“Why am I referred to as Dearly Beloved? ”
Gee, he must have looked at my blog because this is the only place I ever call him that. He never reads it. Since he’s retired and home all the time, he assumes that he can’t be missing much. True enough.
Well, because when she said, “Dearly Beloved, we are gathered here. . . ” you were the only other person there besides me.
He shrugs. “I knew where it came from; I just wondered why you picked that.”
He would prefer Handsome or Studmeister, but it’s no big deal. He settles in to read the paper and I am left thinking that my statement about the day is not exactly true. We were definitely not alone; there were, to be exact, throngs of people there that day.
DB has a romantic streak but sometimes it goes very wrong. Dreadfully wrong. Like the day we were married.
Neither of us wanted the hassle and stress of a big wedding. I mean, just how many crazy relatives would we dare to invite? I still had some he hadn’t met and I was hoping to keep it that way as long as possible. (He was definitely not ready to visit the cousin with the huge “Jesus Died Here” neon sign on a pole in front of her house. ) We weren’t really eloping, we just decided on a quiet civil ceremony. . . just the two of us. He would plan everything.
At first he was talking “cruise“ which sounded perfect to me. A wedding on the high seas? Awright!!!! I fantasized about it for some time before he said that he’d nixed that and was thinking “beach resort.” (Read “golf resort” because that’s what he was REALLY thinking, although I was clueless back then.) That cruise had really sounded nice, but okay, this option was fine. That he had to move his golf clubs around to get my suitcase in the trunk of his car when he arrived at my house early that morning should have been a hint.
We stopped for breakfast at a diner, our dress-up attire and my corsage looking a little odd among the bibbed overalls and jeans. He spilled tomato juice on his pants.
“We aren’t going to be able to get married ON the island,” he clarified. “The county seat is on the mainland and that’s where the courthouse is. We have an appointment at 1.”
The trip took several hours but I felt like we were flying. I kept braking involuntarily on the passenger side, trying to slow the breathtaking speed. I needed some more time to make sure about this. . . needed time for second thoughts. I looked over at the speedometer. . . 50. . . 45. I looked at his face. Pale. Very pale.
We found the courthouse in the tiny county seat without any difficulty. Old it was. . . scenic, it was not. Pickup trucks and cars were parked all over the courthouse grounds and people were milling outside. What was this–a hunt club? Everyone had at least one dog. It was a zoo!
Then we saw the sign: RABIES CLINIC 1-4pm.
Picture it, please. . . the two of us, I in my dress I’d accidentally hemmed too short, he in his tomato juice-stained pants. . . and what seemed the entire county citizenry and their critters.
The judge, a woman, had apparently written her own ceremony, deciding not to separate church and state as she proceeded with vows to delight the most devout Baptist congregation. What we both remember most about the ceremony was watching the ceiling fan which seemed to be lowering ever so slightly as it turned. Edgar Allen Poe had surely overseen its installation and we were mesmerized by it, watching every maddening, s-l-o-w revolution.
We departed as newlyweds, walking out through the two lines of dogs and owners, most of whom were enthusiastically supporting the tobacco industry. Blowing smoke, not throwing rice. At least it wasn’t a spay/neuter clinic.
I was thin then–really! but as he carried me over the threshold and up the stairs he accidentally hit me in the mouth and my lip rapidly passed from “normal” to “beestung” to “Lucky you’ve still got your teeth” in seconds. He staggered from bedroom to bedroom, still under my weight, trying to decide….The four bedrooms in the deluxe villa were all furnished with twin beds. Even the master. We slept on a single twin bed the entire time.
Dinner in the candlelit restaurant was embarrassing: we could barely eat our steaks with one hand, but it seemed the polite thing to do because our matching gold bands gleamed so brightly we feared they would disturb the other patrons. We kept our left hands in our laps.
The next day we walked along the beach and I sat on a large rock and he stood facing me, as the tide swirled around us. Years later he confided that he’d looked at me at that moment and saw a complete stranger. I was thinking, Who IS this girl? He asked if I could recall that moment. Oh yes, I remembered.
I was thinking, What have I done? Who IS this guy?
Have we figured that out yet? Maybe. This I know: he is indeed, Dearly Beloved.