About Chicken Wings and Weddings / by Ben Weston

Like most straight guys in their 20’s, I frequently think about my wedding day.

...ok, maybe not like most dudes in their 20's.

Lemme explain.

A few years ago, I was finishing off a pint of Ben & Jerry’s in my room, sitting with heartbreak and feeling lost.

So, I imagined my wedding day.

I’m outside, standing at the alter, near a sea-side cliff.

I’m wearing a tailored midnight-blue suit with just a dash of spandex sewn in feeling fine as hell (homeboy has to get his funk on later).

In front of me are my chosen family and family of blood. Behind me are my brothers, the men I know that have my back.

And standing before these people is the most magnificent version of myself I can imagine. He’s proud of the life he’s created, how he serves the world, and the man he is in front of the people he loves most.

Sweet baby Jesus, what a beautiful man he is.

I just don’t know how I can begin to resemble him.

———

You know that section in Spotify where it lists “Fans Also Like” and it shows similar artists to the one you’re listening to right now?

I just saw a song from a band that I haven’t listened to in ten years. They have a rock ballad that I played on repeat for a week straight during my first breakup.

For one week, all I did was sit under the desk in my room, bawling, drinking Honey Brown beer that my homie bought me (Kevin, you’re a goddamn sweetheart).

Playing the song now, however, just makes me smile.

I sometimes talk to that me from 10 years ago and reassure him:

“Homie, I love you. I know you’re lonely, lost, and convinced that it’ll be years before you find your way or have sex again, but check this out:

You’re gonna become a circus artist, get paid to be a ninja, fall in love and be loved, travel the world dancing until sun rise, make beautiful dance films, and even get to [ REDACTED ] in a former church in Harlem. Oh and there’ll be a mountain of chicken wings at the church too. I know, I couldn’t believe it either.

I promise you this - shit’s gonna get better than you can possibly imagine.”

———

After the ceremony at my wedding, I imagine sitting near the edge of a cliff with that version of me. It’s just the two of us while the dancing and eating is just out of earshot.

We’re staring off at the ocean, sipping on some caipirinhas, feeling fancy AF.

I ask him what I’m supposed to do. Getting to him seems too far and unrecognizable from who and where I am now.

He tells me:

“Remember for your 21st birthday, when you were kidnapped, tied up, wrapped in a blanket and thrown into the back of car by your friends?”

“Yeah! Everyone was speaking in pirate voices and there was a dog blanket stuffed into my face.”

“Yup, Dino’s blanket. How did not knowing what was going on feel then?”

“I fuckin loved it. I was so excited to find out where the wild ride was going.”

He smiles at me.

“Same thing here, homie. Relax and enjoy yourself. Shit’s gonna be more glorious than you can possibly fathom.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I can hear Bruno Mars playing and this fine ass suit ain’t gonna dance itself.

I’ll be seeing you soon ;)"