"Harvey, shut up," my best friend whispered to me, urgency in his voice. "Shut up, Harvey!"
He was becoming more and more agitated. Of course, David was always a bit high strung. Always with a bit of a short fuse. And he was nervous, stressed about his role.
He had already become worked up earlier in the day. "Harvey, get out of the car."
He tried imploration. "Harvey, please get out of the car."
He tried reason. "Harvey, we're here, you have to get out of the car."
He tried command. "Harvey, you have to get out of the car. Get out right now! Harvey, get out!"
And even earlier the day began with him somewhat frantic. "Harvey, put your pants on. Harvey, you have to put your pants on and you have to go. Harvey, please put your pants on."
Partly it was what Berta would later call playing Harvey and David. Partly it was my anxious excitement. Partly I was fooling around. And a part was simply because sometimes I can be a couple of points west of true north on the compass of normal behavior.
That morning I lay on the small apartment's living room floor, on my back, wearing just tighty whities and kicking my feet wildly in the air.
"I'm not going!"
"Harvey, you have to go. Put your pants on and get dressed. Harvey. Please, Harvey."
From the bedroom Carl growled, "Aw, shit! I forgot my pants."
Carl, a good-sized lad, stomped out of the bedroom. "I gotta go back to my apartment and get my pants. I'll meet you there."
Now it was just the two of us and my friend's pleas became even more beseeching. "Harvey, we have to go. You have to get dressed. Now. Please!"
A while later, properly dressed, we parked in front of our destination.
It took a bit of time but I eventually got out of the car.
Later, but not that much later, I turn to the person standing beside me to my left.
"C'mon, let's get out of here," I whisper.
My friend, to my right, is telling me to shut up.
I continue, "Really. Let's just go. We can go. C'mon."
He is still telling me, sounding more and more desperate, to shut up.
Finally, I quiet down and following the instructions of the officiant who has heard all this but ignored it, I repeat, "I, Harvey, take you, Gretchen ..."
My friend hands me the ring.
The ceremony concludes. I walk back down the aisle, under the tent in her back yard, with my bride.
I turn to my friend, "You know, that wasn't so bad."
Fifty years later, I smile at Gretchen, "You know, it hasn't been so bad."
First appeared in Avalon Literary Review