Wednesday, November 30, 2011

take these broken wings and learn to fly

My good friend of a few years got married a few weeks ago to his great friend of a few years. There. When you say that casually it doesn't sound like much of a big deal, but what a gloriously big deal it was.

It's still strange. He's the one of the first of any of my really great friends to marry off. I've been to a few weddings, those of teachers, distant family members. Then it moved up to cousins. Then to distant or childhood buddies, which were strange and lovely, seeing souls I've known since I was two or younger tie the ole knot. But this. This was Strangetown USA. But it made me even happier than I thought it would.

I, like most people my age, have the habit of turning situations around and making them about myself. At least in my head and in my thinking. So I anticipated many many existential crises and much self-reflection as I took my little bus ride down to my SoCal home, but the good news was I mostly spared. Almost entirely. For the first time in awhile I managed to make a great event about exactly what it was. Face value-- as much as love can be taken at face value, I suppose. Anyway, my point is that the happy was just indescribably infectious. Thankfully I was allowed to participate in the prep for the wedding in many ways, which pleased me utterly. I was given the task of picking, downloading, and attempting to arrange the music as appropriately as possible for the reception-- something that made me just as pleased as punch but also gave me about 500 heartattacks because what if I just maim the reception entirely AND NO ONE DANCES NOT A ONE?! I also made tissue paper pom-poms (so. many. good god I am now the most talented of the pompom makers, though, just in case you ever need any pom work done. I'm there) The day before the wedding I was stowed away in a kitchen in some church building, busily stuffing pumpkins with that crazy water absorbent stuff that florists stick flower arrangements in, and everyone was smiling and happy and proud and so I was I, I think.

That night, after crazed pumpkin-packin', we feasted and I got to see what rehearsal dinners are like. I've never been to one that I can recall, never having been a part of a wedding of course (and not really being an official part of this one. but I don't suppose that crossed anyone's mind. I blend?). It was heartwarmingly weird, and after that was the wedding rehearsal itself. I didn't really know where I should position myself seeing as I had no assignment for the wedding, so I picked a spot in the back where I could see everything but remain removed. The wedding party, all lovely, the bride, all lovely, the groom, all groomed, the pastor, all precious. The song, Blackbird by The Beatles, which I can no longer tattoo on my shoulder as planned.

The wedding itself was just a beautiful thing, and I sniffled a few times. But by that point it seemed like pleasant ritual to me. The goofy, crazy, messy night before in a nearly empty church, bride and groom clad in plaid and skinny jeans (what hipsters in denial) was the real thing to me. Megan had told me she was going to pick Blackbird as the wedding march, and of course we all know what happens in the ceremony, but I guess I was not anticipating all of the intense feelings that hit me as I witnessed these two people that I know well come together. As Blackbird was played perfectly on a quiet guitar I felt like my heart was going to leak a little bit. Strange. Empathy is strange. Those feelings don't arise due to pure happiness at the event or sadness for whatever reason, but rather when you know someone who is going through something major and really KNOW them you understand at least a fragment of their feeling. And I can't explain it, but I just got it in that moment. And that's where Blackbird goes from now on, it's slotted away in the box of beautiful wedding moments that do not belong to me. But at least I had a chance to share it.

The day of the ceremony was nuts as I toggled back and forth between Amanda's house where I was then staying and curling my hair and back to the location of the reception, making sure everything I was responsible for was squared away (and being kidnapped by random people I didn't know to help hoist tents and whatnot). Then the wedding. Which was just giddy and joyous and unifying (WHICH I GUESS IS THE POINT). Then the reception. Where I have never danced harder in my life. Literally all night long (at least five hours, I guess). Everyone was psyched out of their minds, there was wine, and by god, there was dancing (the first 20 songs or so were so perfectly arranged, every wedding DJ should bow to me). Then, gone. California, gone. Back to the land of the ice and snow.

Which is not so terrible. And now that I've been forced to disregard Blackbird, I've made my choice of tattoo: I don't want to live on the moon.

1 comment:

Laura Allyson said...

This made me cry a little bit. The pompoms, the pumpkins, the music, the CHAMPAGNE (closest I've been to being drunk, actually, pathetically), the dancing. The song. That song makes me cry now and also has left me for the memory of that day. And it's not a sad thing; it just... is. How existential of it.

I'm so glad you were there for all of it. You do blend so nicely.