The wedding is much like one I had once imagined. Simple, elegant, a small crowd in a Catholic church. A quiet, self-possessed groom; family and friends here from Germany. A lovely and delicate bride; family and friends here from Korea.
The groom's grandmother approaches me at the reception. "I don't believe a word of it," she announces. "Ridiculous."
"Weddings?" I ask her. "You've given up on marriage?"
"No, no ~ weddings are fine. The religious stuff. It's absurd."
"Oh. I thought you were Catholic, too."
"Not me. None of that stuff for me. I can't believe that otherwise intelligent people buy into it." She squints up at me. "But I suppose you believe it, don't you?"
"Yes," I say.
"Does it help you; does it give you any comfort?"
"No," I say.
The real answer is actually much more complex. But this is a wedding reception.
"I don't know how you stand it," she says. "I suppose you have to."
I look at her and wonder if I am supposed to have some kind of answer. Some kind of satisfactory explanation of the universe. She has two daughters, six grandchildren, two great-grandchildren. All well and happy. For the last two weeks, I have been watching her twin great-grandchildren, little towheads here from Germany for the month, playing in the back yard next door, where the groom and his sisters, one of them now the mother of the towheads, grew up. They look exactly like the little people who used to play in my yard. I don't think that I have any explanation of the universe, satisfactory or otherwise.
"I don't like the mushrooms and I don't like beef, so there's really nothing for me until dinner is served," she says. "I guess I'll get another drink."