I was air drumming to INXS ‘Devil Inside’ very loudly and getting worried that my trousers would not make it through the day.
The September sun was pouring in the window and I was really excited as I had just been invited to join this thing called “Gmail” – Oh and I was going to marry the girl I’d met in Krakow in February and then asked her to marry me when we were in Rome in April and here we were in Buenos Aires about to leave her mother’s apartment and get married.
This was not how people like me got married and I was more than delighted things were unfolding like this.
I’d always assumed I’d date someone for a few years and then we’d get married, have 2.4 children and then buy a semi-detached house and visit B&Q at weekends.
I assumed this. In no way did I crave / aspire / dream of this – the children and the partner were welcome.
The slowly slipping into unconsciousness as I walked around shopping malls and then dying in front of my TV watching East Enders reruns never grabbed me, probably does not grab you either.
I always resonated with the Christian Slater characters in Heathers and Pump Up The Volume, in fact any high school misfit – I certainly was not cool and never got the girl. What I did get early on was a resistance to the system (or challenging the status quo as I now know it) I don’t mean blowing things up, being deliberately nasty or futile type resistance. I mean questioning what is going on and why we are doing things this way.
I always knew there was life beyond BBC TV and the end of my road, how to find it took way longer and more guts than I thought. In fact it took throwing several types of despair into a cocktail shaker with a big shot of vodka to motivate me (or was it to scare me?)
Whether it was fear or bold motivation I don’t mind. This was my feeling as I walked through the crowd of 100 people who I had never met in my life. On the other side of the crowd was the room where I was about to marry the gorgeous girl whom I had met six months ago. Yet I could not remember when I did not know her.
Everything felt at home, even though the only person from my London life was my Dad, everyone else from my London life was waiting until our ‘UK wedding’ – so I was delighted to have escaped the never ending trips to shopping malls and talking everyday about “the wedding”. Yes when it comes to weddings I am a miserable bastard, why do people insist on spending over a years salary on one day, on people they don’t like and then spend another year complaining about the whole thing.
I was still worried about my trousers.
When we went “wedding suit shopping” in Buenos Aires my body mass index was a smaller arrangement of numbers than it was on the day I needed to wear the suit.
After eating Argentine steak for lunch and dinner 14 DAYS in a row since the “suit buying episode” things had changed in my body shape and size. I decided to just drink water and smoke a lot in an effort to loose weight as the day went on. This was easy, I was really fucking nervous, it was baking hot and Marlboro cigarettes were dirt cheap compared to London so with this strategy I could not go wrong.
As we took our wedding vows in the registry office my mind drifted back to the exit from the house to get here.
We ran out of the apartment and jumped into my brother in laws car – painted on the wall beside us in huge black letters were the words “Piratas del Destino” (Pirates of Destiny) – he drove us at 100 miles an hour onto Avenue Cabildo skidding out into the traffic like TJ Hooker in a car chase.
As we arrived at the registry office and stepped out the car people started to greet us, as we entered the building I was faced with around 100 people of which I knew hardly any. It was like being Robbie Williams, everyone rushed towards us to hug and kiss us. For many this was the first time they had seem “soon to be #Supercoolwife” for the first time in three years and now she was walking around with some English guy she was going to marry.
I heard some mumbling in Spanish as I day dreamed.
Then in a loud voice some English came through “BERNARD JOHN MITCHELL”
“Si” I replied and everyone laughed.
We were in the middle of declaring our love for each other and I was dreaming about car chases and being Robbie Williams.
I looked around the room and felt completely at home, I’d never imagined this would be my wedding day. I could not say “this is what I always dreamed of” but I could say this was what I always wanted.
And they’re off
I said my bit, we kissed and were married.
We were now falling towards Argentina, at the time neither of us knew it would take more than ten years. We could not see the path ahead full of weddings, funerals, trips, despair, euphoria, confusion, adventure, connection, amazing food and of course #Babybernie.
I’d love to be able to go up to me on that day and say, ‘Bernie, it will get a bit sticky, maybe for longer than you think fair. But, get used to this gigantic city, mate and empanadas this will be your home one day soon. You’ll keep falling in love with it over and over again and you might not ever know why.”
“Oh, and you should really stop going back of another serving of asado”