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Chapter no 130

Spare

MY MATE, GUY, was getting married.

I wasn’t exactly in the mood for a wedding. But it was Guy. All-round good bloke. Longtime mate of Willy and me. I loved him. And owed him. He’d been dragged through the muck by the press, more than once, in my name.

The wedding was in America, in the Deep South.

My arrival there set off a torrent of talk about…what else? Vegas.

I thought: After all this time? Really? Is my bare arse that memorable?

So be it, I told myself. Let them bang on about Vegas, I’m going to focus on Guy’s Big Day.

On the way to Guy’s stag party a group of us stopped off in Miami. We ate a fabulous meal, visited a few clubs, danced until well past midnight. Toasted Guy. Next day we all flew to Tennessee. I remember, despite the crowded wedding schedule, finding time to tour Graceland, erstwhile home of Elvis Presley. (Actually, he originally bought it for his mother.)

Everyone kept saying: Well, well, so this is where the King lived.

Who?

The King. Elvis Presley. Oh. The King. Right.

People variously called the house a castle, a mansion, a palace, but it reminded me of the badger sett. Dark, claustrophobic. I walked around saying: The King lived here, you say? Really?

I stood in one tiny room with loud furniture and shag carpet and thought: The King’s interior designer must’ve been on acid.

In honor of Elvis, every member of the bridal party wore blue suede shoes. At the reception there was much kicking up of those shoes, young British men and women dancing drunkenly and singing gleefully without pitch or rhythm. It was riotous, ridiculous, and Guy looked happier than I’d ever seen him.

He’d always been cast as our sidekick, but not now. He and his bride were the stars of this show, the center of attention, and my old mate was rightly savoring it. It made me so happy to see him so happy, though now and then, as couples paired off, as lovers drifted into corners or swayed to songs by Beyoncé and Adele, I’d wander over to the bar and think: When’s it going to be my turn? The one person who might want it most, to be married, to have a family, and it’s never going to happen. More than a little petulantly, I thought: It’s just not fair of the universe.

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