Sunday, August 9, 2009


Last weekend I helped out a friend's wedding. We've known each other since 1997, when we studied overseas in the Middle East. We both developed a passion for things Middle Eastern, leading us both to related studies. I settled down sooner rather than later and started my family, while she continued her studies in Africa and elsewhere.

We both ended up in the Washington, D.C. area and have been able to see each other periodically. While here, she fell in love with a Samoan gentleman. I was excited to be a part of the wedding festivities, as a gopher or simply the grease in the wheels of a big event (a role I enjoy immensely.) Friends and family spent the days leading up to the event running around in preparation. We decorated the hall of the church on Friday evening, where I got to meet many of her friends.

The bride and I have some physical characteristics in common. We are both tall, with long dark hair. I thought the similarities stopped there, but not so. According to her mother, we both walk with the same gait and mannerisms. Someone even said our voices sound similar. Our commonalities turned out to be disconcerting; not for me, but for everyone else.

I lost track of how many times I was mistaken for the bride. People would see me out of the corner of their eye, turn and ask a question, then freeze, startled. A woman came up to me from behind and patted me on the back. As she asked how I was doing, I turned and smiled, already amused. She stopped midsentence and apologized. Friends mistook me. Her brothers mistook me. Her mother did, twice.

Even the groom. Not once. FOUR times. One of those times was on the actual wedding day, when she was in her white gown and I was in bright yellow. He was so embarrassed, but I was flattered.

After all, she is a great woman. She is beautiful. She carries her height proudly. She is accomplished, optimistic, and happy. She waited patiently to marry her husband and is now a step-mom to an energetic seven year old boy with extra challenges. For the complications that dealing with an ex-spouse entail, I admire her. She is awesome.

I'll gladly be mistaken for her, any day.

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