Thursday, June 22, 2023

Daryl/Zee: What a Wedding!

Not mine, although I was wondering if maybe J.T. would do something romantic and get down on one knee at some point.  Not in a way that would upstage Elaine and new-Daryl, but maybe back at the hotel, so that I could show a ring off at the Inn-people-only breakfast the next morning.  You would think he'd be ready, given that we've been dating each other in multiple shapes since before the pandemic, so it's pretty clear we're compatible and can weather a lot.  But, then again, I suppose there's nothing that would stop me from proposing, considering I was the guy in this relationship when it started.  Not sure how that would work, though - do I go out, buy a ring, and then kneel to pop the question, holding out the little box so he can take it out and put it on my finger?  Maybe there's stuff about girls proposing on YouTube or something.

But, hey, this past weekend was not about me - it was Elaine and "Dareleanor", who has done pretty well with my life even without landing Elaine.  They coincidentally wound up taking contracts with the same company, Elaine asked him if he recognized her, and she explained how the original Daryl (me) lived her life for a while and they both started gushing, excited to have someone to talk to.  That Eleanor didn't even blink about staying in her new life once she realized that nobody wanted it back even though she'd been a white woman says something about just how completely they clicked, and they apparently didn't feel the need to wait once they figured that out.

I came out to Chicago a few days before J.T., in part because Dareleanor wanted some help with the more far-flung relatives that he hadn't met but whom my mother said had to be invited.  Someday I'll talk about how it wasn't just falling for J.T. that convinced me to leave my life behind - there are a lot of complicated feelings there, so Dareleanor and I decided not to try and do a "major life event lets you tell the truth" thing with them while things were going well - but he just needed a whole lot of information supplied on short notice, which I was able to help with.

He looked good in his tux, and Elaine looked amazing in her dress.  She found some time to hang out with me, although it was kind of weird:  I've been both of them, but only barely met either.  I'm important to them, because without me they would never have met, but I'm kind of like a storm that shut down the airport while they were in the bar waiting for different flights or something like that, an outside force-of-nature that you're glad happened but don't necessarily think well of.

It was also kind of fun to have some other Inn folks around as part of the wedding.  J.T. looked damn good in his tux, and he's famous enough that there were some murmurs running through the reception:  How do Elaine and Daryl know him?  Oh, they don't, he's with Zee.  Well, who is this Zee - I've never met her!  Although, they thought, maybe I did at some point, because she seems to know all our names!  I met most of them in my original life, when I was dating J.T./Elaine, and then in the brief time I was Elaine (I went to Marisa's wedding!), but none of them knew Zee.  They probably just assumed I had a better memory than average for casual acquaintances, which is actually true and helpful when you're parachuting into other people's lives.

Aside from that, Cary came with Krystle/Mackenzie (who gave me a look when I called her "Mackrystle" that suggests I not call her that to her face again), and the hug Elaine gave him must have made the actual father of the bride jealous.  She also gushed over how much Krystle had grown in the past few years and winked at what a pretty young woman she'd become, laughing when the apparent red-headed teen said it was a relief that she could pull off the dress she was wearing.  Some of my younger cousins danced with her and it was kind of funny because Krystle hasn't forgotten her first life and they were not expecting a 16-year-old white girl with freckles from Maine to have the moves she does.  There must be some fun videos where she is just this crazy white-and-red spot in the middle of all the Black teenagers.

I mentioned that to her when we all got together for a Sunday Inn Veterans brunch, and she laughed, saying she hoped nobody was watching that and asking whether she'd ever been on a pole.  Surprisingly, that was kind of the highlight of the thing, because we didn't actually have that much to talk about.  It wasn't a waste of time, because even if you've been in a life long enough to make it yours and not think about going back or worry about screwing something up, it's kind of a relief to know you won't have to come up with a weird explanation or remember a previous lie in a conversation.

J.T. and I stayed in Chicago for another couple days after the wedding, revisiting places we knew from our own time here, whether as Daryl or Elaine. which was fun if kind of surreal.  One restaurant was just as good as I remembered it, but that the owner who always knew everybody's name had never met me was sad.

Then, in a crazy coincidence, Harmon/Alisha was our flight attendant on the way back to New York!  It's not entirely surprising - (s)he's relocated there, back to crashing with the new Magda, who is apparently more willing to act the mother while asking little of her "daughter", and this is apparently a better place to be part of influencer/YouTube/Instagram culture than Oakland (on top of there not being much chance to transfer to L.A.) - but definitely a bit surreal to know that the woman with the short skirt and tight top who was assigned to making sure the folks in first class were satisfied used to be a top economist.


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