So when during the Mexico World Cup shoot in Puerto Vallarta, Jan (Heemskerk) and Michaela (Probst) are stood up by Alfonso, because he was busy with our Pat (Tomlinson), none of us actually gives it a second thought and we immediately write it off as a vacation fling south of the border. This was the first week of March. We all return home towards the end of the week. Pat and some others may have stayed over the weekend before coming back. But little did we know, from there on, things must have progressed at the speed of a bullet train.

Barely three weeks later, Pat stops me in the corridor and hesitantly but happily tells me that she was getting married that weekend, on the Easter Saturday on the 29th. The groom to be? Alfonso! I don’t know whether it’s the shock that I feel, but it certainly jolts me a bit. It makes me feel quite uneasy. Alfonso was brought in by our Mexican publisher to help us with logistics of our photo production but was not a part of the regular staff. I didn’t know much about him, if anything. Handsome, tall, dark hair, tanned skin and a fast talker. I didn’t really think much of him, also because as charming and affirmative as he was with his always positive si como no! attitude, things that he would promise or said he would take care of, he didn’t or didn’t quite.

The speed and urgency with which it’s planned feels like a shot gun wedding. It’s not going to be in a church or anything. It is to take place at her sister’s home in the north western suburb of Barrington. I am not sure whether it would be her sister or someone else would perform the ceremony. And then there would be small toast to the newly weds followed by dinner at home.

Even though Pat has worked with me on several projects over a period of years, we are not exactly close enough for her to invite me to her wedding. ‘I know what you might be thinking. But it all happened so fast. I never thought I could fall in love at first sight, you know! We’re both very happy.’ She pauses and continues, ‘It’s just my immediate family. I would love it if you and Carolyn could come. To have someone who was there when I met Alfonso.  It would mean a lot to me for you to be a part of it.’

When Carolyn and I arrive at her sister’s home the night of the wedding, there is a distinct cloud of doom covering everyone’s face. I say perfunctory hola to Alfonso, who looks petrified and distressed. The place itself looks helter-skelter as if a bunch of rambunctious kids having turned it upside down hunting for the hidden Easter eggs. Everyone frantically looking for the missing wedding band Alfonso has brought along to slip on his bride’s ring finger during the ceremony. He swears to have carefully tucked it away into a small pocket of his carry on duffle bag. Could it have fallen down and rolled away somewhere in the house as he unpacked? It was also likely that it fell off when the customs officer opened it to inspect its contents? The room is filled with the cacophony of multiple possibilities on the fate of the dainty little wheel of the precious jewelry meant to bind them for life for the better and the worst. Pat is besides herself and is on the verge of breaking down with a cry. Before things get any gloomier, someone suggests that we should just go ahead with the wedding ceremony anyways, the ring’s got to be somewhere around, and must show up sooner or later. Rest of the evening is blurred in my memory.

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