You don’t get any info about who’s getting married. You get a phone call with the address of the events hall and a one hour window to confirm you’ll take the shift. It’s not until you’re there in the thick of the reception, a tray of canapés held high above your head, that you start recognizing ex-mutual friends’ faces.
“Holy shit, Christine,” one of his work friends says to you.
“This is pretty messed up,” says Clara, who you got really close with but who ceased talking to you when the divorce went through since she’s married to his high school best friend.
“You guys, who’s getting married?” you ask.
A cheer erupts through the room as the double doors to the dance floor open. You see only the top of his haircut through the crowd and you know today is the wrong day to have been available to fill in for Melanie, who has the flu.
“And now the bride and groom invite you to witness their first dance as man and wife,” says the DJ before he spins “At Last.” (Your song was a Sugarcubes song, at your demand.)
The crowd parts and you find yourself standing in the center of the dance floor, holding your tray of tiny food.
He sees you.
She sees you.
They all see you.
“Congrats?” you say to him.
They don’t move. Their first song keeps spinning. You do the only thing you can think to do.
It’s an elegant, solo routine. You glide and sway across the floor, occasionally miming someone in your arms, someone whom, over and over again, breaks free of your embrace, leaving you to wave goodbye to the apparition.
The song ends. Your ex and his bride are stunned. A slow clap begins. Your ex’s father. He always liked you. Others clap along, growing louder, faster.
They believe it was planned. A gift to the bride and groom. Before they can dance, his ex must dance him free of her, a farewell spin across the floor. Tonight’s the night the “Ex Dance” is introduced to wedding planners as a new tradition in matrimony. You leave the venue, get in your Corolla, and make a plan to go back to being an office temp in the morning.
Happy Cater Waiter Your Ex-Husband’s Wedding Day!