Small Neighborhood Weddings
by Cynthia S. Gaor
article courtesy of Natives Wish
"Did you know that Ana is getting married this month?"
mom asked me after opening the door.
"Mom, it's her right to get married.
Ana is single and she is 25, right? About the right age to marry,"
I answered devoid of any emotions. "Oh by the way, Minnie called
me up about her latest acquisition, a brand new Honda Civic?"
And she said it was really my fault that I went back home instead
of sticking it out in Brunei. "I could have bought my own Honda
by now, who knows?" I added.
When it comes to the subject of marriage,
my friends and their colorful lives are the best diversion I could
think of to keep my mother from pursuing the subject any further.
But not in this case. I'm in for trouble, I can feel that.
"Oh, but it was the best decision you
have made. You wouldn't have travelled to Japan on official business
if you had resigned from your present job. And, oh, talking about
Japan, Ana is getting married to a Japanese. And I heard the man
is really loaded. Her mom is so proud the whole neighborhood will
be invited, I heard," she said while sitting on her favorite
side of the room watching "Chabelita", the latest Mexican
soap opera on Channel 2.
"Well, she is one lucky girl mom, what
can I say. But seriously, I have been to Japan, so, there's really
no need for me to marry a Japanese just to be there, you know,"
I teased her. "That's not the point," she countered. "Oh
I get the point, all right. Mom, you cannot nag or force the subject
of marriage to me everytime somebody gets married in this neighborhood,"
I pleaded. "Oh, I'm sorry, it's just that ours is a small neighborhood
where people think they know us from Adam. And I'm sure when I go
out tomorrow they would all be asking me, when you are getting married,
and all," she said without looking at me. "It's not me
I'm worried about. It's you. You know people will talk, and everytime
they do, it's always about you being single and all," she continued.
Well, I hate to admit it, but, she's right.
Big weddings in small neighborhood like ours, really suck, big time!
- at least that's how I feel about it. Getting used to this small
neighborhood "way" is no easy lesson for me to learn.
My "ordeal" usually starts just about the time when the
news of somebody getting married breaks out in the neighborhood
to start some tonques wagging like crazy. It continues until the
invitations are distributed and people see and wait who gets to
be important to merit "the" invitation from the family.
Then the women will talk about "people" like me, who remain
single despite our "advanced" age. It really sucks.
Then on the wedding day itself, people come
out to see if the bride wears an expensive "traje", what
car is she riding in, are there enough "glitters" in her
neck, ears, wrist, finger or on her head. After the bride has gone,
the "outsiders" become the next target. Those who wear
the "signature" will merit envious glances while those
who wear the "divi" or "Ilsdetuls" (for "divisoria"
and "ilalim ng tulay") fashion willget sneered at with
matching "raised" eyebrows. Sus, who do these people think
they are? meteoric fashion icons?
Then comes the reception. If the family wants
to be placed in some kind of a "pedestal" - like a good
and loaded neighbor - they just can't select the people they are
going to feed. No, a hotel reception is not a good excuse not to
feed them. You must provide something for those who "cannot"
go to the hotel because they were not given the limited and by-invitation-only
hotel reception notices. That means, the family has to accommodate
these "guests" in another reception like in their house
or anywhere in the neighborhood.
I used to enjoy coming to big weddings where
most guests come from our neighborhood because getting around or
finding your way around is not much of a problem. But the more often
I see these small neighborhood "irritants", I began to
develop some sort of a "wedding phobia". Unless it's a
wedding of a relative, a very good friend, officemate or classmate,
I tend to shy away from weddings - thanks, neighbors! Oh well, small
neighborhood...big weddings...lavish receptions good enough to feed
the whole barangay...the presence of people who cannot seem to mind
their own businesses or shut up their mouths, for good - very typical
wedding scenario in small neighborhoods, right? Don't you just hate
going to weddings, anymore?Anyway, it is during this time that I
pray to God that He would transport me to another place where I
can get my peace everytime anybody in my small neighborhood gets
"Hey, Christine," I said. "Are
you coming with me to the wedding or will I concoct something again
for you like you were sent to Tawi-Tawi or Batanes for a "life
and death" mission?" mom asked me for the third time.
"Whatever, mom. Just tell them I hate them so much I can't
bear to be with them in the same room. This way nobody will ever
invite me again to any weddings. What do you think, mom?" I
"I'll tell them you are in the province
doing something you always do in your job," she said with dismay.
"Oh come on, mom, don't mind those people,
they just don't have better things to do. Just tell them, I will
marry when I marry. And tell them if ever I do, they are not invited,"
I said in jest. Small neighborhood, big weddings...geez, give me