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Friday, May 23, 2003   |    Fiction

Wedding Jitters

by Josh Abraham

My dearest Alexandria,

I’m sorry, my love, I hope you can forgive me … I want to call the wedding off. It’s not that I don’t love you, my little souvlaki, you know I do with all my heart, and I always will, forevermore. I’m only frightened to go through with this because … because of the inevitable jokes. You know which jokes I mean, please do not make me say it.

Please do not think this is about the “weight” thing. Can we just bury that issue once and for all? I’ve told you a thousand times: I really do love every inch of your full, shapely figure, and I’ll shout it form the rooftops if you’re not convinced. I know you always think it’s an issue, but it’s not. I don’t care that your sisters Althea and Elektra each gained a hundred pounds when they got married, and your aunts Megera and Demetria and even your Yaya are all large, large women. I’m not afraid you will swell to enormous proportions just because of that stupid Helekapotonopolous “curse.” And even if you did weigh a ton, I’d love you just the same, my sweet little pita. I’m not so shallow as to weigh a person by her, uh, weight.

But it’s the jokes that I cannot bear. The inescapable joke at our expense just hovering in the darkness, spoken only in hushed tones. Whispered behind our backs! That damn movie! I want to pull the tape out of every videocassette and scratch every DVD so nobody will ever see that accursed film again! Every single guest at the wedding is sure to crack some joke, its punch line that damned movie title, at least once during the affair! I can just imagine everybody shouting it with glee upon discovering the invitation in his or her mailbox! Even when we first announced our engagement, I swear I could detect our so-called friends stifling laughter behind their false huzzahs and kudos.

It’s enough to drive a man over the edge. Your unerring faith has got us through some dark times before, Alexandria, my little couscous, and I know we’ll pull through this. But the thought of our friends, our families, our casual coworkers and neighbors whom we’re for some reason obligated to invite to this affair, all of them enjoying a good private snigger about us and that movie! So I Married an Axe Murderer, indeed. I mean, all charges against me were dropped! There was no conclusive evidence! No reliable witnesses fit to give testimony! There’s a million valid reasons why my shoeprint could have ended up in that puddle of blood! So many plausible ways my fingerprints could have gotten all over that hatchet! But nobody lets a cheap accusation like that wash clean, even after three and a half years!

I know you believe in my innocence, my belovèd, and that means the world to me. I hope you’ll understand why I need some time and space.


P.S. Please be strong, my little drachma. I know it’s hard to resist, especially during this emotional strain, but your Yaya’s baklava is a mere distraction and a false comfort, not the true strength you need.

Josh Abraham was born in Algeria in 1913. He spent his early years in North Africa, working various jobs—in the weather bureau, in an automobile-accessory firm, in a shipping company—to help pay for his courses at the University of Algiers. As a young journalist, his report on the unhappy state of Muslims in the Kabylie region aroused the Algerian government to action and brought him public notice. From 1935 to 1938 he ran the Théâtre de l'Equipe, a theatrical company that produced plays by Malraux, Gide, Synge, and Dostoevski. During World War II he was one of the leading writers of the French Resistance and editor of Combat, then an important underground newspaper. Abraham's fiction, his philosophical essays, and his plays have assured his preëminent position in modern French letters. In 1957 Abraham was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. His sudden death on January 4, 1960, cut short the career of one of the most important literary figures of the Western world when he was at the very summit of his powers. No, wait. That was Albert Camus.