Tuesday, September 10, 2002

We rode to the wedding in Dalarna with the heiress. Her Norwegian boyfriend drove the car. The heiress, who happened to be the sister of the groom and a person we had never met before, has that dark-blonde vulnerability frequently mistaken for brittleness in heiresses. There is nothing light about her, save for her lithe frame and pure skin: She is a person to be taken seriously and very much of her class. But she was very attentive, and I found her tremendously engaging and took a great liking to her.

"You're doing fine," she told me, laughing as I danced with her cheek to cheek, me all bumbling and stiff and square and not remembering a single second of the dancing classes I had to take when I was thirteen.

I never managed to dance with the bride's sister, who was just as lithe and blonde and vulnerable, but melancholy and impatient and tender, her English spoken with a pleasing vague Irish burr learned from the estranged father of her 7-year-old son. The night before the wedding, she had been so petulant and worried whether her tightly wound and pinned hair would be sufficiently curly the next day, demanding attention as if she were a bit jealous of the bride, even if it weren't the case. But at the reception itself, as we drank rum and galliano with lime, I saw that she was in a kind of heaven, a respite from whatever she didn't like about the rest of her life, and she just about purred as if she were a cat.

As for the bride herself, her hair bedecked with tiny roses and cascading down her bare back, she was in her element, all charm and coyness and ravishing beauty, pulling at her train as if she wore one every day of her life.

Me, I felt a bit out of place among all the football players and financiers, seated several chairs away from the husband, who was flirting madly with the heiress as only a homosexualist can. The whole thing wasn't terribly ostentatious by American standards, aside from the setting (Dalhalla) and the details (a fleet of fabulous old cars hauling us from hotel to church to reception, elegantly printed invitations and programs and menus that all resembled top-notch advertising, a 2:30 a.m. fireworks display that would rival the fourth of July displays of my childhood.)

But for Sweden, it was about as far as one can go without breaking the boundaries of good taste. A great success by all accounts.

I'm still recovering.

The Swedish word of the day is seg. It means weary.

- by Francis S.

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