Ginny's Big Night
Ginny didn’t care much for Uncle Robby and had purposely not invited him to the wedding. This was largely due to the fact that his breath always smelled like onions and coffee, and he had once “accidentally” brushed his hand against her breast when she was fourteen—not to mention the bathrobe incident. Ginny stopped having sleepovers with her cousin Ruthie after that. Still, Robby was her uncle and she could not refuse her mother when she insisted that Ginny extend him an invitation.
She sat Uncle Robby at the “singles’ table.” He got drunk on Jack and Cokes and ate two plates of prime rib, all the while sitting uncomfortably close to Ginny’s childhood friend, Jeanine Russo. Ginny knew she shouldn’t let Uncle Robby distract her from this special day but she felt her face grow flush with anger as she watched him shadow her girlfriends onto the dance floor, injecting himself into every Hustle, his unwelcome hands wrapping around their waists as he awkwardly swung his hips in their direction, straining to make contact with anything that was warm and soft. Uncle Robby was not the least bit deterred by their forced smiles and polite redirection of his hands. Of course, Ginny’s husband, Chris, was oblivious to Robby’s behavior, which annoyed her but it was also one of the reasons she loved him so much. He was a gentle soul and tended to look for the good in everyone. Ginny often teased him that he “could find a rainbow in a stream of piss.” He just sat quietly beside her at the bridal table, occasionally stroking her hand as he sipped his O’Doul’s with a goofy smile.
The next two hours passed uneventfully, until Uncle Robby began to clang a fork against his wine glass. Having captured the attention of the banquet hall, he rose unsteadily to his feet and stumbled across the room to the bridal table. He positioned himself between Ginny and Chris, and raised a near-empty glass into the air as he placed his other arm around Ginny’s shoulder. He was drenched in sweat, which smelled of whiskey and that stale, familiar odor of cigarettes and onions. Ginny gagged slightly as he offered a toast.
“Doesn’t Ginny look beautiful tonight? Ain’t they beautiful kids?”
Ginny looked to Chris nervously, as the guests responded with polite, measured applause.
“I watched Ginny grow up with my little Ruthie,” Robby slurred. “I think she’s here tonight.”
His voice trailed off into an extended and uncomfortable silence. Ginny spotted Ruthie seated at a table near the door. Embarrassed, Ruthie avoided Ginny’s gaze. Uncle Robby drained his glass of the last sip of Jack and Coke.
“Enjoy each other. Enjoy your youth. You know, you never forget being young,” he said with a smile as his hand fell off Ginny’s shoulder and snaked down to the small of her back.
“When you’re young, everything tastes different…everything smells better.”
Ginny stiffened as she politely inched away from him.
“These days, everything I put in my mouth is salt,” said Uncle Robby, a hint of bitterness in his voice.
Ginny’s mother signaled to the D.J. as she quickly moved to the table and grabbed Robby by the arm. K.C. and the Sunshine Band filled the room as Ginny’s mother escorted Robby to the bar. Chris shrugged his shoulders at Ginny.
“I guess your uncle had too much to drink,” he offered with a dopey smile, completely unaware of what had transpired.
Furious, Ginny excused herself and walked quickly to the restroom. It was there that she found Ruthie crying. It was then that she learned that Uncle Robby used to open his robe and make Ruthie sit on his lap while he watched the Honeymooners and laughed at the television set.
Later, Ginny emptied a small bottle of Visine into Uncle Robby’s ninth glass of Jack and Coke. He became violently ill and shit his pants. He vomited several times before he was taken to the emergency room. For years, Ginny’s mom would be heard to complain that Uncle Robby had spoiled the wedding but Ginny looks back fondly on the memory of her uncle being carried from the reception hall on a stretcher, diarrhea running down his pant leg. Chris was the only one who noticed that Ginny was giggling as the ambulance drove away.
Back in their hotel room, Ginny finally told Chris all about Uncle Robby and confessed to poisoning him at the reception. While Chris was stunned, he had to concede that he felt a little turned on by what Ginny had done. In his mind, their marriage had been ordained with an egregious sin against God and man, and it was a secret they would forever share. For her part, poisoning Uncle Robby made Ginny feel like a badass. It made her feel sexy. She would never tell Chris but she always believed that the sex they had on their wedding night was the best she ever had.
© gibson grand