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Three on the Bank
by Kelly Ann Jacobson
When Sam was a young boy, he used to play in his grandparents’ pool for hours. Because he was an only child, he had little to do but act out situations, and pretending to drown was his favorite. He would sink to the bottom of the large concrete rectangle, cross his legs Indian style, and push his arms upward to keep himself steady on the ground. As his breath began to run out he would look up at the white pinprick of sun in the distance, the rays making their way through the chlorinated liquid like refracted rainbows on oil patches, and wait until the very last second, when his whole body screamed for air and the panic forced him up up up towards the sky. Reborn, gasping for air, he floated like a baby on the surface of the lapping waves and let the sun warm his chilled skin.
The wedding party is the last to head to the reception, since the photographer insists on taking pictures on every level of the Italian gardens where Sam and Greta said their vows. She snaps shots every two seconds as Sam gives his new wife a hand up the tall bus stairs, though Greta’s face shows only her frustration at heaving her immense chiffon train everywhere, and Sam’s face is already sore from his forced smiles. They are happy of course, but like all brides and grooms, they will be happier still when the stress of this day is over and they can relax with a bottle of champagne in their hotel suite and remind themselves why they went through a year of torturous planning in the first place.
The bus, at least a decade old, contains two stripper poles, one on their end; neon waves of pink and green lights over the windows; glass goblets hung on metal hooks over the bar; blue velvet seats with 80’s style box prints polka-dotted over them; and smells of pine air freshener and age. The bus has made several trips back and forth between the reception hall / parking lot and the Italian gardens where Sam and Greta married, and after five trips, all of their guests have been safely ferried to the wine and cheese plates. The wedding party is the driver’s last run before he can go home, already over an hour late, and Sam wonders whether seeing this side of a wedding every day makes the man love weddings or hate them.