(I am hesitating finishing this entry because that is one last element of the wedding that has slipped into posterity. It should, letting itself be memorialized forever and future fodder for a book, but I feel a block when I try to finish this.)
There is barely a spare inch in the refrigerator. Leftover food is packed so Tetris-tightly. Remove any one piece and replace the remaining foodstuffs without it all collapsing is a feat. I cannot fathom how Rebecca managed it. Possibly, she could only do this by some latent genetic savantism applying largely to filling refrigerators and trucks to the breaking point.
It is Monday, the last day we have use of this house. Collapsing is the point of the day, more so when the maid shows up hours earlier than we expected her. Fortunately, having had Daniel and Rebecca here prior and during the wedding means that most things that could be missing or out of place are pristine. There seemed to be no point during this weekend that they were not handling situations so that they need never arise to my attention. Amber noticed, of course, because this wedding was more an extension of her, like any other artwork. As the groom, I was graced with the ability to just be appreciative and impressed.
Amber has dedicated herself to sorting the wheat from the chaff in the kitchen, deciding what to transport to our apartment and what must be carried to the dumpster a little up the road. While I feel like a caddish and wasteful First World person, throwing out so much means everyone was so loving and giving that there was simply too much food to eat in one weekend.
Amber works without mercy until she comes to a heaping bowl of lettuce, which she grew and picked specifically to adorn the organic, grass-fed, locally farmed hamburgers at our wedding and, though it was outside with the other food for the duration of the wedding, which no one ate. Perhaps we intended it as a very boring salad.
Amber's eyes turn saucer large as she looks up at Daniel and me, holding the bowl in her hand as though it is a baby that won't move.
"Administrative decision," Daniel begins, taking it from her, "that lettuce is too wilted to be worth transporting." He dumps the bowl into one of the garbage bags. "Sorry."
Amber pouts, since this represented a large portion of her crop, taking many hours of tender care, and it is about to go to a landfill.
I take her by the shoulders so she will look at me instead of the bag. "No, you did a good thing. Even if it didn't reach the destiny we had planned for it, your intentions were great."
There were a few glitches during the wedding, some of which we don't realize until much later. The videographer records only an hour and seventeen minutes of raw footage for the four and a half hours he was on the clock. What he does film, he does not do well (we did not need a long shot of a plane in the sky or a utility truck pulling in, though we would have rather liked to see the wedding party process down the aisle instead of him choosing that moment to fiddle with his lens). Several people who we hoped would be present had their plans fall through at the last moment. Several others who could come were with us only for a few dozen minutes on either side of our ceremony. I suppose can forgive most of these in trade for the best weekend of my life.
Nothing between Amber and me has changed, except by degrees. I lose the uncertainty that this wedding won't happen, because it obviously has. Our relationship is not magically transformed into something different, because it is already the best relationship I've had. I like to believe that some higher version of me guided me to Amber, but that could be wishful thinking. I don't place expectations on her, beyond that she will let me hold her hand as she becomes more the person she wants to be.
Sunday, Amber and I made breakfast for our family, which boiled down to only being her family, less her grandparents. My parents had no motivation to drive all this way for pancakes and eggs, though they promised that they would be over later to deal with the coolers they lent us and the kegs we failed to empty despite our best efforts.
I joked more than once that I wish I could keep this weekend forever until I got every iteration, all the interactions, until I had experienced it fully and to perfection. You never talk to all the people you want to at your wedding, do all the things you hope. Saturday night, someone mentioned enjoying the vegetarian chili and I looked around in low-grade panic. "There was chili?" Not that I wanted the chili, necessarily, but that there was an enjoyable experience at my wedding and I was not there, or even aware of the possibility of it.
My idea of Heaven would be this wedding, being with so many people I love and no one as much as Amber. I tell Amber that this is now a place I expect to come to in pleasant dreams, replacing Lake George. She thinks this is romantic, but I mean it seriously. It is a place and time where I want to be. Daniel jokes that we will come here on our first and tenth anniversary.
I think that, to a degree, honeymoons must exist to give the married couple a place to be other than the ceremony site. I want to hang out there, stroll the hills, have bonfires, and talk with friends forever. Never has everything made so much sense to me. Right now, anything that isn't this wedding pales in comparison. I look at Amber and I cry because I am so happy with her. This well exceeded my best expectations.
As we were putting things in the car, Daniel asked, "So, what do you think?"
"Big wedding? I'm not so sure. Marrying Amber? I'm definitely sure." Then I added, "Though, having already married Amber, I would have to justify it to myself."
"Right, you've made an investment."
"Exactly. If she had left me at the altar, I would have been just as confident that her running away was a blessing, right?"
Everyone-especially Daniel and Rebecca-go so far above and beyond so consistently. I can't handle how utterly loved I feel, how supported and cared for. I have never in my life felt this way. It did not occur to me that people would be so giving, possibly because I doubt my own capacity for giving.
So much sprang up around us. The tent appeared as if out of nothingness within forty-five minutes. There was a lawn. An hour later, there was a new structure. Today, the tent disappeared as quickly. I see Amber gets sad as the tent vanishes, because it is a little bit of her wedding leaking away. Yesterday, she mourned that her mother threw out the plastic wrapped mints that were on a small table outside the port-a-potty because there was a storm overnight. She doesn't care about the mints, of course, but they were a part of the wedding that is casually discarded.
The wedding was not the best day of my life. It was an amazing day surrounded by fantastic days I will never forget but, with Amber's hand in mine and with the love and support of my community, I feel confident better days are soon to come.
Soon in Xenology: Honeymoon!