Friday, April 10, 2009

Day 124: Fields of Gold, Chapter 32

It was a magical day. The kind that, I anticipate, will happen only once in my lifetime.

We left the temple in Dave's car--my mom handing me our picnic basket with our lunch, but cautioning me that, since it was warm, we might want to stop at McDonalds in the next small town instead. We laughed about it, and then we did. A husband and wife of two hours, going through the drive through. I ordered a chicken sandwich.

We had a beautiful afternoon, followed by the perfect evening. We had our reception in the backyard of a good friend who had been one of my mentors growing up. She had a stream running through her yard and, when I was only 16, had asked a bunch of us girls to come and help us line it with stones. Three of us came, and she told each of us that we were welcome to have our receptions there--someday.

It was the perfect setting--a stretching back lawn that was a deep velvet green, overlooking fields that highlighted the mountains of my childhood. I remember my younger brother standing at the back fence, stroking a gentle horse that had wandered over. I remember Dave's nieces and nephews running up and down along the stream. The sound of people laughing as the sun sank and the light taking on a golden tint that makes the whole world shimmer.

We had always anticipated a first dance, as a couple, but had never chosen a song. The owner put on the theme song from the old Romeo and Juliet movie, "A Time for Us." We danced. Then Dave danced with his mom, and I danced with my dad. I can't say the word "perfect" too many times in connection with it. It was perfect. But I was growing weary. In the pictures from the reception, you can see me wilting just a bit. I didn't feel so well.

We made our big exit, through rows of friends and family throwing handfuls of rice, and jumped in the car that was draped in tulle. As we pulled out, I caught a glimpse of my brother, Ben's, face. He had huge tears in his eyes.

There is something no one ever warns you about, when they talk about getting married. They don't talk about how things will change with the siblings that you're close to--the ones that you call and talk to. The ones that you have twenty years of inside jokes with. They will always be your siblings, and you may always be close, but marriage does change things. I knew, as I looked at my handsome younger brother, standing there in that perfect evening, that both he and I knew that it would never be just the two of us, laying in a tent, laughing our heads off and reciting movie quotes, ever again. It hit me suddenly, and I started to bawl.

We drove away from the reception, me sobbing, and Dave looking confused. I cried all the way to the bed and breakfast. Dave turned off the car, where he said "Um. I guess we'll sit here until you're done crying." (I'm sure people would not have believed the reason the bride was sitting in the car bawling was because she was missing her brother, but I swear it's true.) I pulled it together. Dave turned to open the door and realized he'd made a tactical error. As we'd jumped in the car, he'd locked the doors.

This was a 1987 Quantum. There were no power locks. And this particular car was missing the knobs that allow you to pull up and unlock the doors.

Here is Dave in his tux. Here is me in my wedding dress. And we are locked in the car. There is only one thing to do: Dave climbed out of the sunroof. (My hero.)

For any newly married couple--there is a lot of "wedding night" anticipation, but does any bride, really, expect that her McDonald's chicken sandwich is going to come back to haunt her with a vengeance?? I sure didn't.

It sure did.

My most vivid memory of that night is being curled up in a ball on the bathroom floor, stroking the blessed cold tile, and paying homage to the porcelain throne. I couldn't believe my luck. All pride, and beauty, went out the window. This was a crash course in marriage if ever there was one, and Dave passed with flying colors. He offered to hold my hair, asked if there was anything he could do, and went downstairs to have his eggs benedict. Alone. On his honeymoon.

The proprietor's wife, noticing his absent bride, inquired politely and sent him back upstairs with some pills filled with cayenne pepper. She swore they would do the trick.

All hail cayenne pepper.

Monday morning we were off for our four day cruise off the coast of California and day at Disneyland--and the rest of our lives.

It was the beginning of our happily ever after, which has included lots of roads and highways across many states. Various trips to different emergency rooms. Most importantly, it has welcomed three new characters. It continues to amaze me. And every once in awhile, I look over at Dave, and he looks over at me and smile, and I know--I'm home.
*My beautiful strand of pearls was flushed down the toilet in 2007. May they rest in peace.
*I wear my gold engagement band every March, to celebrate our engage-iversary.
*Dave's wedding gift to me was a beautiful album containing all of our letters and e-mails, his journal entries, and his letters to his parents. Best wedding gift ever.
*The watch lasted until a trip to Africa this year, when it fell and cracked. So much for time. On to eternity. *grin*


Anonymous said...

I loved this story! (Just wondering--is it supposed to be an epilogue as opposed to a prologue?)

You're a fabulous writer. Keep up the great work! :)

Erin said...

a beautiful love story. thanks for sharing it. it's been fun!

RaT Babies said...

Thank you for sharing your beautiful story with us Becca. Sorry but I laughed at your wedding night story ... you poor girl! But yay for your hero Dave! Love ya!

Denise said...

Sigh. Done. It was good, Bec. I waited til bedtime to check in tonight knowing it would be the last chapter- but I'm glad you wrote it all, happy you were willing to share- bless you both! Denise

Maree said...

Thank you for sharing this story. I think you've got a gift for writing, and I have enjoyed every sentence. I totally know what you mean about mourning your relationship with your brother. I had many of the same feelings. Our wedding night was interrupted by my well-meaning MIL--having room service deliver chocolate-dipped strawberries and sparkling cider. There's always something! Looking forward to the next story.

Anne Sloth said...

I cried again...

Steph @ Diapers and Divinity said...

So sorry you got sick, but like you said, a true introduction to marriage... let the service and empathy begin. It's almost like Adam and Eve walking out of paradise and facing the lone and dreary world-- together. And that makes all the difference.

jani said...

Maybe it's mixing McD's w/ weddings that is bad karma.... Nathan harfed everywhere too, but it was the day AFTER we got married... our reception day- I didn't hold his hair though.

Beautiful story- great writing- I love the choice of words in many places- you are very talented. Laughed out loud at your epilogue *grin* Ahhh life!

Gretchen said...

Ah... the wedding night. I got sick on mine too - with a wicked cold/flu. Lost my voice completely and was achy and feverish by the time we reached the hotel. And just to top it off, AF visited the next day. Figures.

GREAT WRITING Becca! I've enjoyed reading when I can, off and on. I plan to go back and read some of the chapters I missed. What a great story you have now in writing to share with your kids!

Ruth said...

Schwes - I hadn't checked in for a while, and here I find this awesome story, of which I knew the middle, but hadn't had all the details of the beginning and ending. I read the whole thing in one sitting. (yay for sesame street and curious george so I could keep going.) Thank you. It is beautiful, and it was beautiful living parts of it with you.