“You are always new. The last of your kisses was ever the sweetest; the last smile the brightest; the last movement the gracefullest.” ~ letter from John Keats to Fanny Brawne
Two weddings and an anniversary, oh my!
Saturday we celebrated twenty-two years of marriage (yes, we feel old) by attending two weddings, the first a home wedding at our dear friends’ antebellum farmhouse. An abundance of Queen Anne’s lace and hydrangeas and other sweet touches—and a beaming bride—echoed Anne and Gilbert’s wedding.
The second, an evening affair, was held outside a storied, old brick manse. The bride, all fair skin and pale blonde curls, looked like a dream in ivory, and what photographers call the golden hour enhanced the effect.
But. Two weddings in one day—in the warm stickiness of the South—made for one tired Highly Sensitive Person. (Ugh. My newly discovered label, adding to introvert and dreamy and odd…) So after an hour or so of DJ-spun hits from the eighties and nineties, someone I know took her glass of wine and headed to the moonlit kitchen garden, where the night sounds of crickets and tree frogs almost drowned out the distant beat of “Footloose.” On the way, I was questioned by the woman in pearls who seemed to be running the show: “Ma’am! Ma’am! Can I help you?” “I was just… going to look at the garden,” I answered sheepishly. Busted, I thought. But she softened, nodding. “Ah, the music is loud for you. There’s a park bench you’ll enjoy.”
Thank you, Lord, for sympathetic historic venue ladies and cool iron seats and the smells of sage and lavender and a secret spot to kick off punishing shoes and run aching feet through grass. And, I suppose, thank you for making me quirky enough to need such things…
After a bit, I reminded myself that no amount of quirkiness grants me pardon to be rude, so I reentered the scene and smiled and watched folks with more sensible footwear cut a rug on the dance floor. There were plenty of other wallflowers, but it was too noisy for conversation.
And then my understanding groom suggested we go.
As we Ubered (now apparently a verb) back to our hotel in a quiet Camry, the spouse and I made an uncanny connection with a young man from Afghanistan, who didn’t mind our questions and shared his hard story with us. He’d been back over with American special forces, but his bride told him after they married, “No more army.” Shortly after that, she told him, “No more you.”
“I still love her…” he confided.
On a day of unions and remembrances and swirly hearts printed on programs, a lump formed in my throat. We pulled up to the Hilton and the husband squeezed the driver’s hand. “Hang in there, my brother.”