Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Always remember to cling to one another


(We started on http://ceaseill.blogspot.com/2011/03/my-crazy-wedding-story_07.html but feel free to read below, it stands well enough on its own.)





The urgency was contagious; against the efforts of no less than four or five of his adorable cousins, she managed to get out the door and into his hands. It was all one big game to them. He'd simply disappeared from Papa's side to reach her through her bedroom door, and barefoot the two of them fled to his getaway car, as the slightest early spring rain began to fall once more.
The chaos and bemusement left in their wake was barely apparent to the two of them.
"Are they going to elope?"
"They BETTER not, after all the trouble we went to arrange a nice wedding on short notice!" "They're going to break up!" "You don't know them, they're more likely to elope than break up." "They'll be back. Maybe it's just the pressure of the day." "Maybe they figured out they are in over their heads. I wonder what will happen next?"
Maybe Lewis and Gina only needed to exchange a comforting message or two; a text with a warm joke, a silly photo, a brief conversation. The confusion it would've saved even in the wake of their sudden exodus, too, may have led to the sister deciding to go through with the wedding song she'd planned, abandoned with the hurt realization now that her shadow had joined another in a profound way. It's so easy to do today---if you can afford your phone, and you almost can't afford NOT to have a phone---it's easy to take for granted what the gulf between them felt like, when their feelings and thoughts were centered completely around one another.
How could she deny her heart?
She couldn't. The same set of impulses that drove her to his side for life drove her to him now. Together, they pulled her through the doorway filled with laughing and screaming young cousins who blocked it. Barefoot, they ran out the back door. He picked her up in his arms and hopped over the mud puddles, saving her white wedding dress. He turned his back and used his elbow to open the gate to the waiting car, and they sped away.
The mixed-up household in their wake was forgotten a few minutes, as he drove around her small hometown and they talked, so glad to be together. They kissed as the light drizzle evaporated, and he complimented her on her dress, a converted Prom number found by her frugal family just the week before. He took a few drops of rain from the wind and began to wipe away some of her excess make-up. "There's my baby," he said. "There's the girl I fell in love with."
The sudden flood of his affections, her very first flower, her very first time being truly swept, literally off her feet, and his dazzling offer to run away together only days after their first kiss filled a hole too profound for light. Caring little else for herself, she trusted him, taking the chance to know such love, even should he change his mind and leave her behind. His proposal came the day after his offer to travel to Colorado, and she accepted it without hesitation. He'd re-enacted it many times by now, including one memorable time in the Pardee's parking lot beside Floyd Hospital. He left no question as to his adamant feelings; while some swear so fervently, to this day he loves her still.
The vows revisited in that car seat held them together for all the days to come. The quiet and calm of one another's presence---they were barely out of their teens---gave Lewis the strength and consideration to head back towards the house, with the 2:30 pm wedding start date still in mind.
As they were a few minutes late, speculation and amusement hit a fever pitch. His friends couldn't help but laugh at the minor debacle; who knows what their thoughts were? By now Dixie was in angry tears, feeling left out of anything in her little sister's life for the first time.
Her brother Ash, previously asked to give her away, stood by smiling with his bandaged hand as they entered together. He had smashed it, moving a keg at Stefan’s during a little welcome back party the night before. Perhaps there was no other way, given the circumstances, not the least of which, the spectacle their absence had created, but also, the nature of their courtship, which had transported the two to a unique plane.
The most predictable and obedient child of the family now returned with her rebel to her father's side. Her half an hour of prodigality, apparently, was passed. He laughed and picked up the ceremony with gladness. No one could be said to believe more in the power of love than he, and his words from the Bible and his sincere gift of ceremony to his young daughter moved them both.
The oblivious best man, chosen painfully to avoid choosing over two dear friends, was not necessary for the fortitude offered so often to the groom, although, with some words of communication, perhaps he could've dissolved the confusion. He performed his simple function with great amusement, already prepared for the surreal experience of Lewis's wedding in much the same way one prepares for a Pink Floyd concert.
To add to the surprise, Chris Painter arrived. “I’m sorry I’m busting in here, late!” he said cheerily, if contritely. He only wanted a place on the porch, looking in the window to the living room.
Lewis stopped things for a moment, to rush out and talk to him.
“I didn’t think you were coming!”
“I had to call in at work,” he admitted, “but hey, all the way from Athens, no speeding ticket!”
“Look, I’ve got an idea. It’s stopped raining.”
There was another slight delay. Lewis asked his newly-alert bride something in a whisper. She looked dismayed, but then smiled. Now Lewis asked Benjamin if they could move the vows over to the park.
“I don’t care that it’s not decorated. But half the people here can’t see anyway!”
“Well, it’s your wedding,” chuckled Benjamin. “They sometimes say, ‘it’s your funeral,’ but it’s your call.”
Now, a procession began. It was not so easy for a few of the party to take their numb behinds out of their seats, but soon the street was filled with guests in their Sunday best, a march down the wet street towards the park, just two blocks away. Holding hands, Lewis and Gina walked at its head, with skipping little cousins heralding them loudly all the way.
