I am sitting at the beautiful honor table of my daughter’s baptism. Obstructing the view of my guests is the glorious center piece I meticulously chose, shades of pink and white blending into an elegant sphere of color. All had gone according to plan, the simple white cake, a light strawberry shortcake, the perfect spring flavor; the clear crystal party favor- a miniature 1920’s stroller and of course a carefully chosen menu including delights for all tastes. The new mom in me was proud: I had pulled off the perfect intimate and elegant gathering, tap on the shoulder for me. The old single gal in me smirked, a flash of all those late nights parade in front of me, leaving me with a single interrogation point in my mind: “how did I get here?.
My mind shifts clearly to that day in Burlington. My now husband then boyfriend was living in the US and we used to meet in Burlington, Vermont and spend the weekend together. I drove down, he bused it and so we managed to carry on a long distance relationship against all odds. The last day of one particular weekend, on the Sunday late morning, we were lying on the soft grass across city hall. It was one of those perfect July days; sunny and warm, without a hint of humidity therefore my hair was not acting out (for once). The leaves were gently dancing on a soft breeze, the air smelled sweet, almost cotton candy like, all of nature of conspired to make it the loveliest of days. There was a man playing the banjo, some tune that seem to resemble Johny Cash, and a mom nearby enjoying the day just as we were with her infants, whom in my not so correct memory of things were perfectly behaving. I thought to myself this is one of those great days that make up those romantic moments in films.
I looked at the man beside me, with all his imperfections he had one redeeming quality: he loved me. In every sense of the word, this man loves me. He puts up with all my crazy antics, which God only knows are many and has a way of making life seem so simple. What more can a gal want? I turned around and looked at him and the words just poured out: “you know what let’s just do it, let’s just get married”. He laughed the full hearted laugh that you know can never be one of courtesy but always an honest one. He questioned my seriousness then my sanity. I continued: “ Look I love you and you love me, I don’t really need anything else and I don’t see any other reason to wait”. It was almost noon, the sun witness to my madness. Oddly enough I never felt calmer in my life. I never really had one of those: “he’s the one moment” but I did have one certainty that day: I needed to start this new adventure called marriage with him. I knew for a fact that if I didn’t I would regret it and that was enough for me.
His answer was a simple: “ok let’s do it”. We walked over hand in hand to City Hall, filled in all the papers and booked a minister for 3 pm, his bus was leaving at 4:30 pm. The only question I recall him asking was: “ You are gonna say yes right?”. I chuckled at the six foot four man asking me this very obvious question with a nervous smile. That instance of fragility had me sold on an already done deal.
Now that that this was settled what about the rings? We scouted the beautiful downtown area of Burlington to find that any simple gold band was beyond our allowance. Discouraged, we finally encountered what seemed to be a tourist slash hippie shop. The kind that has native chimes hanging from its windows along with the tourist must have: “ I heart Burlington”sweaters. We walked in and had a look around, the store was filled with printed tshirts, Lake Champlain post cards and friendly customer service smiles, you have to hand it to Vermonters they are quite warm and polite. We finally settled on two simple $12.00 bands, no muss no fuss, and wrapped in some inexpensive white tissue paper, boxes were a luxury this store didn’t provide.
We then marched on to the grandiose Lake Champlain sparkling under a 3 o’clock sun. It was blissfully silent, and radiantly peaceful. Our minister right on time was standing waiting for us. Us: the five foot seven Italian girl with the short jeans and stripped navy blazer, us: the tall ravishingly handsome Nigerien in shorts and white t-shirt.
With our simple attire, our humble rings, in a short ceremony we said “I do”, him a little teary, I giggling, both of us a little bolder and a little stronger that we were the day before, starting out this new adventure called marriage together.
Anna Maria D’Andrea-Mori is a Canadian writer who has been creating with her pen since she was ten. Born a Montrealer, her Italian origins are a great source of inspiration that have enabled her to learn, live and inherit a culture filled with warmth, comedy and an appreciation for taking the time to enjoy life. She is currently working on her novel.
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