Dissonant Open Notes || Christopher Edelen

At the wedding of my longest standing friend
I lost my voice.

“Oh, how do you know Beau?”
“He grew up two doors down.” Cough.
Here you get a worried look, like the plague might come back in full force.
“Oh, in Huntington Creek?”
“No in St. Matthews.”
“Oh right. Where do you live now?”
“Los Angeles.”
“And you came all the way here for this?”

A hollow barn
thrust well into
the blank sky propped up
over a Lexington vineyard.
Interior tabula array under
pergola rafters wrapped in lights.
High windows.
High functioning, powerful,
upright people.

And I go into the photo booth with his brother,
And a pink cowboy hat,
And a Guinness,
And I lie and say that I’m still married
for simplicity.

His brother is an Air Force Pilot
whose girlfriend is a pastry chef.
Their father is the best man.

One groomsman remembers me
and I am embarrassed to say
that he has me at an advantage.
I choke out a hoarse apology.

I sit with his college friends,
all from the football team.
They are HR recruiters
and dentists and financial advisors.
They take pains to include me
in conversation,
but they’re all coupled off
and coupled off well.

Hugs, pictures, dances, dinner, cake,
a two-hour drive in my grandmother’s Accord
back to their house. Two doors down from the one where the groom grew up
next to me for
whole summers at a time.

I fill up the gas tank close to home,
and I’m reminded that my grandparents sleep in separate bedrooms.
I borrow a book.
I cough myself to sleep.

This was originally published in Spring 2018 edition of The Helix.