I can hear them as they gather in the yard next to me; the excitement in the voices of my family and friends fills the afternoon air as it mingles with the sounds of singing birds and distantly crashing waves. It’s another picture perfect day in Sunset Valley, a day like any other except today, today I’m getting married! I know Berjes has arrived, the “congratulations” make that clear but I could pick his voice out of a crowd of a thousand. So much planning, so many preparations and sleepless nights. So much stress and anxiety and the day has finally arrived!
I’m pacing back and forth nervously, but these nerves are ones I’ve never experienced before. I don’t want to crawl into a corner and hide, I want to throw back the fabric walls and strut down the aisle right now. It’s only convention keeping me from doing so. Mom interrupts me as I restrain myself, sneaking up behind me with a pretty box in hand and a smile on her lips to match the smile in my heart.
“Oh Lee!” She gushes, drinking in the sight of me with pride “You look beautiful… So beautiful. Your father would have said the same. This is for you, from both of us. He would have wanted you to have these as well…”
With that said, and tears jumping to both of our eyes, she hands me the present. I shake it gently, but hear nothing inside. I’m about to rip into the paper when she stops me.
“Open it with Berjes, it’s for him too… Tickets, for your honeymoon.”
“Well?!” I’m all ears now. “Where are we going?”
“Let that be part of the surprise for the two of you, my dear. I’m sure you’ll love it though. Just about everyone is here. Are you ready?”
Am I ready? I’ve been ready for months now! It was the baker and the florist and the ‘necessity’ of making a big deal of the day that kept Berjes and I from eloping the day after he proposed. One delay after another, one detail to change but now everything is perfect. I’m ready… It’s just…
“I always dreamed of daddy walking me down the aisle and giving me away… But since he can’t be here… I know it’s not traditional and we haven’t planned it, but mom? Will you? Please?”
I squeeze mom’s hand tight as we arrive at the end of the floral path, leading down towards where I will soon be wed. My nerves have flown away with the softest breeze. I am so ready for this stage of my life, so ready to be a wife and a mom that it takes all of my restraint to walk slowly in time with the music instead of running past my guests to where my husband-to-be stands. I’m only distantly aware of Troy and Conrad, Kaitlin and Adam are there too, cousins, friends, in-laws, all of them gathered to watch an official declaration of love and I just don’t see them. I only have eyes for one person and he stands a million miles (OK, a couple meters) away from me, waiting patiently for his bride. He’s all I see, standing in the shade of our wedding arch, piles of flowers billowing around his feet and the sun gleaming off of his hair. His eyes meet mine, and as usual, a smile pulls on my lips. I’m the happiest, luckiest girl in the world.
Berjes. My childhood friend. My teenage relationship I destroyed. The ache that stayed with me until we found one another again and now he’s the spirit that fills my soul, that makes me want to get out of bed in the morning. He’s the laughter on my lips, the hero of each of my daydreams and the arms that hold me tight and tell me it’s all alright. He’s the only man whose known me. My friend, my confidante, my critic and supporter, my soul mate. The love of my life and in half an hour, my husband.
“You look beautiful.” He whispers as mom leaves me at our arch, gazing into my eyes and reflecting all of the love I feel for him back at me. The time has come, and as we clasp our hands together I can feel something pass between us. Something true and powerful, a feeling that promises that together, we are unstoppable. If Berjes and I face the world, we will come out victorious.
“I am a better woman with you by my side. You make me want to push myself to be more loving, more understanding, stronger and happier. I promise that everything I have to offer, I give to you freely. From now until eternity, I need no one but you. The sight of you shores me up, the feel of you makes me weak at the knees, knowing you is the best thing that has happened to me and my love for you is true and pure. I will love you, I will honour and respect you. We will laugh and we will cry but together, we will live. With this ring, I thee wed.”
“The first day I met you, I ran home and smudged my mother’s apron with fingerpaints, just to tell her I met the girl I was going to marry. Or ‘mawwy’ as I said then. She laughed. When I told her, so many months ago, that I was going to marry you, she laughed a different laugh. Our life will be full of laughter. We will laugh in happiness and joy, we will laugh in the face of sadness. Through the good times and the bad we will laugh at ourselves and laugh at the world because we have more love than we know what to do with. Our love bubbles through as laughter – and there is no laugh, no giggle, no chuckle, no snicker in the world that makes my heart soar the way yours does. We will laugh. We will cry. But together, we will live. With this ring, I thee wed.”
