Twenty

Twenty years ago, I woke up single. 

I got showered. I nursed a hangover. I got dressed. I let my brother drive me to the church down the road. A few dozen friends & family showed up. And my best friend walked through the door, and grinned at me.

Transient

We were young. but we we pretty sure this thing was the stuff you could spend a lifetime searching for.  

We promised to help each other. To hold each other. To cheer & to comfort. To tend to, listen to, and to cherish. We stood in front of our friends, and promised we'd follow one another through any adventure. Take on any challenge. And come out the other side - hopefully laughing, sometimes crying, but always together. 

Twenty years of moves, children, scars and scares, new jobs, road trips, book-store dates and five star vacations, of poverty and success, animals and hare-brained ideas. Of memories & conversations. Of getting it wrong, and of making it right. Of passion, and of fights. Of making up with water balloon fights or sometimes unspoken apologies. Of teasing. Of imperfections. Of completeness. Of long flights to explore new places together.  Of simple, quiet nights with all the best things within arms reach. Of beauty. Of shared fears & comforts. Of constant, steady, amazing love. 

My Bride is the most beautiful woman I've ever met, and my best friend, and I am more than certain that I'm the luckiest man I've ever known. 

19 years on

This picture has a story behind it.  

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Well, I mean, yes. This was our wedding day, one-year-minus-one-day after we met, and six months after I asked her parents for their blessing to marry this beautiful girl that had become my best friend.  

But that's not the story. That's story. It's a good story. But look at the car for a second. 

We were getting married in the San Francisco area. My Bride was finishing up at UC Santa Cruz. I was finishing up at the Defense language school in Monterey. Neither of us were in San Francisco much. So a lot of the planning was happening by phone. 

At one point, my mother and I were talking on the phone.  

"It's a long way across the country," she said. (She's a smart lady, my Mom. You can't slip anything by her). 

(Hi, Mom!) 

"Yep. But it's pretty out here. And her family has a baker's dozen worth of aunts and uncles, plus a couple of hundred cousins. I think. I haven't met them all. I'm sure you will like them."  

"I'm sure I will. But you know. It's pretty far."

"Uh-huh. But since there's only you two, plus Bro & Sis on my side... well, I appreciate you helping to balance out our side of the church."  

"Yes. I am sure it will be pretty. But ... I don't know. Couldn't you do it someplace more - I don't know - in the middle?"

"In the middle? Like what: Arkansas? We're not going to Arkansas to get married. We're probably not going to Arkansas ever. What the hell are you on about. There are four of you. There are dozens of them. Get your butts on a plane and come see your best looking son get hitched, old woman."  

She did, of course. And she looked gorgeous, and we had a wonderful wedding dance. 

But that's still not the right story.  

Look at the car in the picture. See that? It's a 1955 Rolls Royce.  

There were a lot of decisions to make for the wedding. I was allowed to make very few of them on my own. I checked in before ticking the box. 

"Would you like the 1961 Cadillac? Or the 1955 Rolls Royce?" 

"Why are you asking me this?" 

"I dunno. It says here we have to choose."  

"No. I mean, why haven't you already chosen the Rolls!? Hello!" 

She was right, of course. She still is about most things. 

I was 20. I had already made the only choice that mattered to me. To marry this fantastic woman before she came to her senses.  

And that's why I still call her my Bride, 19 years of happiness later.