One year ago today.
One year ago today I was standing in his mother’s bathroom in my underwear — nearly falling over as I tried to take off my Doc Martens — ready to put my wedding dress on.
One year ago today I was sitting on his lap on the rocks at the back of the yard by the raspberry bushes. Our photographer stopped to change lenses, saying “Don’t do anything cute until I’m ready!” I surreptitiously poked my tongue out and licked his cheek while she wasn’t paying attention.
One year ago today I was standing on the back deck and freaking out because the processional song started playing too early. I hyperventilated as my maid of honor told me to seriously chill out.
One year ago today I was standing in front of one hundred people but speaking only to The Boy… retelling the story of the magic summer, the summer when we fell in love.
One year ago today I was nearly dropping the ring as I moved to put it on his finger.
One year ago today he was hunching over trying to speak into the microphone, which was still set at my height. I couldn’t help myself, “Oh for god’s sake, just raise it!” Everyone laughed, and someone in the front row said, “And so it begins.”
One year ago today the clouds finally burst and doused us all in thirty seconds of cool, blissful rain.
One year ago today we were standing in front of the long driveway where it all began, holding hands and grinning conspiratorially at each other.
One year ago today we were married.
My wedding day was the happiest day of my life so far. It was electric and intoxicating. The golden glow of thousands upon thousands of string lights was reflected in the starry eyes of all my family and friends, and of course in those of The Boy I love. I felt the most intense, buoyant euphoria…. like my whole world was encased in a shimmering bubble that was destined to pop, but for that one moment I was seeing everything reflected through the glassy iridescence, and it was just exactly perfect.
I’ve only ever felt like that once before. It was the day when the junebugs hummed in the tall weeds, and the light bent and refracted in rainbow whorls around the green leaves, and I looked at him, and he looked at me, and we both started the long fall that has never since slowed or stopped.
It’s an incredible feeling, and one that I return to often in my memory, remembering it with a kind of bittersweet yearning, because I’ll probably never feel that way again. And that’s ok, because my wedding was a dazzling ecstatic culmination of family, and friends, and me, and The Boy… this whole community of people feeling the exact same unparalleled joy all at the same time, but my marriage is about so much more than that one perfect moment.
It’s about the conversation we had a few days before the wedding, when he and I were taking a break from the planning whirlwind to wander quietly in the woods together. It was the happiest I’d seen him in months, and I smiled softly to see him so at home amongst the trees. As if he could hear what I was thinking, he stopped dead in his tracks and turned to me. “I’m not happy in LA. I think we need to live somewhere else,” he said. And all the hurt, and anxiety, feelings of being lost were so evident in his face that I just said, “Ok. I’ll go wherever you want.”
It’s about the time I got the stomach flu in March, and he made me mashed potatoes because I asked him to, even though he knew I was just going to throw them up again.
It’s about preparing our joint tax return, sitting side by side as I filled out and signed all the documents, passing them wordlessly to my right for him to sort into piles.
It’s about going to see Phil Lesh together, listening to the band play this song, and turning to whisper to him, “We’re so lucky.” It’s about him whispering back, “I was just thinking the same thing.”
It’s about grinding my teeth down to little nubs of frustration because he’s developed some sort of psychic awareness of exactly when I’ve sat down to write, and that’s when he suddenly decides he has thirty questions I absolutely need to answer immediately.
It’s about how I can’t ask a simple question without getting a twenty minute lecture on physics/3D modeling software/meteorology/firearm safety/wilderness skills. It’s about how I roll my eyes every time, but this is actually one of the reasons I fell in love with him.
It’s about how I’ve discovered that the most effective way to communicate an idea to him is to draw a picture, so at some point in nearly every conversation I find myself hunting around on his desk for the sketch pad.
It’s about how he can’t send an email without me looking at it. It’s about the inevitable argument that ensues when he doesn’t write down exactly what I dictated.
It’s about how I didn’t have enough appropriate socks to hike in, so I took all of his to Israel.
It’s about how I’m slowly learning to cope with his anxiety, to help him figure out how to deal with unexpected or unwanted outcomes and minor setbacks without losing sight of the big picture.
It’s about how he’s figuring out how to communicate with me, to use words in ways that are completely unfamiliar, foreign, and often uncomfortable for him, because he knows that’s what I need.
It’s about how we’ve started to realize that, even in the middle of a fight, we can stop and say, “Let’s just both apologize and have a better day from here.” It’s about learning to really mean that and follow through.
We have learned so much this year. It’s surprising at times, because we’ve known each other for so long, but there is still so much to discover about each other. It’s not that I’m learning new things about him, per se… more that my understanding is deepening, growing more complex. This delicate spiderweb of shared stories, and personal histories, and old grudges, and childhood memories, is constantly expanding but also wrapping in on itself as we become more and more entangled with each other. In six years, we will reach the tipping point where we will have known each other for more than half of our lives.
It has been a year of adventure, of unknowns, and of goodbyes. There has been so much change–some good, some bad, some magical–that at times we’ve both felt completely overwhelmed. Through all of that, it has been unspeakably meaningful to have each other as constants. We have not always lived up to those roles…. I have been guilty at times of being a bad partner and a lousy teammate, and so has he. But, as obvious as it sounds, I think we’re both learning that the point isn’t to be perfect, it’s to be together.
But every once in awhile, his fingers will brush the palm of my hand on our walk home from the restaurant, or I’ll look up and find him reading the email I’m writing over my shoulder, or I’ll wrap my arms around him from behind as he does the dishes, or Ripple will come on the radio on a long drive home, and in his eyes I can see — just for a moment — the reflection of all of those stars, and fireflies, and sparklers that I saw on July 20th, 2013.
All photos by the incomparable Katch Silva.