Jun 30, 2023, 06:29AM

The Wedding Party

Paul and Meredith reunite and ask for directions at El Teddy’s in Tribeca.

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The wandering eye of the blizzard has stopped above our wretched city… its pained gaze a cruel reminder of our sin… of every plague we have wrought and will reap in time… REPENT!... there is no time other than the Judgment… You will not be saved… NO ONE WILL BE SAVED!... MILLIONS…NOW LIVING… WILL…

Meredith turned the corner and the sound of the ranting street preacher was drowned out by the subway beneath her feet. She turned onto Broadway and saw the Statue of Liberty’s… head. Or crown. Covered in snow, the green beauty from Paris was recreated on top of a Mexican restaurant called… El Teddy’s.

She walked up when she saw the lights on; unlike every other business downtown, El Teddy’s was open, and busy at that. As she approached the door, it swung open and Paul stepped out. They looked at each other, saying nothing—and then Meredith ran and embraced him. They practically fell inside the restaurant. Composing themselves, Paul and Meredith both went up to the hostess and asked, at the same time, “WHERE’S THE ACADEMY CONVENTION CENTER?” The hostess looked at them like freaks, and then something changed: “You’re here for the wedding party? Right upstairs.” Before either of them could protest, Paul and Meredith were led upstairs to the top of El Teddy’s, where a big party was underway.

“Enjoy!” The hostess turned right around and left them there, standing at the threshold of a private party where they knew no one. Paul went over to the bar, but Meredith grabbed him before he could order anything. “Let’s go ask them where we are.” Paul turned to her. “Tribeca, I think.” She rolled her eyes. “I know, I’m trying to get us out of here and uptown.” They started making their way through a dense group of people, all happy and drunk, shoveling chips and guacamole in their mouths all crowded around something. Paul and Meredith kept pushing forward, asking everyone along the way, and receiving zero responses. “How do you get to the Academy?” “Where’s the Convention Center?” All of a sudden, they fell to their knees, ejected from the crush and into the eye of the storm.

Paul and Meredith looked up and saw a bride and groom: the man in a dark green suit, the woman in a white dress and visibly pregnant. As the room quieted down and the not-so-happy couple looked down at them, the teenagers composed themselves, got up, and asked them, “Do you know how to get uptown?” The bride looked at Meredith like she was bonked on the head. “…Have you heard of the subway?” The groom asked them where they were going. “Just take a cab, they’ll know. Are you visiting? How did you get in here?” Paul spoke first. “No, I live in New Jersey, actually we both live in New Jersey—” The bride cut him off. “No, he meant, how did you get into our wedding party?” And with that, Paul and Meredith turned and ran out the door, looking for a cab on a deserted, snowy Broadway, one night in New York City, January 1996.

—Follow Rooster Quibbits on Twitter: @RoosterQuibbits


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