The plastic has melted away to the floor. Two, no longer frozen, very disgruntled looking brides eye us. One says something in Russian.
“What did she say?” I ask N.
“Who the fuck are you guys.”
“Brilliant. So, who the fuck are we?”
N shoots me a guilty look.
“Their husbands, I think.”
I look to the brides, then back to N.
“Well, I didn’t think it would work.”
“This is just great. I—“ I look down at my hand. Someone is holding it. I look up. One of the brides is inches from my face. She smiles.
“You’ve got to be kidding me?” I pull my hand free. It’s no use, the bride reaches out, lightning fast, and grabs it again. Harder this time.
N is experiencing a similar discomfort as the bride he kissed holds his arm, tight.
“There is a lesson to be learned here,” I say, wincing.
N nods. He turns to his bride and says something in Russian. She nods.
“What did you ask?”
N looks at his feet.
“What did you ask?” I repeat.
“I asked if we were married now,” he mutters.
“Great. I suppose that means her and I are married too,” I ask, jerking my thumb to the bride who has me in a vice grip. N nods again, slower.
I sigh. I look at the woman. She is young and beautiful and smiling with everything but her eyes.
“We could have a wedding and then not show up and they’d go right back to normal, right?”
N gives me a remonstrative look.
“I’m kidding!” I say. I turn to my bride. “I’m totally kidding,” I tell her.
“So, what do we do?”
N turns to his bride and asks her a question. She nods vigorously. N smiles. I wait, eagerly. He turns back to me.
“Well?” I ask.
“What did you just ask her?” I say, ready to be free.
“Oh,” N shrugs, “I asked if she was hungry.”
I dig my knuckle into my temple. “This isn’t happening,” I whisper.
N steps toward me. His bride steps with him. He places his free hand on my shoulder.
“I’m afraid it is,” he says, consolingly. He turns to my bride and says something. She also nods.
“Your wife is hungry, too.”
“uh-huh,” I manage.
“Should we get something to eat, then?” N asks.
He says something to the two brides, in Russian. They both smile.
“They’ve never had Shawarma, shall we?”
“Uh-huh,” I say, instead of curling up into a ball.
N and his new wife lead the way. Mine drags me behind.
My fingers are growing cold.
To be continued…