They sat by the water, watching the sun sparkle on the clear surface, telling stories with the rocks on the bottom of the lake. They played with beach rackets, throwing their heads back and letting the wind catch their laughter. The dogs, almost as happy as they were, chased the balls that got away from them. They relished the quiet magic of this place: the soothing sounds of the waves hitting the dock and the cool breeze that was just another reason for them to take refuge in each other’s arms. They had no neighbours peeking at them, no one to check up on them except the night sky like none other they had ever seen. The stars spoke of their ancestors and guardians, the ones that told them they were exactly where they needed to be. They went for walks in the woods. They stepped into the water, covered their calves and stayed as long as they could bare the shivers that ran over their entire bodies. But mostly, they allowed themselves to just be, to bask in the warm embrace of the land, sunkissed on the deck, reading, writing, holding hands. They were on their honeymoon after all.
They were me. Me and my wife, that is.
I didn’t think I would ever write those words. I didn’t think I would get married, though perhaps somewhere deep inside, the idea wasn’t so far fetched. At some point in my childhood I’m sure I imagined myself in a beautiful white gown with my handsome husband carrying me out into the sunset. I don’t remember dreaming that dream, but surely it happened. Every little girl dreams of being a bride, right? Barbie and Ken taught me that.
And then in high school I felt different from all of them. I wanted to be loved, liked. I wanted to belong and yet I wanted to stay different. The mold was attractive but so uncomfortable to try to fit into.
University came and I fell in love. We made a life together. We travelled the world, moved often, learned to be adults together. I thought that was it. For sure. He looked good on me. We looked good together. They all liked us so much. Twelve years later we bought a house and moved to where our “real life” would begin. You know the one – the one the adults live, the one that is settled, the one where you go to the market on Saturday mornings, the one where you garden and cook and keep the house clean. You know, the life you’re supposed to have. The one where she feels a little sad and lonely. The one where he works a lot and tries his best. The life in which they love each other dearly but wish somehow things were just a little different.
And then it all changed. That’s when I met her. That’s when the Universe reminded me of the lesson I’m still learning, the lesson we all have been learning our whole life. Things change and though you have the ability to choose, happiness doesn’t always come in a pretty pink package. Sometimes happiness comes in the shape of chaos, at least for a while.
It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. And the easiest. The bomb went off and the trees fell down, roots exposed, sap bleeding out a little. She scooped me up, nursed my bruises and, with the kind of patience only love can provide, she kissed each of my scars and turned them into butterflies. We broke each other’s hearts open, kept waiting for them to stop growing, but they never did. Our hearts as vast as the sky. We held each other’s hurt and turned it into songs. She helped me find my long lost voice.
We didn’t want to spend a minute a part. When distance separated us, we texted sweetness. Early on, she drove with her windows down, music blaring, wind in her hair, and I wrote that I could marry her. I tasted the richness of happy, the warmth of gratitude, the thrill of new love. We kept waiting for the intensity to dissipate but it still hasn’t. Sure, its shape has changed a little. We’ve made a home together, one where we go to the market on Saturdays, a home where we garden and cook and clean. But every day we pause to look around at what we’ve created. We drink our love.
And so we gathered our friends and family. We found a barn and a field. I wore a blue dress with flowers printed on it, hers was red and flowing. The East, South, West and North guided our day. The eagle feather blessed our hands. The sun and the sweet breeze wrapped themselves around our shoulders. The trees and birds whispered their wisdom. And our people, all of them, cheered our loved. The ones that were uncomfortable couldn’t deny what was between us. They smiled and raised their glasses and toasted us with softness in their eyes.
And here we are together, married to each other, married to the moon and the sky, married to the joys and the sorrows, to the comforts and the challenges, learning, laughing, growing, side by side. Here we are, marveling at the shades of red and purple, the pinks and yellows of our life together. We’re learning and teaching those around us that the light shapes its way in many forms. It will seep through the cracks and fill your beating heart with joy. If you let it.