After that horrible Flood, there was an olive leaf, and then a beautiful rainbow: pregnant with the promise of redemption and renewal, which is why we laughed uncontrollably on the hotel shuttle bus, when a rainbow appeared in the sky above the entrance to Grounds for Sculpture, a New Jersey sculpture garden.

Because let’s face it, Alanis Morissette was wrong: there’s nothing ironic about rain on your wedding day, especially when you’re getting married outside at six, and it’s raining cats and dogs at five. But the deluge subsided just in time, as if by Divine Intervention, and a magical rainbow appeared, a rainbow that seemed to say that the Flood of tears and freak-outs and blow-ups and money and time and effort was all so very worth it.

Because this, this wedding, made out of the hearts, wallets, and imaginations of faulted human beings, was perfect in every detail. From the bride’s dress to the groom’s promise to grab his wife’s ass, each and every day, so long as we both shall live.

*

It was a beautiful ceremony but a terrible reception. And I was stuck at the worst table in the room, sitting across from the worst couple in the world. A real match made in Hell. They were in the middle of some sort of fight. She was mad at him. Really mad. Furious actually. But he didn’t know why. Poor guy kept sheepishly asking her what was wrong. Eventually she told him. Apparently she was mad at him because he’d said something horribly hurtful the night before. At dinner.

He stared at her with the doe eyes of an innocent man. He really didn’t know what the fuck she was talking about. Seriously, if you looked up “WTF?” in the dictionary, there’d be a picture of this dude’s face. Didn’t last though. Second or two later, color in the dude’s face went from Scared-Rabbit White to Righteously-Indignant Red. Faster than you can say “Johnnie Cochran”. Guy was so mad he was shaking. Could barely speak. He reminded her that he was on a plane last night. That they didn’t talk last night. That he’d been back home for a funeral. His grandmother’s funeral.

Took awhile, but eventually she realized that she wasn’t remembering something that actually happened, something he actually said; she was remembering something he’d said to her last night in a dream. Did she apologize? Nope. She doubled down. Said the dream spoke to a deeper truth about their relationship even if it wasn’t factually true.

*

I met her at a party in my late teens. Let’s call her Sheila. We hit it off spectacularly and talked till dawn. Even scaled Mount Royal to watch the sunrise. Yeah, it was that romantic, that perfect. But then she had to go. Had to catch her ride back to Sherbrooke. After making out like the end of the world was nigh, we exchanged phone numbers and made future plans. I was gonna take the bus down to Sherbrooke the following weekend. We swore off profane communication methods such as the telephone. Such was the sacredness of our connection, and our ardent desire to preserve its sanctity: “Just call me when you get there, John. Call me from the station.”

And that’s just what I did a week later. One of her five roommates answered. When she told Sheila who it was I distinctly remember hearing a muffled “Oh, fuck!” But she came to the station regardless. After a decidedly cool reception, she took me back to her apartment. I recall that it resembled a doctor’s office: a large living room with six bedrooms, a bathroom, and a kitchen spoking off its perimeter.

Clearly she wasn’t psyched to see me but I couldn’t figure out why. Whatever. I can take a hint. I called the bus station to see when the next bus back to Montreal was leaving. Fuck! Not till tomorrow morning. I’m stuck here. Fuck! After a moment of self-loathing, I decided to make the best of it. I befriended her roommates and went out for beers and burgers at the local pub. We were eventually joined by Sheila and half the city. It really was a great place: live music, great beer, fantastic food, the works.

At some point, I saw Sheila making out with some Greek god of a man on the dance floor. They were inseparable for the rest of the night. After the bar closed, I returned to the apartment with her roommates, my new best friends, and they set me up on a couch in the living room. I crashed immediately. But I didn’t stay asleep long. Because Sheila and the Greek god came home and had loud sex, over and over again, all night long; and, as luck would have it, my couch was right up against her bedroom wall. It was a long night.

—John Faithful Hamer, The Myth of the Fuckbuddy (2017)