Monday, March 7, 2011

I'd Go Anywhere With You: My crazy wedding story

16 years ago...
(revised, 2013)

Lewis stood out behind Uncle Logan's apartment by the little creek running at the edge of the yard. "This is as close as I'll ever feel to a bomber pilot making his run," he thought, tongue-in-cheek. The time had come to finish the rather shocking upheaval that came with falling for and marrying a girl he'd just met in a genuine whirlwind romance. But sometimes you know.
So he donned jeans and vest, so stubbornly picked to reflect his absolute stoicism and simplicity, He had run out of time to find the sort of fey poet shirt that Dixie and Gina thought might make a nice touch. He scratched his beard and cranked up the Corolla. It had been built back in the days when they were made in Tennessee and known to last.
Meanwhile, Gina, the bride-to-be, was surrounded by Lewis’s cousins, her sisters, and other well-wishers preparing her for beauty on the big day. She needed a nap. The rain outside had drizzled away a very nice idea to hold the wedding in the park.
The cousins debated on ribbons, different barrettes. The cousin Gina had virtually raised from a toddler, Vanessa, was combing her hair. She remembered when Vanessa used to call her “Mom,” a habit she’d gently discouraged. People at high school would see them together around town and ask if they were mother and daughter. Of all the cousins she was asked to babysit, almost daily, Vanessa had been the one to curl up and sleep with her for naps. Having a little sister would’ve already kept Gina busy, but her family had kept the cousins over night, too, not to mention the years they all lived together.
All these people from her past---many of which, she hadn’t seen recently---surrounded her now, talking to each other. She gave hardly a thought to the fact that no one spoke very much to her. Several different ideas about make-up began to show up on Gina’s face, as she sat playing their sleepy, hapless dress-up doll. As a whole, the group effort was easily twice the make-up Gina would ever wear, an extreme departure from her usual, none.
Many girls came in and out of the bedroom. Only Gina was expected, by tradition, to be the prisoner. The girls insisted on playing the game: she wasn’t to see her groom before the wedding, to avoid bad luck. It was worse luck for her that the person she felt who understood her best wasn’t there to help keep her awake, even though she had snuggled up with him in a bedroll on the kitchen floor, just the night before.
Dixie came over and started placing flowers in her sister’s braid. Gina’s eyes fell upon the enduring carnation, still standing colorfully in its vase full of Sprite, over a month later.
Something between stubbornness, faith, and smoldering attraction --- maybe a little fear, in the distance?--- had made him adamant, made them both adamant. They had fallen in love and were going to stay that way forever.
The reasons behind the wedding, however, centered around family, in so many ways. For one, they might start a family any day. Despite Lewis’ anarchistic thoughts on conventions, Gina was well worth the sincere gesture and things would be simpler in most every way if they were married.
For another, Lewis didn't want her family to worry about her going off with this guy they'd just met. She'd never even spent more than a slumber party night away from home, and here we were, headed 1500 miles west into the Unknown. No job, no home, one contact, all in faith that a better life could be made in Colorado. Couldn’t he offer her something more for taking this leap?

With the rain, the wedding would be set in her house---her living room, the chapel, with well-wishers seated and a ton of cousins peeking in through the windows.

The announcement at Gina's job, which she didn't tack up but which she couldn't avoid, successfully gathered her co-workers, her sister's co-workers, and her brother's ex-co-workers know. Her impulsive decision to marry her new boyfriend was going to lead to a lovely ceremony, quickly put together in her hometown. It was the closest thing to a Charlie Sheen moment in their lives, so out of support and curiosity for the bizarre, many, many of them came.

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