We married on the 28th March, in the Registry Office in Kildare Street. His parents were so annoyed that we weren’t having a church wedding, they didn’t come to it. Godless heathens. Us, not them.
We had no money, as befits true socialists. I wasn’t having any of that bourgeois long white meringue cake wedding dress, so that was okay. I bought a blue day dress and a beige jacket, which I wore for years.
Vivienne worked in the Civil Service and fell in love with Irish. Courses in the Donegal Gaeltacht with her colleagues. Mighty craic and all that. She changed her surname by Deed Poll to its Irish version.
Then there was the Christianity. She managed to get me, a dedicated atheist, to The Milltown Institute several times. Lovely people, all very touchy-feely. No harm in it.
My Mam and Dad overcame their scruples about the Registry Office and did the decent thing. Dad offered to pay for a lunch for everyone, so I booked a hotel in town. There were only thirty of us, so it didn’t break the bank. Bit of a squash in Kildare Street, though.
Vivienne put me to shame on the day, though not intentionally. We were chalk and cheese as sisters but had learned to appreciate each other. She was my witness and was absolutely gorgeous on the day. She had made a red suit, trimmed with black velvet, and a tiny hat to match. With her black hair and dark eyes, she looked fabulous.
Six months later, she was dead.
Himself and I had moved into a flat a month before the wedding. That caused far more ructions in my family than the non-church. My father asked me, ‘I suppose you’re going to sleep together there?’ I’m sure my mother put him up to it – that was her thing. Once, when she discovered that Vivienne had ‘slept’ with a boyfriend on the couch in the house, she insisted my father burn it in the back garden. The couch, not the boyfriend.
Instead of answering, ‘Will you ever feck off and mind your own business’, I did what I always did and told the truth. Well, nearly always. Yes, of course, we’ll sleep together. He didn’t say anything. But he paid for the wedding lunch anyway.
My guests were my parents, my two sisters and two friends. His were his three sisters, a cousin and four friends. They used to be a band and he was their groupie. Good old days. I thought he was creative, part of his attraction. He knew all about music, rock, pop. I’d been reared on Strauss, Tchaikovsky and every middle of the road singer you can think of.
Being the eldest, I was disciplined and organised. I booked the Registry Office for Saturday, 29th March and a nearby hotel (nameless). The Monday of the week we were to be wed, I double-checked. The Registry Office hadn’t booked us in and were full on the 29th. I got the Friday instead. The hotel hadn’t any trace of my reservation either so I hared around to the Clarence and that’s where we had our lunch. The U2 hotel, though not yet.
Talk about a message from the universe. It was yelling, ‘Don’t marry this man!’ Did I listen? I was too busy clapping myself on the back for reorganising the thing in less than a week. I must apologise to it sometime.
My dad took photos. I made a speech. We met our friends in the International Bar for drinks that evening.
Six months later, she was dead.
The marriage endured seventeen years. I grew two boys in my belly and presented them to the world.
She went off on her adventure to Greece and that was the last we saw of her. My first son was six months old when we learned she was dead. He kept us sane that Christmas. My second son was six weeks old when her body came back to be buried here.
Twenty-five years after the wedding, and her murder, I organised a Commemoration for her. I went to Greece to see where she had ended. I met the woman who found her, the policeman who handled her case and I laid flowers on the riverbank where the bastard had buried her. The killer, not the cop.
That last six months of her life, she took a career break and worked with Eddie Kidd, the stunt motorcyclist. They toured England. She worked as a cook and lived in a caravan. According to my Dad, she persuaded Kidd to teach her how to jump a motorbike over a car. For her sake, I hope it’s true. She’d have loved that. I only learned to ride a motorbike three years ago. No jumping over anything. She’d have slagged the life out of me.
Maybe we’d have ridden in the mountains together.
The wedding was on the 28th March. Six months later, she was dead.
(c) Audrey Mac Cready