the post-ever after
9 October 2013 § Leave a comment
That’s it. We’re married. In it until we’re not.
It’s back to totes and attics with the decoration. Cold leftover cake smudges our mini fridge with chocolate, gifts lie about our basement like trinkets from another world. We’re supposed to be packing for our honeymoon, and I’m busy honing a life purpose.
Don’t forget your toothbrush. Write until your fingers ache. Make sure you pack your sandals. What is the relationship of words and sound? Is the extension cord in the camper? Is the camper an extension of myself?
I found a post-it note with the names of people who’ve not yet been paid for their contribution to the wedding day; a fabulously sucessful affair whose only hiccup was that the bride’s entrance song never played. Oh, you don’t get a second chance at things like that.
And the beat goes on. Credit toward its due, a handful of women organized an event for the age. Its kind had not been seen by even the caterers. The sheep skin-textured day left me whispering incoherent rhymes past midnight. The wedding crashers kept quiet, if not inconspicuous. I could speak to its wonderments for hours. Signing the documents under porchlight. Gatsby glamour in ways I did not expect people to take the invitation to heart. The dapper Reverend Ed in a cowboy hat.
And then I was asked to acknowledge my family.
I’d not been asked to do that before. I thought there’d be a quick prayer said by someone else. I thought their presence spoke for itself. What was I supposed to say about my family?
I stood there and looked at them, holding the microphone like a middle school principal at a pep rally. The wedding paused. An autumn tide flooded up through my body. I felt the water headed for my eyes, and tried to dam it. I couldn’t tell what they expected. I couldn’t tell if they expected. The stage itself, a sloped lawn next to a purple and green house in the woods didn’t bother me; seventy or eighty people watching me in silence, to most of whom I’d been branded at least once that awful title Poet, I washed them out of my mind; I was there with me that day, Sunday at 3:33.
My family had shown up in support – for perhaps the first time in my experience. No words came – no rhymes or images which might impress. Just the tears. I gave myself the sole option of claiming my roots, tenuous as they were. So I told the truth. That I’d not stopped running from home and family since June sixteenth two thousand three, the day I left Alaska with the intention of forever. That I’d been searching for something better since, and had nearly convinced myself that I’d found it. A lot can happen in ten years.
Likewise, much can stay the same. Like my destination, no matter how far or fast I traveled, no matter what I was looking for. Like people who love me. Who hold space for my everything, while I search for the meaning of ‘holding space’ in the far reaches.
After the ceremony I wondered if it was strange that I cried and Heather didn’t. I remember seeing her pages and pages of agreements and vows, and thinking of the page and a half in my green notebook I’d dedicated to the venture, and how much I’d crossed out and written in the margins. By the time I got to the end, I’d barely begun. Luckily my voice did not fail me.
And, to my gentle surprise, neither did my family.