Lewis came up beside Dixie, who was scowling. “Dixie!” he said, with a conciliatory look behind his smile. “Dixie, darlin’, I’m so sorry. We just wanted to see each other.”
“I know,” she said, sulkily. He realized it was this one bit of mischief Gina had found without her big sister. It just so happened to be the beginning of life on their own. Dixie had accepted all of this, matter-of-factly, but when the two fled right before the ceremony, it had hit her emotionally in a way that made her feel left out. She had planned a lovely song to sing for the two of them, a plan she’d scrapped in her sullen mood. His own mood shifted, as he asked her to please sing anyway. She gave him a big hug. Gina joined in. “I’ll sing it with you, if you want, Dixie,” she said. “You, me and Hannah, too, if you would like.”
“Nah, I got this,” she said, patting her sister’s back. “This is your big day. It’s my pleasure.”
This time, he invited his guy friends to come up with him to walkway. “Okay, dudes,” he said, “you’re all three in charge of making sure I don’t run off again!”
Ed brought him the twelve string guitar Benjamin had brought to the park. Lewis slung the homemade strap over his neck. Hours of practice came down to this, the hardest thing he’d tried to play in his half a year with the instrument. Strumming one simple chord at a time, so that he could keep up with proper fingering and sing, he swallowed his nerves and gave his wedding song a try. It was “In My Life,” a song John Lennon wrote not long after the Beatles had first become an American sensation. He choked up on the words in the middle, as he faced the friends and family around him, some of whom he might never see again. He focused on Gina for strength, and kept it together to the falsetto at the end. He was too nervous to try the simple guitar figure note for note, so he ended it with its signature chords.
“I plan to love you forever,” he told his bride. She could barely resist kissing him.
Now the two walked, hand in hand, up to her father. After the familiar passage by St. Paul, Gina gave her vows from the top of her head.
“I just know that I love you in a way I could love no one else,” she began, “and Lewis King, I want to spend the rest of my life with you. You opened a light into my life, took my hand, and walked with me from my personal darkness. Now I want to walk with you into a future we shape together, every step of the way, with every breath of my life.”
“Beautiful, my darling,” he told her. “Gina Archer, you became the very breath of my life, when you brought your sweet smile, your truth and your spirit, into my presence. All that I looked for with my heart, I found in you. We’ll share a safe harbor between us, wherever we may sail. I wouldn’t choose another day without your laughter, your insight, and your caring. Your beauty, inside and out, will give me inspiration, comfort, and support in everything I try to nurture. Your love has changed my world, and our love together will change the world around us for the better. You have my heartfelt trust, and not one problem, not one fear, will ever keep me from finding freedom in your arms. You have my love until the end of the world, my sweetness. With your courage and honesty and humor, there’s no road I will not dare. Thank you for all you have opened and shown me, of life and my inner self, and thank you for the blessing of your companionship, from the edge of despair to the worlds of eternal bliss. I hope to honor the gift of your life, with the gift of mine, and in giving myself to you, learn a better way of life than any other I’ve ever known. Now and always, I love you.”
Dad Archer pronounced the two husband and wife. Then, shutting the Good Book, he leaned in to hug them both in his strong arms. "Always remember," he said happily, tearfully, "to cling to one another.
The wedding itself, filled with Baptists, did not break out in dancing, though there was great cheer. Covered first in cake, and then in hugs and kisses from their grandmothers and well-wishers, Lewis and Gina tried to spend a little time with every single person there. Lewis did manage to snag the guitar again to play for a few minutes, his cousins twirling and hopping along.
Aunt Victoria came up to congratulate the couple, and insisted on seeing Gina’s ring. Her own daughter had gone through two pre-engagement rings, one engagement diamond, and a wedding ring. She eyed the simple band with an open mouth. “Oh,” she said, with visible disappointment.
Somehow, a picture with Uncle Logan and four or five cousins throwing the bird was made out on the porch.
A conspiracy to meet back at Lewis’ apartment began to circulate among the young adults. The newlywed pair drove away amid a great clangor, and stopped off at Stefan’s Bar and Grill on the way. They pulled the car off several yards away from the dumpster, under the riverside trees. Quickly they made it into the back seat, where her post-wedding outfit became a heap in the back window. They kissed passionately, elated to have endured the ceremony, thrilled to be, for the moment, alone. As Lewis took his new bride quickly, a pair of kitchen workers came out the rear exit. Whether they intended to dump the days trash or just have a quick smoke, they chuckled and steered clear of the blissfully rocking vehicle.
The tent party back at the Juniper Street apartment was remembered for the fifteen or so people crowded within the tent, set up in his sister's room to evoke a sense of romance, as the air filled with the strains of the Beatles' "Revolver" album. When Lewis put on “Norwegian Wood,” he stepped into the tent and smiled to see co-workers and old friends and Dixie, too, gathered, laughing and talking. Before side two, Gina and Lewis had slipped away again to his room. The enormity of the day began to sink in. The amorous nature of their union, however, brought them nothing but pleasure.



Original text, 2011

If cell phones were every where in those days, none of this would've went down quite the same...I imagine.


