After our dance and once the feast concluded, I found myself sitting at the head table surrounded by empty chairs. My wife was mingling with her friends and family. She loved talking to people, especially family. She grew up in a closely knit household. When we first talked of marriage she wanted to maintain that closeness and I agreed. Our families didn’t fight or argue, they played along and buried their differences well enough so we could all join together as one big extended family. It was really wonderful.
The speakers churned out our handpicked playlist of our favorite songs. This is classic example of one of those things my wife and I just agreed on from the beginning. After I introduced myself to her parents, we left to go on our first date. Once our seat belts were buckled I slipped a special CD in the stereo. I had burned it that morning for this specific moment. From the moment the first chord was struck and the first lyric was uttered she looked at me with a wicked smile. Her smirk was born from a mutual passion for rowdy rock ‘n’ roll.
However, the CD was not just a collection of upbeat or thunderous songs. Each of the songs possessed a deeper meaning. The root of the song carried some beautiful message, at least I believed so. The CD was a collection of songs that, in some way, reminded me of her. Once I told her this, her twisted smile was replaced with a warming expression of love. She leaned over the center console and hugged me the best she could. Her arms were strong and comforting; both something that I desired. Also, both qualities were something that I had not felt in a long time.
By the time I met her, my strength was just beginning to flicker. Her embrace was laced with an alluring warmth that I had sought for so long. By the time we met, it had been some time since I had touched another human being in any capacity. I all but gave up on dating before a friend convinced me to give online dating another chance. Good thing I took that chance, right? Who knows what might have happened if I hadn’t reach out that one last time. I’d probably would have ended up all alone, penniless and hopeless. If I hadn’t met her, I never would have written my novel and gotten picked up by a publisher. Looking back, seizing the moment and messaging her was the best thing I could have done.
Messaging her. My wife. Mine. She was so beautiful in her wedding gown. Everything about the wedding was non-traditional. Her gown was a vicious purple. Its vibrant colors soared above the mundane nature of most wedding attire. The edging of the dress was decorated with a black flowery pattern; a personal touch she had insisted on. It fit her body wonderfully, highlighting her natural beauty. The ceremony was short and private. Neither of us had wanted a long drawn out speech riddle with biblical references. We knew we were in love; we didn’t need anyone else’s approval. We wrote our vows and sobbed when we recited them. She was gifted with words, she just never admitted it.
She constructed her vows the same way she typed out her texts all those years ago: with a healthy dose of love. She placed some part of herself into every word she wrote. And the way she spoke when she recited them will forever illuminate my heart. My vows, she claimed, were filled with my unique dorky charm and adorable prose. I found them difficult to write. The emotions and feelings I wished to convey were easy to think up. I knew what I wanted to tell her, but for the first time in my life I was short on words to describe my feelings. I always had a knack for using words and telling her how I felt; but on the day I sat down to write my vows I was lost. Even when she wasn’t around, she left my mind dry and dusty. My vocabulary had started to rust and grow brittle when she came around. She left my chest gooey with this near indescribable sensation that tickled my fancy and made me feel at home.
On that first date, when we arrived at the small restaurant we paused before getting out of the car. She had placed her hand on mine as I drove and we talked. It was obvious, even the most oblivious person would have noted by now that we were indeed in love. The way we moved and chatted signaled to every observer that we were a couple. Though we did not possess the official title or the Facebook status: we were together. And although neither of us had said the words; we both knew that we were in love. The atmosphere we crafted in my car was tense with a breed of fondness that was all too scarce.
I turned the car off and took her hand. I was greeted with warmth just as I had been when she hugged me. In a mildly eager fashion I hurried forward to kiss her. However, I missed my mark and my lips landed on her nose. After all, it had been years since I had even received a hug from a woman. We parted and I flashed my goofy crooked smile. She laughed and pulled on my shirt, bringing us close so we could actually kiss each other. In the background a song played that many considered to be utterly sad. However, after that moment, it was our song. Later on, my wife told me that she decided in that moment that if we were to ever marry, we would dance to that particular song. And dance to it we did.
As I sat at the bridal party’s table after our first dance I began to wonder and think. I began to consider possibilities that I had long pushed out of my head. I thought about what life would be like in five years, then ten years and so. I thought of the future; a concept I had once thought was full of negativity and darkness. However now, my future appeared vibrant and joyful. It looked like it was going to be full of her warming hugs and tender kisses. But I tried not to dwell on such thoughts; for no matter how joyful the thoughts may be and no matter how gorgeous our love may be, I always held onto a particularly upsetting chain of ideas. I didn’t wish to keep these ideas stored in my mind. I tried, many times, to purge them from my system; but I could never erase them completely. Always, some strand of these ideas remained.
Perhaps these ideas would ruin my marriage, I considered. Out on the dance floor my wife danced with her closest friends. Her figure was cloaked in an aura of beauty and grace. She glided across the dance floor, smiling and laughing. She bounced and bobbed to the music’s call. Perhaps I will ruin this marriage.
“Come dance!” she called. But I shook my head softly. She understood. She knew of my dislike for dancing. I had confronted her about this when we first began planning the wedding; and she wasn’t disheartened or put off by my wish to abstain from dancing. Rather, she only requested we dance once; to that song that played during our first kiss. I obliged her wish and then took my place at the empty table.
“Make sure you dance with your friends,” I had told her. She was a social butterfly, a lover-of-conversation and people. I could not become a tyrannical husband and deny her these outlets. I was not going to be cruel and unfair!
I had no family at the wedding. Many were unwilling to pause their important career oriented lives to attend the wedding. Others were simply out of contact and unreachable. Either way, I was the only person from my side of the family. My wife’s family consisted of countless old and decrepit folks. They had their own table, across the dance floor, outfitted for wheel chair access. Her parents were chatting it up with the rest of their family. Our friends were with my wife, dancing, mingling and enjoying themselves. Perhaps, I recall thinking, perhaps I should enjoy these moments. Perhaps I should soak up the moment and paint the smells and images to a canvas in my mind. Maybe then I can savor them later on when the moments are long dead and rotten. But I couldn’t move.
I met my wife when I was a young man, hardly twenty-three years old. She lagged only a few years behind me. I was in my prime, as was she. And we enjoyed several blissful years together. Neither of us sought marriage, we didn’t see any reason for it. We both fully enjoyed the concepts of monogamy and devotion. Since marriage is just a legal contract that we failed to see the purpose of. We didn’t see why we needed to have a fancy piece of paper to validate the feelings we already knew to be true. This of course was a great example of something we agreed on without discussing it. These agreements dot our relationship and form the basic skeleton of the trust we share. My dad always told me that trust was key in relationships. It ought to be considered the focal point, he claimed.
“Without trust, what do you have?” he would ask me. “Without trust and honesty what do you have?”