Three years ago today

Three years ago today, I woke up and drove with my friend Kate to get my hair done. My hair was styled rather unlike the plan had been. In fact, nothing at all like the plan. The plan was up. My hair stayed mainly down. Then we went to lunch at Room 39. Only not the one on 39th that I so dearly love. But it was good. I ate a burger. With fries. And we drank mimosas. I tried to lift the burger completely to my mouth so as not to affect my hair styling. When I turned to see the waitress, I very slowly moved my neck. I was wearing a bulky sweater and jeans. "This is how I always do my hair when eating a burger out to lunch," I said with my eyes, smiling. "I'm one of those girls." I don't remember what we talked about. Kate, do you?

We drove to my parents. I helped sweep the floor. Arranged wine glasses in neat little rows on a console table floating in their living room. Stirred chocolate powder in a stewpot of milk.

"Did you call the sushi place? Did they get the platters I dropped off?"

We cut stems off of the hydrangeas, dipped them in allum and arranged them in vases. I turned my old bedspread inside out and covered their coffee table, then arranged flowers and white candles. Earlier we'd gone around snapping branches off of people's Christmas trees laid on the side of the road. Laid on the side of the road because this was the second week of January. The fading greenery draped around the house.

A girl came and did my makeup. I got dressed too early - it took all of three minutes? - and stirred about in my mom's closet while I heard guests arrive. My mom asked me to do her hair. I did. She didn't like it. We redid it. She didn't like it. So, she wore it the way she's worn it for 25 years. But at least it passed some time. In the final minutes my dad sat in their bedroom watching a playoff game as the clock continued to tick.

Earrings! I forgot earrings. I sifted through my mom's jewelry.

Ah, the cold. It was so cold that day. And with the doors open throughout the house to let guests in the draft enveloped me. I found a pair of long johns in my mom's drawer and put them on under my dress.

I looked in the mirror. My hair was flat. My appointment was too early. Should have been in the afternoon. All that time had sucked the curls out. Next time. Oh, God no! There won't be a next time! I promise! We're committed!

It was time. Only it wasn't. My dad and I walked out a little too early. But that was okay. It was in keeping with the mood. Not too contrived.

Music played. Not just any music. John's sister sat on a barstool in my parent's kitchen and sang with a guitar. Valentine stood beside the oven with her violin. Peter was in front of the sink with his trumpet and there was Hermon, with his trumpet, too. They played an Otis Redding song.

That's How Strong My Love Is.

Only it wasn't that strong. Can I say that? It was strong. But now, three years later, it's just so much stronger that it makes the old strong seem weak. That's surely how it goes with lots of marriages. You think you're to the ceiling with your love and yet year by year it grows.  I suppose it's because often you get married to the person you think you know. And then life happens and you see them more deeply. You're vulnerable and so you see each other more honestly. And that makes you uglier. Only, they're committed to loving you regardless, so that makes it more beautiful again.

There's nothing lovelier than someone seeing your ugliness and by staying, making it safe. Making you safe. Because what a wonderful thing it is to be known. Don't we all long for that? To be truly known....and still loved. To gasp, throw down the heavy facade we lug around, expose the brokenness and then be held anyway.

So the song played and ended. I walked down the 10 foot aisle, passed our closest family to John.

The pastor was pastoring. We were vowing. And suddenly from the front row, my mom got up and left. To get a kleenex? How touching. Oh, no. Oh, wait. She's in the kitchen. She's opening the oven.

"Huh? I am. I mean, I do. I do take you to be my lawfully wedded husband."

I glance over again. My mother is taking a frozen pizza out of the oven while I wed my husband. A frozen pizza she insisted on for those who don't like sushi. A frozen pizza I expressly forbid at my wedding. "They can eat the dumplings if they don't like sushi," I said. "There's only twenty of us. They'll survive."

"I now pronounce you man and wife." I remember crying during the ceremony. I don't remember how it felt though. It was mainly a daze. A cold daze with the temperature below freezing on a screened-in porch, except that I remember feeling hot. So it goes with those big, important days. You go from being cold all your life - always turning up the thermostat and putting on a sweater - to suddenly having a hot flash standing in the snow.

Anyway, it was three years ago today that we wed.

We ate sushi and then cheesecake. Our closest family from the ceremony were joined by our closest friends and even more family for the cake eating. We toasted to marriage with glasses from Italy. We didn't dance.

My dad gave a speech in front of the fireplace. Everyone listened and laughed and said "Here, here!" Laura and Peter and Hermon and Valentine came out and played That's How Strong My Love Is again.

A few more toasts were spoken. Mingling, mingling and more mingling. A few pictures. Lots of conversations and stories and catching up and congratulating and asking and telling and hugging and smiling. Scavengers raided the refrigerator for leftover sushi. You know who you are. And then the night was over. Three years ago today.

Annie, that's how I married your father. Three years ago today.

That's how I sealed the deal with your charming, very attractive, stunningly humble, limitlessly kind, get on the floor and roll around with his daughter, get on his knees and pray for his family, unnervingly generous father.

Three years ago today.

Oh, and here's the rest of our story.

1 comment:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...