Thursday, November 18, 2004

15 Years Ago Today ...

"What are you doing here," asked Dianne Worthen, my Karate Sensei, with a spreading smile of surprise. She was incredulous that I would show up for class just a few hours before my wedding was to take place. Indeed, the truth was that I had to be there. I was so full of excited energy that I needed an outlet to safely tap off a bit, lest I be reduced to a gibbering wreck.

It was a crisp day, slightly overcast with the silvery-gray glow that comes early with Texas winters. In its plastic cleaner's bag, my tuxedo hung over the back of one of the long-legged chairs that cozied up to the breakfast bar in my apartment. The images of wide-collared, pastel tuxedos with contrasting piping hanging in the halls of friends and family cemented my decision to go with a classic and timeless style that wouldn't induce groans when viewed years later in a dusty photo album.

Purged of my excess energy, I drove to my my parents' home to wash up and get dressed. My grandmother had arrived the night before from New Orleans to attend the wedding, and greeted me at the door with a barrage of kisses in a swirling cloud of rose perfume. After I showered and doused myself with my own cologne, she was a good sport and didn't tease me too much as she braided my eight inch rat-tail, an affectation popular in the 1980's and the only outward sign of subversiveness in my otherwise button-down image.

With an hour to go before the ceremony, I drove my 1978 Datsun 280Z to Plano Bible Chapel and strategically parked it in a spot I thought would make for a fast getaway later. It was my dream car - fast, nimble and sexy. It's only faults were to be found in its cheap Earl Scheib mocha brown paint job and its propensity for electrical problems. I had given it a very thorough cleaning, inside and out, in preparation for the day. After all, it was to be the carriage in which I'd take home my bride.

Inside, I found that some guests had already arrived and took a moment to visit with them before hiding myself away in the Pastor's office. Jim Lewis was a passionate preacher with the sort of face that rarely hid his mood. Intimidating to look at when he was set upon by righteous anger, today his eyes twinkled with an excited joy. "Are you nervous yet," he asked me with a mischevious grin. I wasn't.

For almost eight years I had dated my bride-to-be. We had known each other since 6th grade. She was the best friend of my then-girlfriend, Carrie. When Carrie and I amicably parted company, she suggested that perhaps her best friend would be a better match. She had no idea how right she was at the time. We became friends and would attend events together when my parents would let me invite a friend along, but it wasn't until a trip to the Japanese Gardens in Fort Worth that I realized how much I'd come to love the gentle spirit and radiant beauty that she posessed. There, standing on the arched bridge that stretched across the koi pond, sun highlighting hair that danced lightly in the breeze, she turned to face the camera I held in suddenly shaky hands. The viewfinder framed an angel, and at the tender age of 13, I was forever lost.

All through high school and college we dated. We developed that comfortable familiarity that long-married couples share, and indeed, even among our families and friends there was no doubt that someday, when the time was right, we would wed.

And so it was, 15 years ago today that I stood calmly in my Pastor's office. I wasn't nervous, because there were no doubts, no lingering concerns, no uncertainties about what I was about to do. I wanted her with an aching in my heart that threatened to crush me under the weight of my longing. My older brother served as best man, and together with the pastor, we walked solemnly out to the designated spot we had rehearsed just the night before and turned to face the entryway to the sanctuary in anticipation.

The music swelled and was joined by the staccato rushing of my pounding pulse as the gathered friends and family rose. It was then that they beheld what I had seen all along, as my angel glided into the room and took final posession of my heart.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you! This is the best gift you could have given me. Better than a dozen roses. Happy Anniversary!!
Your Loving Wife

P.S. Everyone at the office just thinks you are the best husband ever. What can I say, it's true. I'm very lucky!!

November 18, 2004  
Blogger Dianne said...

How sweet! Congratulations to you and Your Loving Wife on your anniversary!

November 21, 2004  

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