He stood at the end of the aisle, hands folded behind his back, nervously shifting on his feet. His hazel eyes scanned the room, his jaw feverishly chomping on a piece of imaginary gum, which made me giggle. I'd watched his mother walk up to him and put her hand out, making him take it out a few minutes ago. He appeared nervous, uncertain...the same as me.
Smoothing my chiffon dress, I pulled the lace edge veil slightly over my shoulders. I didn't want it covering my face as tradition dictated. Several nightmarish scenarios played through my overactive imagination where the veil would catch on my dad's cuff link when he lifted it, or the headpiece would slip off during the orchestrated moment, ruining my hair. Or the fabric would tickle my nose and I'd sneeze...
The first step was the hardest. Remembering to smile, hoping no one noticed the slight trembling of my body or the bouquet shaking in my hand. I grasped my dad's arm so tight, I'm sure it felt numb by the third step. Ahead, a brilliant sunset slipped away on the western horizon, spreading golden fingers of light across the wall of windows I walked toward. The closer I got to the gorgeous heartthrob, still chomping, I noticed how the glow of the amber backdrop created a halo effect around his head, outlining each sandy curl.
My angel--sent to me in a time of my life when I desperately needed a lifeline. Just didn't know my prayer would be answered in the form of a stranger who asked to borrow my binoculars at a Doobie Brother's concert. Four months later he returned the favor by dropping on one knee with a diamond ring and a promise to love me forever. Or at least try.
I don't remember the ceremony, just the way we looked at each other, silly grins painfully pressing between our cheeks, and the kiss afterwards. A kiss filled with urgency, fear, excitement, and knowledge that we were embarking on a lifelong adventure, having no clue how to proceed...beyond the honeymoon (that we had figured out). No instructions, or road map to follow.
Marriage is truly based on blind love and guided by the heart. Each one is like a snowflake - original in design and equally fragile. There's no warranty, certainly no easy exchanges, nor a guarantee attached to that first kiss full of promise that you'll have a happy ending. You only have "hope" to rely on, besides each other. I'm one of the lucky ones who managed to give "hope" a good beating, but held tight to the belief everything would work out despite the obstacles that seemed to constantly bombard us. Every time we survived one, our relationship grew stronger, along with our respect for each other.
All these years later, after several buckets of tears have been shed through love, laughter, and heartbreak, he's still borrowing my binoculars. The sandy curls have turned turned gray and thinned, the deep "V" from broad shoulders to a "six-pack" waist has squared, and the gait a bit slower with less sway. But those hazel eyes still glitter, the playful smile deepening the crinkles at the corner of the eyes still hiding mischief, and the hands have remained strong...the arms comforting. When I snuggle into him at the end of the day, butterflies still flutter in my stomach and I giggle to myself as if I was twenty again...sleeping with my boyfriend.
Thirty-six years ago today, I married my best friend, with dreams of romance and endless possibilities for happiness. Thirty-six years later, I understand the meaning of true love...what real "romance" feels like, and the realization that "happiness" sometimes comes after paying a hefty price. I'm older, wiser, bolder, and still in love with my boyfriend.
I'm sharing a link to a darling video that makes me cry every time I watch - sweet and romantic...enjoy! (hope one or the other works!)