White wedding

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.”

Mrs. & Mrs.
Mrs. & Mrs.

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.

Five days of gratitude: People, places and things

I had to take a momentary pause from the five days of gratitude challenge because I was in France at the secret wedding of my ex-girlfriend.

We had an awkward moment when she suggested we do it one more time, “for old times’ sake,” but I declined because I didn’t want to ruin my makeup.

I did however agree to be her maid of honor just to irk her new husband. I made sure to wink at him throughout the entire ceremony. Afterwards, him, George Clooney and I drank cheap scotch and smoked expensive cigars (which I brought) and laughed the whole thing off.

I wasn’t allowed to take photos, but this is basically what the ceremony looked like:

From PinkertonPhoto.com
From PinkertonPhoto.com

Anyway, I don’t think my hiatus was a big deal because the rules of the challenge do not specify that the five days have to be in consecutive order. So, without further ado, my three most wonderful things I’m grateful for today are:

People. I’m thankful for smart people that are working to fix, help, improve the lives of other people. I’m thankful for people with special needs that teach me to be patient, kind and humble. I’m thankful for mean people whose actions remind me of the need to be more empathetic to compensate for their lack of humanity. I’m thankful for the people who drive well, for the people that sing in the car and for the people that are brave enough to say good morning to me, even when I’m wearing sunglasses indoors.

Places. I’m grateful for places that have taken my breath away, from the Napali Coast to the Amalfi Coast. I’m grateful for the places that broke my heart, like Managua and Havana. I’m grateful for the places that give me hope, like San Francisco and New Orleans. I’m grateful to Miami for welcoming my parents when they were kicked out of their country. And I’m really grateful for the existence of Las Vegas.

Things. I appreciate my musical instruments, as they remind me of all of the different ways I can ruin a good song. I appreciate music in general and the way it makes me feel. I begrudgingly appreciate how it makes me move, especially when I’ve been drinking. I appreciate a quiet spaghetti dinner at home equally as much as a really nice dinner at The Palm. And I appreciate having the money to indulge in either.

I’m also really thankful for YouTube.

Made of Steele

It used to be whenever Damian Marley’s “Beautiful” shuffled into my ear buds, I was teleported into a 1996 white, manual transmission Jeep Wrangler. The wind whipped my hair around every which way and huge sunglasses protected my already lobstery face, as I drove through the bustling streets of Montego Bay. It was around Marley’s second verse when my fantasy turned into a nightmare upon the realization that I was driving on the wrong side of the road and I’m really not that great at shifting out of first gear.

Now when I hear the song I have a different dream sequence. It’s of two beautiful people, standing on the beach, professing their love for each other before their close friends and family – in Montego Bay. What is with that place?

I had plans on heading to Jamaica for the auspicious occasion of Franky and Dave’s wedding, where I would’ve ended up either ruining my make-up at the ceremony or crashing my rental on my way to the reception. If it wasn’t for my crazy travel schedule, I would have wanted nothing more than to sit beachside, looking like a member of Kiss in a neck brace (in other words, like Snooki), to witness the union of these two knuckleheads. It would have been the perfect culmination to a year I wasted doubting and questioning the existence of love. I would have taken a mental picture of that moment they turn to each other with the wholeness of their being and kept it with me forever.

Now, I’m going to be the only asshole bawling at the wedding video party. And I hate that. And by hate, I mean love. And love, love is simply beautiful.