Sunday, 25 July 2010

A Seat At The Best Table.

Things don't get any better this morning. Max stubs his toe while trying to get past Josh in the queue for the bathroom, and almost faints. I think he may have broken it, but there's no time to do anything about it as we're almost late for the vow ceremony as it is. Josh is sulking because he has to wear a suit, and Connie has refused to wear anything formal, and is dressed as if for a night out in her university's LCR.*

The ceremony passes off okay - unsurprisingly, as it's only five years since the original, so David and Susie are hardly out of practice. It's actually quite moving, and I find myself wondering whether something similar would work for Max and I. He's looking rather attractive today - and he really does have a firmer chin than most of the men present. I probably would marry him again. If he asked.

As usual, nothing good lasts, though. The "wedding breakfast" is a farce. When we find our names on the seating plan outside the function room, we discover we might as well have been seated in Siberia. We are quite obviously on the Payback table. On my right is the headmaster of David's old school - the one who expelled David on the grounds that he "saw every school rule as a deliberate infringement of his personal liberty." On Max's left is the man who sacked David from his first job. The numbers are made up by various ex-wives and husbands of those more successful individuals who are seated next to the top table, along with their new trophy partners.

And how could I forget to mention the photographer? God knows where David and Susie found him, but they've dumped him on our table too. He holds forth  - throughout the entire meal - about his last job taking pictures of a greyhound racing stadium. This is about as interesting as you would imagine. On the odd occasion that he pauses for breath, he pokes at each course as if he has never seen food before, and doesn't trust it. Then he pounces and suddenly hurls a vast quantity of it into his mouth, which he kindly leaves open while he chews. He eats everything - including a whole load of mussels which have remained closed, but which he determinedly prises open. I can't be bothered to advise him not to, as I think he'd probably stab his fork into my hand and accuse me of trying to shaft him.

By the time the band arrive for the evening's entertainment, the photographer is nowhere to be seen. As Max and I approach to say our goodbyes, David is shouting into his mobile phone.

"What d'you mean you think you've got food poisoning? You ate the same as everyone else!" He pauses and then says, "Well, if I don't have a record of this evening, you'll be hearing from my solicitor."

"Problems?" I ask, trying to resist giving way to schadenfreude.

"Muppet photographer says he's got food poisoning. Reckons he can't stop throwing up. So now I've got to find someone else to take pictures of the dancing. I'm not flying in a ten-piece band from Cuba to end up with no bloody record of it." David's eyes are scanning the room as he speaks. Then he spots Max's digital camera.

"Max, my old mate -"

"Sorry, David - can't." Max hides his pleasure well. "We've just come to say goodbye. Got to head back now."

'Oh, that's right. Our Molly can't have a day off from saving the world from capitalists."

I smile sweetly, and say,

"Don't worry. I'm sure one of your entrepreneurial mates can rig you up a pinhole camera."

David laughs, so I forgive him. As usual. He is my oldest friend, after all - though I bet I'd have been much further up the bloody table hierarchy if I'd married Johnny. In fact, Johnny probably wouldn't be seen dead in the company of someone as poor as David. But Johnny's not here, and anyway, I'm really looking forward to getting home, snuggling up to Max on the couch, and listening to him snore. I'm not cut out for a glittering social life. My best underwear is from Primark, after all.

*LCR - Lower Common Room.

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