Monday, June 22, 2009
the day i married the most beautiful girl in the world.
the goddess mother and le petit prince
11 years ago, a lifetime it seems, i joined the goddess mother and her beloved in holy matrimony.
or, you know, as holy of matrimony as this fully ordained by mail order minister can.
the day of the wedding started off fine. i had been staying in my hometown for nearly a week. i was with the duke, who had just turned 1. i had made it through a wedding shower, a bachelorette party, and various wedding preparations and was still standing.
and now, in the hotel room i was putting the final touches on the ceremony while trying to keep a 1 year old out of trouble. hotel room? seems fairly benign, right? but you'd be surprised how much trouble a kid who's too young to be interested in television can get into in a hotel room.
plus, i was using a laptop. this was 11 years ago. using a laptop was new and uncharted territory for me. shit, i still have problems, but i think that's just me. oh, i know it's just me.
okay, so i was waiting for the lord of the ring to arrive from the airport and take over duke duties so i could 1.) finish the ceremony (largely written for months, but there are those details) 2.) get hair and make-up done, 3.) and deal with any other fires that came my way.
he arrived and things were going smoothly and well. i managed to be on time for hair and make-up, although, as you know by now with me and being in public, that was not without its troubles.
the make-up "artist" was a woman of certain age who believed that the more make-up the better. fine. i tried to tell her i wanted it simple, enough to show up in photos, but not too bold or bright.
the first thing she said to me after i said that was
"ugh. you young girls and your eyebrows! why there is so much shame in grooming your eyebrows i don't know! i just don't have time to do anything about them today! ugh. what a distraction. and don't even get me started on your upper lip! there is JUST NOT TIME!"
i do often wonder what it's like not to be me.
my hair was another matter. to make a long story short, don't barter house cleaning for a cut and color job. especially AFTER you've already fulfilled your end of the bargain. this being the late 90s, what i wanted to be lisa loeb like chunky light highlights on my dark hair ended up being very bottle blond, frosted almost. it was not pretty.
needless to say, i ended up with bold and bright make-up and the hair didn't fare much better.
no doubt probably in an attempt to distract from the circus side show going on on my face.
in short, in every photo i looked older than i was, and brittle, and very much like someone who spent too many hours each day snorting coke, but was still able to get a hot meal on the table before passing out.
but i'm getting ahead of myself.
so i get hair and make-up out of the way and head back to the hotel. and because the lord of the ring is the shit, the duke has been napped and changed and bathed and dressed. they are both ready to go. right on schedule.
so i get dressed and grab the disk for the ceremony and we head to kinko's to print it out before continuing on to the church.
and this is where the best laid plans of the silly mortal go awry. there is simply nothing on the disk. i know i copied the ceremony to the disk, but it won't print out. sorry, they say. it looks like it's a faulty disk, they say. and by now i'm standing in the middle of kinko's with a show stopping performance begging them to fix what they cannot, to make something be there that isn't.
and now, now we are running late. the church is outside of town and we are downtown. there is no time to do anything else. we have to go.
so i'm in the passenger's seat trying not to freak out. what the hell am i going to do? i've had the bulk of the ceremony in my head for months, sure. but that's not enough. because it's only the bulk, not all of it! and this wasn't my first wedding, so i knew from experience that i tend to get nervous at the beginning, and i NEED a written back up to help get me through until i get comfortable.
we're driving down the road and i shout
"where are we going?"
"just turn here and go straight! turn right at the next light!"
bless his heart. then and now the lord of the ring knows to just go with it. meaning me. more often than not you will hear him say, "hey, i'm just here to drive."
"turn in here!"