At long last, we no longer need to hold each other at arms length. Our vows have been declared and taken with the wind to a place where promises that will be kept live. For better or for worse. In sickness or in health. For rich or for poor. As long as we both shall live. There are tears in every eye in the back yard, including the birds and the squirrels, I’m sure. How could any eye stay dry, in the face of a love like ours? A love to last forever, a love that has conquered and overcome. It wasn’t always easy and we know it will be difficult again, but we’re ready to face those challenges. Willing to meet them head on, so long as we can do it together.
Our lips meet, the final seal on our marriage ceremony. If I were religious, I would say we had been blessed, instead I know that this was just meant to be. Never have I been certain of anything the way I am certain of Berjes. When the cheers from our crown turn into catcalls and whistles, we reluctantly pull apart, gazing into one another’s eyes. “I love you.” “I love you too.”
Hand in hand, man and wife, it’s time to get this party started!
Back in the ‘tent’ we stand, facing our guests and I see them for the first time. They gather ’round and cheer as if it were our birthdays, I suppose this is a new stage of life, but a little bit different! We had planned on saying a few words before cutting into the cake and by ‘we’ I mean that I’m supposed to be talking right now, but instead I’m getting all choked up! Happy tears and happy lump in my throat. I haven’t the words to say so much as a thank you. All I can do is smile at everyone and blink back the blur in my eyes, hoping that Berjes will step in and spell out our gratitude for me.“Thank you all so much for joining me and my beautiful, radiant wife to celebrate our wedding. We really do appreciate that it’s the middle of Wednesday and that you’re all slacking off on our behalf. Hopefully, this is worth the vacation day you’ve all taken. I know that I only had eyes for Lee here during the ceremony, so I have no idea whether the red eyes I saw as you all piled in here were from tears of joy or tears of boredom. If you were bored, sorry? I guess? Lee wouldn’t let me cater this myself, and she wouldn’t let Adam, the best boss and brother-in-law-twice-over a man could ask for do it either so while he’s all relaxed and I’ve buttered him up – I’m taking next week off to whisk your sister around the world. Hope you don’t mind. Thank you again for coming today, it means a lot for us to have your love and support and to show our gratitude, we’ve bought a really delicious cake that’s too big for the two of us to eat alone!”We cut into the cake and will have mountains of it to send home with everyone here. It’s so good that people go back for seconds and then thirds. We never even set out the buffet table! I guess cake is as good for lunch as stuffed turkey. The air is thick with good wishes and high hopes. There’s not a frown in sight, and even mom and Adam have put aside their snipping at one another to enjoy my special day. I feel removed from myself, like I can fly above the party and look down on everyone having a great time as if there’s not a care to be had in the world.
People come and people go, so does the cake, but the music doesn’t stop once Berjes and I have taken the traditional spin around the dance floor. We crowd everyone onto the wooden planks and we dance! Oh how we dance, until the cake we’ve eaten makes our stomachs cramp and our legs are tired and then we dance some more. I dance until my terribly uncomfortable but pretty shoes that are hidden entirely beneath my dress cut blisters into my feet and then I dance some more. We dance until we don’t think we can dance any longer, and then we dance some more. The rhythm keeps us upright, the melody keeps us in good spirits and the company makes us feel as if we’re really, truly alive.
It’s only once Berjes and I are the only ones left on the lot that we stop dancing. We have a flight to catch! But to where?? I guess it’s time to open that gift
Help me, oh readers! I have (clearly) yet to play their honeymoon and I also haven’t built this lovely couple somewhere to live when they return. Whichever location comes in first, will be where I take the lovebirds to honeymoon, but if Generations continues to fight with World Adventures for my sanity, they will probably end up in one of the regular towns.
I’ll be out of town for the next couple of weekends and the week in between, so the honeymoon chapter (G.3 C.10 – Part 3 – Wedding Knights) will probably be a little while in coming.
I hope you’ve all had a fantastic summer so far, and for the Brits who read this, I sincerely hope you and your family and friends have stayed safe over the past couple of days.
See you all soon, thanks for reading