The minister said, “You may now kiss the bride.” And so he did. As soon as his lips touched hers, she fell asleep. Right arm thrown up and a long white swoop to the floor. At first, they thought she’d fainted. The stress of it all, the anticipation and excitement. Or perhaps a too-tight dress. But when, an hour later, she didn’t come round, the groomsmen carried her home. The bridesmaids undressed her and put her in bed. The doctor told them all to watch her eyes. When they moved, that meant she was dreaming. And her eyes did move. The bridesmaids imagined she dreamed of opening her presents. The groomsmen imagined she dreamed of sex. Her mother imagined she dreamed of a career in dentistry, a private practice, and a large white house. His father imagined she dreamed of babies in drooping diapers crawling about the hardwood floors of a similar house. Her father imagined she dreamed of dancing. His mother also imagined she dreamed of dancing. Her father and his mother never knew they imagined the same thing, however, because they’d taken a private aversion to one another and spoke as little as possible. The groom, meanwhile, imagined the bride dreamed of him. Whatever she dreamed, no one knows, because, to this day, twenty years, eight months, nine days, and a handful of hours later, she still hasn’t woken to tell anyone.
Of course, it could have been him who slept.
The minister said, “You may now kiss the bride.” And so they kissed. As soon as her lips touched his, he fell asleep. Left arm thrown out to the side and a quick black drop to the floor. At first, they thought he’d passed out. Too much to drink. Too much tying one on before tying the knot. But when, an hour later, he didn’t come round, the groomsmen carried him home. The bride undressed him and put him in bed. The doctor told them all to watch his eyes. When they moved, when they rolled from side to side, that meant he was dreaming. And his eyes did move. The groomsmen imagined he dreamed of opening his presents. The bridesmaids imagined he dreamed of sex. His mother imagined he dreamed of an old girlfriend, his first, the quiet one from high school, and the one she’d liked the best, if you want to know the truth. Her father imagined he dreamed of a mailbox stuffed full with overdue bills. Her mother imagined he dreamed of forever. His father imagined he dreamed of just five minutes. Her mother and his father had developed a secret attraction to each other and believed they imagined the same thing. They took great care not to stand too close. The bride, of course, imagined the groom dreamed of her. Whatever he dreamed, no one knows, because, to this day, twenty years, eight months, nine days, and a handful of hours later, he still hasn’t woken to tell anyone.
Or it might have been the two of them together.
The minister said, “You may now kiss the bride.” And so they kissed. As soon as their lips touched, they fell asleep and fell to the floor. At first, everyone thought, “How strange.” Then everyone thought, “Maybe they planned it, as a joke.” But when they didn’t come round, they didn’t come round. The groomsmen carried them home. Their mothers undressed them and put them in bed. The doctor told everyone to watch their eyes. When they moved, when they rolled from side to side and up and down, that meant they were dreaming. And their eyes did move, they rolled around and around. His mother imagined they dreamed of swaying back and forth together on a creaky wooden swing. Her father imagined they dreamed of leaping naked off a cliff. Her mother imagined they dreamed they were wrapped up too tightly in a worn red blanket. His father imagined they dreamed they couldn’t get their clasped hands apart. All the while the bridesmaids were wetting their lips and winking at the groomsmen. All the while the groomsmen were cocking their eyebrows and crooking their heads toward the door. Whatever the bride and groom were dreaming, no one knows. No one knows, because they will never awake to tell.