"ernie's liquors? what are we doing here?"
ernie's liquors is the neighborhood liquor store. my old neighborhood liquor store. i went in there with my father when i was a child. and on this day it was going to represent my salvation.
okay, so i'm not saying when the shit hits the fan you should drink. though i hear that works sometimes. what i am saying is when you are sitting in the front seat of the car, freaking out, nearly throwing up with fear, and you are late to an event where a whole hell of a lot of people are waiting for you, well, you do what you can.
i raced in the liquor store, grabbed a bottle of jagermeister and then ran up to the counter. i was now nearly 15 minutes? 30 minutes? late. and there was a line.
a line? this place is the size of a shoebox! but sure enough there were three people in front of me.
i tried breathing through the first customer. in and out. i can do this, i said. but had absolutely no luck. by now i was sweaty and about to go ballistic. so by the second customer i decided to take matters into my own hands.
"i am so sorry but i am late for a wedding and i'm the minister!! please please let me go ahead of you!!"
they didn't buy it. at least the customer already at the counter didn't. he took one look at my clinging dress, (i was wearing a robe over it for the ceremony) my strappy heels, my garish hair and make-up, and the bottle of jager in my hands and i don't think he was thinking "minister."
he was probably thinking something, but i can just about bet it didn't have anything to do with weddings or god.
thankfully the guy in front of me let me cut. he even shouted good luck as i ran out the door.
"i'm riding in the back! please drive fast, but not so fast that we get a ticket. but kinda fast!"
and again, to his credit, the lord of the ring didn't say one. measly. word. about me sitting in the back chugging jagermeister and muttering to myself and jotting down notes on a scrap of paper while on the way to a wedding we were by now very late for. a wedding where *I* was the one person who had to be on my game. not. one. word.
thankfully, the duke was asleep and so i had some quiet in the back seat. you know, to drink and freak out. it's better with quiet.
by the time we arrived at the church i don't know how late we actually were. 30 minutes? 45?
the goddess mother's parents had those bright but thin smiles on their faces i had seen so many times in our youth. especially whenever i was present. they had only recently begun to understand and accept me as i was, then their daughter had to go and tell them i was conducting her wedding ceremony. in their home church. oy.
and here i was, fucking it up just as they had probably suspected i would.
thankfully, the goddess mother, although peeved i'm sure, was all business and was more forgiving and waved off all my explanations.
"let's just get started."
so we did. i mopped up all my sweat, checked for lipstick on my teeth, and threw on my robe.
can i just interject something here about the lipstick? it was still fully present and looked great despite all the back seat chugging. regardless of her chair side manner, that make-up artist sure knew her lipstick and i was right then and there grateful for her piling it on as she had.
i was introduced and made it up to the podium without falling or throwing up. which i counted as a personal triumph. and then i started the ceremony off without a hitch.
it was going beautifully.
i was missing only one thing.
the bride and groom.
sigh. big deep breath and i said
"i'm sorry. i am SO nervous. you know what, i'm going to start over."
and then i laughed. and they all laughed.
and then i started over.
and i don't know what happened or how i did it, but i nailed it. with no notes, a belly full of jagermeister, and so totally nervous i could have started laughing or crying and never stop, i did it. the whole thing was perfect and went off without a further hitch.
because when i saw the goddess mother walking towards her beloved it just clicked. and everything i felt about her, had felt for so much of my life, all of that deep love and respect and admiration just materialized on my tongue. i was graced by her grace, and that carried me. and the relationship she asked me to make official was right. right there in front of me and inside of me was just love. and that love translated into words that made it out of my mouth and made sense.
it was beautiful.
afterward, people approached me to tell me how beautiful they thought it was, too. and the goddess mother's parents were thrilled and it signaled what was and is a whole new chapter in our relationship. and now they are as grateful for my presence in her life as i have always been for her presence in mine.
it's never occurred to me to do things the way they "should" be done. and while i look back on it now i think, yeah, perhaps that wasn't the wisest course. think of what could have happened. etc. etc. etc. it could have definitely become a cautionary tale. because lord knows i'm REALLY good at creating those.
but at the time, everything i chose to do all seemed to make sense. and in the end, it did.
because i suppose in the end it's about trusting what's in your heart and just going from there. and because when you love somebody you can make anything make sense.
i am happy to report the goddess mother and her beloved are still married. with two beautiful children who are their spitting image.
and even happier to report that she is still my very best friend and i still think she is the most beautiful girl in the world.