"Patina!" My shouts became more and more frantic as I threw open door after door looking for her. Each empty room sent another wave of fear stabbing into my heart. She was here somewhere, I knew she was, but this place was a maze. My shoes squeezed on the highly polished floor as I turned another corner a bit too sharply.
Before me stretched another long corridor and I squinted in the too bright light trying to see then end of it. "Patina!" I cried again. Where was everyone! "Somebody help me! I need to find my wife!" I could no longer stop the tears as I ran, more frantic than ever, to open the first door.
I woke with a shock sitting blot upright. I was bathed in sweat my heart racing racing as if I had just finished a marathon. Panicked I looked around trying to get my bearings.
Seeing the peaceful sleeping form of Patina lying next to me allowed me to catch my breath. I sat there watching her sleep as I tried to calm my heart and shake off the nightmare. It was a week before the wedding and the dreams were coming more often now. The weren't always the same and mostly they faded quickly but in those moments of first waking the absolute terror of the dream was excruciatingly vivid. It was ironic that the closer we got to being bound together in marriage the more my subconscious feared the loss of her. Moving slowly so as not to wake her I curled up next to her and watched her sleep not daring to close my eyes again.
People who think time flies have it wrong. Flying would mean that there was a smooth and gentle transition from one moment to the next. If you want to get closer to the truth it jumps. One moment I was lying in bed watching Patina sleep and the next I was attempting to loosen the too tight collar of my wedding suit with no knowledge of what had happened in the intervening week.
"You ok son?"
"Fine, yep completely fine." I tried to stop the shaking in my hands and gave my supremely relaxed dad a weak smile in hopes of convincing him. The look in his eyes told me that I wasn't successful. "Ok I'm completely I'm not fine. I'm freaking out. I don't know what the problem is. I have never wanted anything in my life more than to be married to Patina but I have never been more nervous than I am at this moment."
He chuckled softly to himself as he put his arm around my shoulder and steered me to the door. "I would have been worried about you if you actually had been fine."
"You would have?" Surely me being nervous was a bad thing. Wasn't I supposed to be prepared to make this change in my life, to meet it without fear.
He continued to move me slowly towards the door as he spoke. My heart raced and my feet dragged ever so slightly feeling as if they each weighted a ton. "Nervous is very good right now. Nervous means you care. It shows that you realise how much it means to you to have this moment and every moment from this point on be perfect. It shows how deeply and truly you love Patina. So if you hadn't been a nervous wreck I would have worried if you were doing the right thing. As it is," he looked me up and down taking in the shaking hands, the constant darting of my eyes and the beads of sweat that I couldn't seem to stop rolling down my forehead and laughed. "Well I have no doubt that you love her more than anything in the world and you would do anything to make her happy."
Huh? Who knew being a complete mess was a good thing but what he was saying made sense. More than anything I wanted to make sure that I gave Patina the perfect life that she deserved and, as always, I was terrified I would screw it up. My revery was interrupted when we stopped walking and I looked up to see the alter in front of me.
With a quick slap on the shoulder my dad turned and was gone leaving me at the front of a very crowded room. Luckily I didn't have long to wait. Just as my heart started beating at a fever pitch the music changed and my dad began to walk up the isle with the maid-of-honour.
In what seemed like no time at all they were standing up with me and the music changed once again. The doors open and she floated through them, a vision in white.
And nearly fell off the raised step of the alter. Glancing around nervously I was relieved to see that everyone was turned to Patina watching her walk slowly towards me. Everyone but Patina who had a smile twitching at the corners of her mouth as she tried not to laugh. Smiling sheepishly back at her I got back up on the step and attempted to look dignified. Or at least not to knock anything over. With an elegance that I could never possess she came to stop beside me. A breath of fresh air swept over me in that moment taking all my nervousness and fear away with it. So it was with a calm hand that I placed the ring on her finger and said the words that made her mine forever.
I'd like to say that we had a romantic honeymoon. Somewhere tropical and warm with white sandy beaches and drinks with little umbrellas in them. But we didn't. Instead we spent it in poorly lit and smoke filled rooms. Pretty romantic, eh?
See something unexpected happened when we got back from France. The phone rang. Now this perhaps seems like an ordinary event, especially considering Patina had been tweeting, texting and emailing everyone she know about the engagement. In fact I was quite prepared for the person on the other end to be offering their congratulations and asking me when the big day was.
"Oh hi Jaffa. How are things?"
"Couldn't be better my boy, couldn't be better. Listen, I know you are just back from your trip to France and probably in completely the wrong timezone but I really need you at open mic night tonight."
"Um, well to tell you the truth I was kind of planning on spending tonight just relaxing."
"And you will, you will. I just need you here for a very short time. I wouldn't be asking if it wasn't important."
"Well ok then. I guess I'll see you there." What could I have said? He had never asked me to be there before I had always just gone when it suited me. The fact that he was asking now, and that he said it was important made me curious and although you couldn't have dragged me there ten minutes ago I was now dying to go.
No amount of speculation prepared me for what happened when I got there. I played my set, one of the last to play that night, and when I was leaving the stage Jaffa was there gesturing for me to join him.
Most musicians talk about the clubs they play with a haughty disdain. Well, at least the famous ones do. They say that all the clubs look the same and they some times have no idea where they are. I guess, if I needed any confirmation other than the obvious, that was a clear clue that I wasn't famous. I had no problem at all telling them apart.
There was Sport Zone better known as the Den of the Flying Darts.
No matter where I stood they always seemed to head straight for me with a nearly uncanny accuracy. I mean seriously who thought it was a good idea to darts in a club!
And there was Banzai Lounge aka Wall of Immovable beads.
So the clubs of Bridgeport took on new names for me as I tried to avoid their individual pitfalls. Although Mr. Bumble was fine with me taking some time off for a honeymoon Patina wouldn't have it. She insisted I finish the mini-tour of Bridgeport and she was there with me every night braving the dangers at my side. That is until......
BABY?!? The hall started to spiral around me. Great there goes any chance I had of looking in control of the situation I thought as the floor rushed up to meet me.