasonable. I do get some one-time hits from the Middle East using search words for escort services and porn. 🙂

  6. Oh, boy. Oh, boy, oh boy oh boy. I hope you are eating Autumn. I shall continue to play catch up and see what the next installment brings…hopefully things have improved…

  7. You know, since I was absent from here for such a long, long time, I have entirely forgotten about the Ashbough-Wong name. Other than that, lovely execution of the play.

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