Wedded Blog. Bliss!! -or- Part Two

6 07 2008

Monday, June 16, 2008 – I can’t remember what time I woke up, but I know she was already gone. Off being girly, buying flowers and whatnot, her dad along for the ride, snapping pictures that I’ll see later. My friend, the chosen family member, and I get in touch. He’s been up for a while, I’m sure, probably bored out of his mind, waiting for me to wake up, but he doesn’t make a big thing of it, for which I am grateful. Or rather, will be grateful once the day is behind me, and I can think like a normal person.

I get ready for the beginning part of the day. I don’t like to change clothes in the middle of the day. In high school, when I was in choir and we had a performance in the evening, for which we would have to wear our uniform tuxedo-minus-jacket, rather than wear my standard jeans and tee during the day, go home, throw on my almost-tux, and then go to the performance, I would actually just wear the uniform all day at school, just to avoid having to change midday. Today, though, I make an exception. Not because I don’t want to wear a snazzy suit through the city of San Francisco, but because if I were to spill anything or smudge anything or heck, even breathe too harshly on the fool thing, then that darling, starry-eyed girl I came up here with would actually murder me. Coldly and premeditatedly, and she would likely be acquitted. So I’m thinking, two outfits today?… Being dead? After genuinely thinking about it for about thirty seconds longer than I should have, I decided on the former.

So, my friend and I meet up, and, being two mid-twenties males, we are — big surprise — hungry. We decide to go across the street from the hotel to Mel’s Drive-In. I’ve been to two different locations of Mel’s, and I still haven’t figured out where the “drive-in” part of the equation comes in. Anyway, we sit, we order, we wait, we talk, the food comes, we eat, my friend asks the waitress where the best place is to get this or that, she doesn’t know, the bill comes, he offers to pay, I let him, we talk a bit more.

Why do you need to know all this? Well, you don’t, actually. I guess I’m just telling you all the mundane little things to get you to understand how bizarre today is. Here it is, the biggest day of my life so far, the most significant, the most important and beautiful, and the world is just moving along like normal. Even in the moment, while I was there and my mind was racing, I was aware of how outside I felt. You know how when you’re sick, your head’s all congested and your voice sounds stupid? When you’re that kind of annoying sick, you know how it just doesn’t make sense that everybody you meet isn’t just as sick as you are? Most people you meet, they’re just normal, going about their business, and you maybe think, “Big faker.” But then you meet a genuinely cheerful person, and you just can’t wrap your head around that idea. You’re suddenly okay with the idea of gouging a cheerful strangers eyes out, just so that they’ll feel the same as you, and you can’t help thinking, “Showoff.” Well, my day was like that, but with fewer eye-gouging thoughts.

How can you possibly be a waitress today? Don’t you get it? Today’s kind of a big deal. Can you not feel that? That surge, that actual physical energy coursing through what I assume is the entire world. I mean, even if I’m wrong, and it’s actually just coursing through me, how are you not affected by it? When you get near me, Mr. Bellboy, sir, how are you not jolted halfway across this hotel lobby? Really, Mr. Drugged Up Homeless Man, today’s the day that makes sense for you to ask me for some change? Yes, random passerby, it is a silly shirt I’m wearing today, but wouldn’t you rather be talking to me about something else? Anyone? Come on.

But they didn’t come on. Like that Chris Gaines song, It Don’t Matter To The Sun, “This old world just keeps turning ’round, turning ’round, like it did the day before…”

We got back to the hotel, and started getting dressed for real. Talking some mindless small talk, pretending like a huge event wasn’t just moments away. Sandals giving way to loafers, jeans to newly pressed slacks. Silly shirts became an undershirt, a white, non-stained or -smudged or -breathed on button up, a jacket, and a tie that refused to tie correctly.

“Do I button all the buttons on the jacket, or just the top one, or what?” “All but the bottom.” Whether or not his answer was correct, it didn’t matter. I just needed an answer. I wasn’t nervous, know that. People often asked, in the weeks leading to today, “Are you nervous?,” and I’m simply not. I don’t really get why one would be. It seems to me that if you’re nervous about today, then today isn’t the right day for it. I don’t know. Not nervous; excited. So excited that I needed answers and didn’t care if they were correct.

So, here we were, two best frieds since forever, now both in our suits, about to walk down to the lobby. His suit was nicer, more expensive, shinier. But mine was black, so I think I win.

Into the lobby, waiting. She’s not there yet. Still haven’t seen her all day. Her dad and her brother join us before long. We laugh a bit about how on time we are and how on time they’re not. “They” being every female in the group.

Finally, there they are. There she is.

A little something about her. She’s a bit of a photographer. Before knowing her, I never really understood what makes a photographer different from me with my Kodak disposable. I mean, point and click, right? Well, here’s the difference: I’ll point and click, and I’ll show the picture to someone and they’ll say, “Oh, that’s a pretty flower.” She’ll point and click and show the picture to someone, and they’ll say, “…,” because they’re absolutely speechless. Blown away. A photographer, this woman in front of me, finds the hidden beauty in beautiful things.

When I saw her for the first time that day, wearing a dress that I’d only ever seen in a garment bag,¬†holding flowers that I’d later see pictures of her picking out this morning, all I could say was, “…”

Our eyes met, we smiled, and we led the party out the doors and down a few city blocks.

“Click, click, click!,” was about all I heard for the next hour or so. Well, that and, “Okay, now one with your mom, now your mom and your sister, now just the two of you, now you by yourself, now just the guys, now…” Also, in fairness, I should say that the homeless community finally started respecting the day a bit, by saying, “Congratulations,” and, in one case, humming “Here Comes the Bride.”

We finally get to the City Hall, and our professional photographer showed up, and we were posed, and made to smile those fake smiles that everyone accepts as genuine when they look at pictures. We went into this room and that, signing this paper and that, and then we waited. After a bit, we walked up the stairs that Indiana Jones walked down at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark, and we found ourselves on a platform, just us… and the sleeping homeless man on the steps right over there. Atmosphere. Awesome.

Then the ceremony. This part you know. “Do you take her? Do you take him?” “I do,” and, “I also do.” And yet, even though there were no surprises here, and I watch a lot of TV and movies, and could have easily done all three participants’ parts, it felt like these words were being said for the first time. Written just for us, meant just for us, fulfilling their purpose in this moment, right here, right now. I smile and look down at my ring and smile bigger right now, as I’m writing these words. The rings. We put them on each other, and I realized that my finger had been missing something all these years.

The ceremony ends, but the pictures don’t. First, there are pictures of the reporter from the Associated Press, come to ask the newly married straight couple how we feel about being married on the technically-first day same sex marriage licenses are being issued. All I’m thinking as my wife (my wife!!) talks to the lady is, Four minutes married, and this’ll be the first time her new name appears in print!

After that, the photographer gets an idea. She’ll go up there to the balcony, and we’ll all gather in a semicircle, and she’ll get a whole group shot. Splendid. So, she goes up, and we all gather, and for just a moment, I look around. Here we all are, myself, my wife (!!), her mom, her dad, her brother, her aunt, her cousin, my mom, my sister, and my best friend. And in that moment, the world stepped up. In that moment, the world acknowledged the gravity of the situation, it did matter to the sun, everyone stopped and took noticed, tipped their hats and bowed, nodded in our direction, said a united chorus of “Congratulations!”

Or maybe not. Maybe instead, in that moment, this group of people, most of whom had never met each other before, this group of people, united just moments ago solely by their common knowing of we two, this group of people, in that moment, became family.