My sister and I weren’t the best musical performers out there; which was usually why we ended up playing in subway stations for some extra pocket change. She was the singer and I played guitar; we weren’t good by any means, but we were entertaining enough that some people would stop and listen for a bit, before walking away and maybe deciding to drop some change into my guitar case.
We did this about twice a week, on a good week, sometimes her throat would hurt from her unprofessional singing methods, or I would catch a headache from the array of smells a subway station could claim, but as often as we could; we were performing.
We decided to go and play a couple of songs in the underground one bleak night. It was a random day, not one of our usual performing nights, but she wanted to sing and, being the professional I was, I went along with it. The subway station near our petite place was different, to say the least, which is why I wasn’t entirely surprised to see what I did.
When I walked down the stairs, guitar case in hand, my eye was immediately drawn to the girl standing, rather confidently, in a white wedding dress. She wasn’t strikingly gorgeous or anything of that nature, but it was hard to miss her. The native New Yorkers didn’t even blink an eye when they walked past, but I couldn’t keep mine off her.
“The nut-houses you find in a subway station.” My sister commented, as we went to find a good location to perform.
“I wonder what happened, to leave her here in a wedding dress.” I replied, barely being able to walk forward with my eyes still stuck on her.
I tried to push her out of my thoughts as we started playing through our first song, but I saw her wander over; her white dress flowing behind her as it flicked up the dirt of the subway underground. She stood some feet away from us, but close enough for me to see the mascara that had soaked up under her eyes. I couldn’t keep performing with the need to know what had happened growing stronger.
“We should take a quick intermission.” I suggested, slinging the guitar off my shoulder and forcing it into my sister’s hands.
“Hi.” I said hastily as I approached. She smiled, emptily, but awaited my obvious questioning. “If you don’t mind me asking, why are you wearing a wedding dress?”
“Oh, well today was my wedding day.” She stated. I waited for her to continue, but was annoyed when she didn’t give me the thorough explanation I had been hoping for.
“May I ask why you’re in the subway station and not at your wedding reception?” She laughed softly, but quickly fell into a fit of tears. I didn’t know what to do.
“He stood me up. I waited for him, at the alter…my whole family was there, you know? But he decided, clearly, today was not his day to get married.” It sounded like the first time she had pieced the words together, because clearly I did not know.
“Oh…I’m sorry.” I should have guessed that was the case, but still why was she in the subway station, what did it have to offer her?
“You and your sister sounded lovely.” I was done with the conversation, but I didn’t know how to ease my way out.
“Thanks, we actually need to start playing again, but it was nice to meet you-” I tried to walk away, but she grabbed my hand.
“Would you maybe want to do me a favor?” Her eyes, still watery from tears, showed true desperation.
I tried to tell her no, that I thought I should have gone back to playing guitar with my sister, but she wouldn’t have it.
“I’ll pay you. It’ll be like a gig.” Her words were spilling out and I could hardly keep up. “All you have to do is come to my wedding, show my parents someone good. They never met him anyways, I could say you got lost on…on-the subway…you’re not from here anyways and navigation must’ve been hard. Yes, they’d believe that. That’s all you have to do; pretend to be my fiancé. Then I’ll find him and we can just tell my parents you got facial surgery or something like that. They’re from New York, they’d believe it.”
“Wait, what?” I tried to pull my arm away from her, but she seemed to be gripping it with her life.
“Just come get fake married to me.” Her white teeth against her bright red lipstick made her look even more psychotic with the black specks running down her eyes.
I didn’t say no, and maybe, in retrospect, I should have been more clear; I shrugged. I told her if she desperately needed me, as she so seemingly did, that I would fake marry her.
To be honest I didn’t expect things to end so…interestingly. She didn’t find her fiancé, I’m not even sure if she actually had one to begin with, she married me…and her family seemed cool with it, my sister was just glad I could pay rent for a few months before I moved out and in with my wife.
Crazier things have happened…maybe not to me, but I sure do have one hell of a ‘first-time-we-met’ story. Our tenth anniversary is next week; I bought her a subway ticket. Is it love? Well, who can say really…