Three Funerals and A Slice of Life.
It was a night of laughter. The dance floor of the wedding reception shifted and swayed to match the musical rhythms of the room. The groomsmen were four brothers and a cousin. They were also my closest circle of friends.
It was the point of the wedding I had seen and been part of dozens of times. They were about to engage in a signature dance that finished with the alcohol-infused men in a single line, legs spread, and hands in the air. It was a moment included in every family album I ever saw. I was left out of the picture at this event for some odd reason.
At least, that is what they were thinking.
The groomsmen began to line up at a certain point during the song (I can’t remember which one). I knew I would be able to dive across the wood floor and slide between all their legs just as the photographer snapped the photo. Timing had to be precise. Either I would be successful, or several would have broken ankles.
I let the fates decide. That distinct beat in the song occurred and with only a few quick steps — I was off. I flopped belly first onto the dance floor and precisely skid between everyone’s legs. Without even a wrinkle in my tuxedo, I went through the tunnel of legs, jumped up, and took my place in the front of the line. The dance continued.
There was no way that picture was happening without me.
Silly events of this nature occurred each weekend. We spent almost all our free time together and frequently attended weddings, engagements, or simple house parties. It felt incomplete if even one person was missing. Days and nights were spent together thinking, laughing, and debating. We studied and partied.
That was over 30 years ago. Those important moments and pictures have yellowed. The inseparable bonds withered. I haven’t spoken with any of them in decades. It is difficult to determine how we grew apart but once freed from that orbit, we floated away and never returned. Back then, I could predict their every move, and we could finish each other’s sentences. Now, I have no idea where they are. Those familiar figures of yesterday are unrecognizable now.