After a six-bridesmaid wedding ceremony, I slipped into the bathroom while the wedding party assembled for the receiving line. Washing my hands, I heard the unmistakable flush. I looked in the mirror and saw the mother-of-the-bride.
“The ceremony was just beautiful,” I said.
She smiled, freshened her lipstick, and sneezed into her hand. She then curled her fingers around the door handle where they slipped, rubbed and massaged the slender, metal handle before she proceeded into the hall.
Blood surged through my veins with the force of a pressure washer. I couldn’t ignore the situation, but what could I do? Run after her and say, “Hey! You forgot to wash your hands,” making sure everyone heard? I dried my hands and used the paper towel to open the door.
A line of well-wishers serpentine around the foyer and back into the sanctuary. The mother-of-the-bride took her place in the receiving line. From the oldest to the youngest, the mother—of-the-bride was about to give each guest a little wedding memento that they might keep for days, weeks, even months. I could almost see hoards of germs on her hands pushing and shoving, preparing for the send-off. My armpits grew moist with anxiety.
She extended her hand to an elderly woman wheeling an oxygen tank. I leapt in front nearly toppling the tottering woman.
The mother-of-the-bride’s eyes flared and her scarlet mouth fell open. I gave her my broadest smile, showing too many teeth. I squeezed her limp palm in between both of mine and gushed, “It’s so nice to meet you.”
While I blabbered on I rubbed and massaged her hand, praying the entire time that God would transfer all the germs from her hand to mine. When I let go, my fingers slid down the shaft of hers, dislodging any last stubborn germ clinging there. Then I dashed to the bathroom and soaped up to my elbows. I was on my third soap and rinse cycle when the mother-of-the-bride reentered.
“I have to tinkle again!” she said brightly. “It must be nerves.”
Water sloshed over my hands. The pulse points in my neck jumped like horny crickets. What could I do?
She emerged from the stall, stopped by the mirror, freshened her lipstick and turned to leave.
“Could I borrow your lipstick?” I asked.
Her eyes snapped at me, but she reached into her purse.
I grabbed her entire purse and sprinted to the reception area. I last saw the woman careen around the wedding cake as it took an unappetizing spill to the floor. That was right before she tripped on the ruffled table skirt around the punch bowl and landed, hands first in the peach-surprise champagne punch. The wedding guests were safe from whatever lurked on her hands.
I understand the wedding couple have barred me from the christening of any future children. I’ll just have to sneak in. I could hide under the punch bowl table.