Sunday, November 24, 2013

Cheers to Love

When you’re in college, anything is justification for having a party. So when an old friend decided to visit my college town from Seattle, I promptly decided to have a get-together. He was coming mainly to meet someone he’d known for years through internet blogging sites and mutual friends, and he was bringing a few people with him. So, clearly, this was the perfect justification for cramming way too many people in my itty bitty apartment.

That was how I met A and C… they arrived with the little group that included my old friend and his new lady friend (who turned out to be the woman of his dreams...aww). I thought A and C were the coolest, most outrageous people I’d ever met. They promptly talked to me about energy, Burning Man and other esoteric things, all while reading my aura. Of course, I now live on Capitol Hill in Seattle, and conversations like this are called “Every Thursday Night.” But a decade ago, it blew my young mind.

A and C had only started dating about two weeks before, which happened to be the very day that Mr. W had proposed to me. It seemed like they’d known each other for a lifetime. A even read us a poem he’d written for C after their first kiss.

“She’s my soulmate,” A whispered to me during the party.

“I believe you,” I whispered back.

The years passed. Mr. W and I got married. My old friend and his lady friend got married. A and C moved in together, got engaged, and stayed that way for nearly a decade. We continued to see them now and then, especially after we moved to Seattle, and they seemed perfectly happy and content with their relationship status. While I never paid much attention to the state of their union, I’m sure their family and close friends wondered if the wedding would ever happen.

Last month, A and C did get married. We promptly RSVP’d yes to their invitation, not only because we like A and C but because the wedding sounded awesome. It was taking place at this gorgeous location and this bomb ass place was catering. There was also the fact that, much like Mr. W and me, A and C have spent the last decade befriending all kinds of wonderful and diverse characters. I couldn’t wait to see what it would be like.

The common reactions I heard when I told people of the impending wedding were “Finally!” and “Why bother, at this point?” I understand those reactions. I’ve heard plenty of comments about my uterus remaining empty over the years and can only imagine what will happen should it ever not be empty. People love to comment on such matters. And, really, it’s a valid point. Ten years is a long time to wait.

The wedding was awesome and fun and beautiful. Before the ceremony, a woman walked around and cleared everyone’s energy with sage, including the bridal party. And while that may seem odd to those who don’t subscribe to the theories of sage’s properties, I thought it was fantastic. I’ve sat through several full-length Catholic wedding ceremonies and an array of other religious affairs. If you can’t display your religious and spiritual beliefs proudly on your own wedding day, when can you?

Then the bride appeared with her father and my eyes, already watery from sage, filled with real tears. I am not close enough friends with C to envision her perfect wedding dress, but what I saw was definitely it.

The ceremony, and the reception that followed, were a fabulous blend of traditional and modern touches. The poem A had written for C ten years before was read during the wedding, a beautiful touch. The food was excellent, the speeches were heartfelt, and thanks to A’s DJing skills and his collection of musically knowledgeable friends, the music was perfection.

Even though Mr. W and I are not super close to these two, we both knew their wedding was completely and totally “them.” And not just “them,” but the versions of themselves they’ve spent the last decade creating. That’s more than I can say for my own wedding. While it was a beautiful day, I have zero regrets and I will always be thankful for the hard work and money that went into it, our wedding was barely “us” then. It certainly wouldn’t be “us” now. Again, no regrets, and I wouldn’t have it any other way as I did not want to wait one second longer before I became Mrs. W.

On the way home, Mr. W and I talked about our wedding and how it’s all a beautiful blur now. We talked about what we’d do differently if we were getting married now instead of then. And we decided that maybe A and C are doing it right.

When you’ve been together ten years, there’s not a lot of newness left in your relationship. Sure, people change, and they will always surprise you. But you’ve heard their childhood stories, you know their habits, good and bad, you know how they take their coffee, and you know every curve of their body and every sound they make when they sleep. On the surface, it may seem silly to get married after already building a life together.

And still, what better way to be certain you want to make the commitment? A and C survived their twenties together, a time of growth and change that is often drastic. They survived the growing pains, the changes in taste and personality and all that goes with them. At a time when some couples who have been together equally as long are divorced or miserable, they were more ready than ever to walk down the aisle.

Mr. W and I got the chance to talk to C briefly at her reception. Though we didn’t make any comments about how long it took them to reach the altar, we did talk about how long it had been since the night we met in college.

C looked over at A, who was talking to some other friends, smiled, and looked back at us.

“I know it’s been a long time,” she said. “But I am more in love with him now than I’ve ever been.”

“I believe you,” I said.

Cheers to love… at any time in life, for any two people brave enough to take a chance on it.

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