Everything went silent. I couldn’t hear the officiant. I couldn’t hear the waves. I couldn’t hear the seagulls. I was in a complete sound vacuum, as I watched her lips. I wanted to absorb the moment she said, “I do.”
Everything up to that point was chaotic. A whirlwind of ridiculousness, from a late start to a long drive caused by a disastrous manicure to a traffic delay due to weather and hunger. All of this compounded by an additional 25 minute tour of all of Key West’s dead-end streets in an effort find our hotel, which was outside of the purview of our GPS, but somehow still under the control of President Truman.
From the moment we finally set our bags down in our room, we had exactly 30 minutes to get ready. Thirty minutes. Two brides. One bathroom.
“I need the eyeliner,” she said
I looked in the monster make-up bag I had packed just 5 hours prior. But there was no use, I knew the moment she said eyeliner that I forgot to pack it.
Nearly fourteen years of togetherness are all riding on getting through the next 19 minutes and counting. I was not about the let a shitty black crayon get in the way of marrying the woman I love. I contemplated a few options, like sticking one of her thin make-up brushes into the mascara tube or just handing her a pen.
“You’re not going to believe this,” I said, full knowing that she would believe it.
Profuse apologies followed and then her half-acceptance of them, but really, we didn’t have time to fight about eyeliner. We barely had time to look at each other. And every time we did, one of us would get teary-eyed, so I think it was a good thing we didn’t have the stupid eyeliner.
We made it to the beach exactly 2 minutes before our scheduled time, but our officiant was already there, which meant I didn’t have time to tell her all of the things I wanted to say. I couldn’t tell her that she looked more beautiful than ever. I couldn’t tell her that I loved her. I couldn’t thank her for planning this beach wedding because I am too much of a princess to get married in a courthouse where Alex Hanna is fighting traffic tickets in the next window. I couldn’t tell her that she made me feel like the luckiest girl in the world. I couldn’t apologize for forgetting to pack the eyeliner and all of the other countless stupid shit I do on an hourly basis. I couldn’t say a word. We were too busy making small talk and going over forms and making transactions.
And the more I desperately tried to slow down the moment, the faster it seemed to go. Before I could get my bearings we were under a palm tree holding each other’s hands. This was really happening. I was really marrying her. Officially. Legally. Forever.
I was asked to say, “I do” first. The words fell out of my head like the contents of a plastic Easter egg. Two words have never been said more clumsily. I could’ve as easily said, “Yeah, yeah.”
But now it was her turn. The person that swore marriage wasn’t for her. The person that argued the concept of marriage was antiquated and patriarchal. The person that even to this day feels like we are rushing into things when we make plans six months in advance. The most private person I know is now being asked to publicly affirm that she was completely cool with having a wife forever. For. Ever.
“I do,” she said in her softest, most graceful voice.
And with that my hearing returned. The roar of the ocean, the click of the camera, the officiant’s memorized speech about the significance of a ring. All of it came back and louder than ever.
Since then life has been just a little more bright and just a little more loud and just a little more perfect.
Here’s to another fourteen years…this time we get to be newlyweds.