“I do.” The curtain is torn in two. It is finished. We are torn from our former lives, and thrust naked onto the stage for Act One. I was one, and somehow I will remain one, hypostatically joined to another. I stare into her eyes. They always said my heart would flutter as I stood here.
We are making a Covenant. I feel like a child, dressed in my father’s suit, and I sink under its folds. Face clean shaven. No gray hairs yet. Making promises I cannot keep. That is, without the help of Another.
A simple ceremony at the church my bride grew up in. The pews are packed with 200 guests. Family and friends, who came to hold us to this promise. Before God and these witnesses.
We kiss. They celebrate. We smile. I always imagined I would feel completely different at this moment. It’s the most glorious day of your life, they’d tell me. Next to the day I was Saved, my wedding was the greatest day of my life, I’d hear from the pulpit.
We walk down the aisle, toward the double doors. They swing open and we are let in to the lobby to thank and greet our guests. Why do I feel the same as I did ten minutes ago? We shake their hands or hug those dearest to us. They have travelled from far away places, just to be with us on this day. And we will not get to say more than a few words to most of them.
The guests are getting hungry. They get in their cars and head over to the Fire Hall. We retreat into the chapel for photographs. My dad’s side of the family. Mom’s side. Her dad’s side. Her mom’s side. Bridesmaids. Groomsmen. Best friend. Brothers. Sister. Us.
The limousine arrives, and we shimmy down the long, leather seat.
When we arrive, the guests are all snacking on their salt and pepper potato chips, sipping soda and water. (This budget didn’t allow for much more.) The music kicks up, and we all make our grand entrance into the Hall.
We sit alone at a table, in the center, with windows behind us, warming up the room on this hot August day. We barely eat our Whole Foods wraps and handmade sides. They said I should eat, even if I don’t feel hungry. Did I eat enough? We are partly nervous, but also wanting to touch the hand of each guest, and say a word of thanks. Thank you for traveling all that long distance you did to let me touch your hand and say thank you.
We hold one another’s hand and float around the room, sitting for a minute with those who we have the deepest history with.
Time for white-iced chocolate cake. Cut. Click, flash. Click, click, flash, click. What did we say we were going to do? Before I can answer my own question, cake is gently smeared across my cheek, and halfway on my lips. I return the gentle favor. They cheer.
Bridesmaid speech. Best Man speech. Music. Dancing. We try to let loose, with so many unfinished thoughts.
People begin to leave, to travel their long distance back to their far away places.
Time continues to clip, and before we know it, tables are being swept and cleared off.
The limosine driver is looking nervously at his watch.
Rachel is getting changed. Something is taking longer than expected. The driver has difficulty hiding his anxiety. Finally, Rachel arrives. Some snag with the dress. More kisses and hugs. Is there any food left? Too late.
He shoves our bags in the trunk, and we are off to the Airport Hotel.
We race down the highway, and within the hour we arrive. The concrete infrastructure seems more ominous than usual. We will be here, alone. We’ve never really been alone before.
At 4:30 the next morning, we awake from our sleepless night to pack up our few belongings. We must make the 5:30 boarding. Once we pass through security, we grab a scone and coffee from Starbucks. At E6, we are left a few moments to sit before the boarding begins.
6:00. “Good morning ladies and gentlemen, my name is Sarah and I’ll be your chief flight attendant. On behalf of Captain Schmitt and the entire crew, welcome aboard Airlines flight…” We taxi toward the runway, and Rachel begins to doze.
Seattle. We grab our baggage and head down to the Hertz. We reserved a small sedan, with just enough room for our bags, the floor so thin the road rumbles beneath us.
We taste our first bit of calm as we drive north toward the Canadian border, the city fading behind us. The landscape begins to roll, as small hills turn to big hills.
We pull off at a rest stop. The antithesis of an east coast stop. A little hut, and a bathroom on either side. There are hiking trails leading away from the small parking lot. We can hear birds singing for the first time that day. An older couple occupying the hut window serves us coffee and baked cookies, wishing us the best as we travel to destination honeymoon.
The border is crossed after waiting in a long row of cars as Security checks passports and baggage. We begin to see mountains in the distance. I’ve never seen mountains this majestic. My heart flutters.
We reach Vancouver. Thankfully our ferry has not left without us. Eighty Canadian dollars are paid to the man in the booth, and we drive our little sedan onto the lower deck. We are one of the last cars to make it on.
The ferry churns a deep wake over to Victoria Island. And we finally begin to unwind from the events of the last forty-eight hours. Rachel is exhausted, and goes inside the cabin to curl up on a cushioned chair. I stand over the edge, watching the island pass by.
We drive North on the Patricia Bay Highway. Now we are not thinking of time. We arrive in a small town called Brentwood Bay. It is dinner time. We check in to our Boathouse on the Bay, then drive back to the small grocer at the center of town. Surprisingly, he is still open, as well as the wine shop. Back to the Boathouse.
It is 8pm. The evening is crisp, cooling as the sun drops. We open the window overlooking the Bay, and sit out on the deck. Olives, sharp provolone, tzatziki dip, and pita bread. Sipping our red, we watch the sun burrow into the mountains on the horizon. The wine begins to take effect, and we fall into a peaceful, dreamless rest, as the water gently laps underneath the dock and Boathouse, onto the rocky shore.