Listening to every heart
The First Round
It’s too bad that our intuition kicks in after the fact, sometimes. But on the other hand, I’ve two bright spots in my life over a good idea gone bad…
Oh, my mind and body tried SO hard to tell me I was making the worst moves of all times.
I mean, my folks tried to gently tell me that maybe I should wait on going through with that first marriage and all.
If there is one thing that I’ve been told over and over again by several well-meaning people, and that is, I have a very low self-esteem problem. No kidding. But, hey, someone has to be in that group of folk so that others look good, right?
You see…the first love got all the good stuff. He got the virgin, he got in the first jab *smile* and…he fairly convinced me in all silent aspects of demeanor that if I didn’t marry him, no one else would want me. [I had the distinct impression I was now damaged goods…and he let me continue to think that way.] I opted to at least get my first year of college under my belt. While this was going on, my mother learned that, as we talked of marriage plans, this guy was going to whisk me 2/3rds the way across the nation. That didn’t sit well, so she quit talking to everyone, as I have spoken to somewhere in one of these two garden parties.
Well, my older “adopted” sister tried to gently convince me that I needed to let this guy “grow up”. Oh, I felt so old and wise when I told her that I would help him do so…he needed some direction, you see, and I wanted to be there so watch him meet his successes. [Oh, the things over which I convinced myself….]
My grandmother mumbled things like “babies and bathwater…”
My aunt just smiled that enigmatic smile of hers…she was on husband number three…
Skip forward then, to the night before the wedding. There I lay in my little virginal bed, trying to see, in my mind, his face. I couldn’t even picture it. I got out of bed and looked at a photo, and wondered, “who the hell IS this guy?”
But we had some 250 people coming tomorrow. I couldn’t back out now. It’s just jitters, right?
Saturday morning found me wide awake – I hadn’t slept all night. [This is the cute part. I heard Mom get up, walk quietly to the bedroom door, close it, and “snap” lock it. What in the….oh! OH! Oh, wow….after 20 years, and they still DO IT??? Wow….]
I tiptoed down the hallway and closed the hallway door, and went about making coffee and doing little things to get my mind off of what was coming up. Later Mom came in first…and she, not being a morning person, was smiling. I grinned, and didn’t say a word. I was just glad that I had always been right in one thing – that my parents were very, very much in love.
The household started moving around, getting ready for “the day”. I put off the nagging feeling that I couldn’t picture my fiancé’s face from the night before, I just kept putting one foot in front of the other. I was going to dress at the church, so we all headed for the cars – the wedding was at 11:00…we were out the door by 10:00. Plenty of time.
The Methodist Church was pretty – the flowers were in place, I was told to “quit doing and go get dressed”…so amid the smiling faces of my grandmother, my aunt, and my mother, I literally stepped into my gown from the seat of a chair so we wouldn’t muss the hairdo and all. [Hmmmm, I have an old photo of that somewhere, I think. If I can find it…you’ll all have a great laugh….but on second thought, I may need to send it at request via e-mail….I wouldn’t want to have to censor myself…*wink*]
So we took a few photos, I’m not thinking of anything except if everyone else was doing ok, when the door opened and my brother said, “it’s time.”
I mean, I wasn’t going anywhere. I couldn’t talk. I couldn’t move. I wasn’t really sure if I was breathing. Voices of my family seemed to be very far away. No, the bodice wasn’t too tight…it was that inner voice saying, “don’t go there”.
From a far away distance, even though she was but two feet away, my grandmother said, “here, I brought this, in case,” and someone held a vial of ammonia under my nose. Well, that brings one back to reality in a thump.
They had me sit down for a few minutes as my knees started to buckle, and then with a resolve from only God knows where, I stood up and said, “let’s get this over with.” You would’ve thought I was walking to the guillotine.
Then, even after all of the rehearsal, and with all of the church to hear…my Dad, who had been given three alternate ways to say the words by which to give me away [although similar to you, Serenity, they were only words, and I was never far from his heart], the minister asked, “and who gives this woman away,” my Dad, in his deep, wonderful voice, said, for all to hear… “My mother and I do.”
Ah, slips of the tongue are wonderful ice-breakers.
But after the I do’s, in the receiving line, well, I don’t know that anyone has seen a bride cry quite that much. Oh, a smile was there, tremulous, wondering what the hell I had gotten myself into, wondering if I was in some kind of nightmare…and there he was, looking for all in the world as if he had truly swallowed a canary….
For better or worse…