When we tell the story later,
We’ll tell them that we got the marriage license on the day of the State of the Union Address, which you would later watch while I zoned out with my music. That you wore your yellow safety jacket, and that the courthouse security held on to your pocket knife while we went in. Your hand trembled as you signed the papers, and I stammered to spell my name.
We’ll tell them that it was a spring wedding, with piles of snow melting in brisk Annapolis sun. Your father and stepmother showed up first, and our photographer was the best last-minute decision ever made. I bouquet-bumped another bride. We had scallops and crab cakes and espresso crème brûlée and Bombay Sapphire tonics for lunch. We won’t tell them what your mother said after she slipped on the single lonely patch of ice on top of the parking garage. We’ll share the jokes and the relief, and for years on end we will laugh at the words nosegay and boutonnière.
We’ll tell them that our hands spontaneously found each other as we said our vows. And that we giggled at the richer or poorer, and especially at the till death do us part. That our tiny wedding party each held our rings, and that my dress was two sizes too big but my legs looked phenomenal. That we decided to strip the whole thing back to where it only included those closest, most precious to us, and that my family were missed, but graced us with love from across the ocean.
You woke me up in Ocean City to watch the sunrise from our hotel. A woman walked her dog along the sand, and a man set up his camera gear for a time-lapse piece. We can tell them about the prayer group next door testifying to Jesus at daybreak, and while I recover from my one-too-many tumbler of Amaretto nightcap, you can rave about the platters of cheese, fish, and charcuterie that we had at Liquid Assets. We tipped our housekeeper Veronica nicely, even though we never let her into the room.
We’ll tell them our story like we’ve told it a hundred times before, to people like those at the bar who thought we looked so snazzy that we had to be royalty or millionaires, or both, but nothing could have prepared them for the truth. That you chased me, but I found you. That we started out not knowing what the other looked like, or what their name was. That we wrote letters to each other for over a year before we met in person. That there was an ocean, a bay, and an oak tree. A white whale and a ship named Narcissus. Some guitars, a Vonnegut and a Pynchon, and a pair of oxblood dancing shoes. Countless Natural Lights and bottles of Big Bold Red. Some five or six years of ocean-hopping, dissertation writing and bridge-climbing that we made look easy. But that now, there is finally an address in this universe where they can find us both. Till death do us part.