Maybe Lou and Gina only needed to exchange a comforting message or two; a text with
a warm joke, a silly photo, a brief conversation. The confusion it would've saved even in the wake of their sudden exodus, too, may have led to the sister deciding to go through with the wedding song she'd planned, abandoned with the hurt realization now that her shadow had joined another in a profound way. It's so easy to do today---if you can afford your phone, and you almost can't afford NOT to have a phone---it's easy to take for granted what the gulf between them felt like, when their feelings and thoughts were centered completely around one another.


A deeply intimate experience united them, and in Lou's rush to get the wedding date set as soon as possible, there was very little time to adjust to sharing their wonderful secret with everyone. Perhaps a less superstitious and silly old fashioned motive of young girls who could hardly fathom all of this would've led to a brief conference in the hallway. This created the desperation that led him to the outside of Gina's room, bright notes in the key of 'G' insistently prying his young bride to the window.

"This is bullshit, honey!" he declared. "I want to see you! I want to talk with you!"

How could she deny her heart?

She couldn't. The same set of impulses that drove her to his side for life drove her to him now. Together, they pulled her through the doorway filled with laughing and screaming young cousins who blocked it. Barefoot, they ran out the back door, around the gate to the waiting car, and sped away.

The mixed-up household in their wake was forgotten a few minutes, as he drove around her small hometown and they talked, so glad to be together. They kissed as the light drizzle evaporated, and he complimented her on her dress, a converted Prom number found by her frugal family just the week before. He took a few drops of rain from the wind and began to wipe away some of her excess make-up. "There's my baby," he said. "There's the girl I fell in love with."

No one had quite understood her loneliness at the point she met Lou; Gina's love life had been disappointing even in its newness, and seemed a lost cause by the time they'd met. Her feelings for him were a kind of sweet torture; it was well known he was departing town, but his smile and friendship had been the one bright spot in her private misery. Her weight, carefully shorn away by consistent exercise, had dropped precipitously, her frame carrying less than ninety pounds, and some of that owing to the generous nature of her sister Louemmie, who thoughtfully would sneak bits of chicken into her salads at work. Her despair was a debilitation with which she could work; the wishes of others had always taken precedent, as though she genuinely had little idea how to live for herself.

The sudden flood of his affections, her very first flower, her very first time being truly swept, literally off her feet, and his dazzling offer to run away together only days after their first kiss filled a hole too profound for light. Caring little else for herself, she trusted him, taking the chance to know such love, even should he change his mind and leave her behind. His proposal came the day after his offer to travel to Colorado, and she accepted it without hesitation. He'd re-enacted it many times by now, including one memorable time in the Hardee's parking lot beside Floyd Hospital. He left no question as to his adamant feelings; while some swear so fervently, to this day he loves her still.


The vows revisited in that car seat held them together for all the days to come. The quiet and calm of one another's presence---they were barely out of their teens---gave Lou the strength and consideration to head back towards the house, with the 2:30 pm wedding start date still in mind.

As they were a few minutes late, speculation and amusement hit a fever pitch. His friends couldn't help but laugh at the minor debacle; who knows what their thoughts were? By now sister was in angry tears, feeling left out of anything in her little sister's life for the first time.




Her brother, asked to give her away, stood by smiling with his bandaged hand as they entered together. Perhaps there was no other way, given the circumstances, not the least of which, the spectacle their absence had created, but also, the nature of their courtship, which had transported the two to a unique plane.

The most predictable and obedient child of the family now returned with her rebel to her father's side, and he laughed and picked up the ceremony with gladness. No one could be said to believe more in the power of love than he, and his words from the Bible and his sincere gift of ceremony to his young daughter moved them both. The oblivious best man, chosen painfully to avoid choosing over two dear friends, was not necessary for the fortitude offered so often to the groom, although, with some words of communication, perhaps he could've dissolved the confusion. He performed his simple function with great amusement, already prepared for the surreal experience of Lou's wedding in much the same way one prepares for a Pink Floyd concert.

As for the vows: the distant video camera to this day tells us nothing of what was said, words all nervously improvised but steadily delivered. Lou spoke his vows to the ceiling, as though that was where God could hear them. The gentle father pronounced the two husband and wife, and then, shutting the Good Book, leaned in to hug them both in his strong arms. "Always remember," he said happily, tearfully, "to cling to one another."

And that they did. They always will.

The wedding itself, filled with Baptists, did not break out in dancing, though there was great cheer. The tent party back at the apartment he shared with his sister and her fiance, his original roommate, is remembered for the fifteen or so people crowded within the tent, set up in his sister's room to evoke a sense of romance, as the air filled with the strains of the Beatles' "Revolver" album. Lou and Gina met his dear friend at the Waffle House later for warm congratulation. By the light of the next morning, the car was packed with a tent, food, pans and clothes, and away they left to honeymoon at a commune they'd heard about, somewhere outside Nashville...

...and that, I assure you, is another adventure, itself, that never really has, even today, reached THE END.

2 comments:

Sabrina said...

I'm so happy you two found one another :)

cease ill said...

You two, too, doll!