Pulling a Graduate
"If anyone here has a reason why these two should not be wed in holy matrimony, Hiccup." Some soul
shouts "Wait!", runs to the front of the church, professes love and gets their soul mate to leave with them and live happily ever after (to the shock of all those attending the wedding).
Never happens in real life. Yeah, it was romantic at the end of The Graduate when Dustin Hoffman came running into the church pounding on plexiglass to pull Mrs. Robinson's daughter out of the church to a bus waiting outside. Or on The Simpsons when Grandpa did the spoof to get Marge's mom to leave Mr. Burns on the altar. Real people don't have those guts. At least I didn't.
I knew she was pregnant, and I knew she was getting married. I didn't know when, until her friend came to me at work, leaned over my cubie wall and asked, "Guess who is getting married today?" I didn't have to guess. My throat closed up, filled with pennies, my stomach sucking to my spine. I could not pronounce a sound to justify my being.
Heat, confusion, flooding of anxiety, of urgency.
"Where?" I asked.
"It's this afternoon in Stillwater, at five."
"Where?" I asked again. (this time with feeling).
"You can't go. (skeptical) What are you going to do, Bob? Pull a Graduate? (smirking)"
"No, I'll get to her before the wedding. Don't worry L, I won't ruin anything. Just Lotus me the address."
Off to my team leader I went, I told her I needed the afternoon off. Printed out the directions. Pick up the the phone, (rustling through my desk for her cell phone number)... finally, Please, please, be there...
"The cellular customer you are trying to reach is unavailable".
Uneasy, apprehensive, I started to second guess myself. I hadn't spoken to her in months, she was getting married for chrissake. What was I doing? If she wanted to be with me she would be. Did I really want to make a fool out of myself?
To Myself:The last time you felt this way you didn't go back and you have regretted it ever since. Do it. It's your only chance. You're her best boy, she feels it too, you have to go. Get to her before the ceremony, tell her that you love her, tell her that the Honda is outside, tell her that she doesn't have to stay with you but she doesn't have to get married either, ask her for a chance. And if asking for your chance is your chance? Well at least you tried.
Walking out of work a friendly, motherly, wise and worldly Peggy (coworker) stopped me.
"What are you doing, Bob?" Knowing, worried.
"Pulling a Graduate, I have to."
"Is this the girl from the summer?" She asked me with such delicate care. "Do you know if she will go with you?"
"I don't know, but I promised myself I wouldn't let life pass me by again. I already blew it leaving WLO on the Vienna Opera House steps, I have to try. What do you think I should do?" second guessing myself, doubt creeping in, rationalization in matters of love...blech!
"Honestly?" she replied. "I can't let you do it, if she loved you she wouldn't get married. You don't want to ruin her wedding, and if you do it and fail, you won't ever be able to do it again. Go home, go for a bike ride and forget about it."
I did just that, I rode my bike to my bench on Lake of The Isles. I sat in the cold. I ran scenarios in my head as the time of day ticked into night and the wedding was over. I gave up.
Five months later my phone rang. It was her. She just had her bean and wanted to bring her by and go for a walk over to the Walker. She said she wanted to talk to me.
When she arrived, we outfitted the brand new gorgeous miracle in her stroller and walked through Loring Park over the foot bridge to the Walker's sculpture garden. Crossing the bridge she told me all about the baby, her wedding, why she hadn't talked to me... then...getting courage I asked,
"Have you ever seen The Graduate?"
She looked at me, head tilted, and replied, "I watched it the night before my wedding."