At the airport, on our way to St. Maarten, Michael turned to me and said: “Know what you should write about while it’s fresh?”
Two weeks later, to think that my reminiscence of our wedding day could ever shrink and fade like an old photograph seems implausible. If a normal weekday-workday were filled up with as many brilliant moments as February 24th, 2013 was, I’d be a walking burst of sunshine sifting through a daily grind that no longer felt like a grind. Morning commutes into SoHo would have me smiling bright at strangers and my street cart coffee would taste like cappuccino in a cobblestoned piazza. An overflowing inbox of bolded emails would all say one affable, amorous thing after the next, and conference rooms would be reserved not for meetings but for further merriness the cubicles only failed to contain. Peking duck cones and Pigs-in-the-blanket would fly around on platters, making pit stops at my desk first before moving on to the President. The Join.me numbers got dialed to get you to join me on the dance flo’. But these are not the workdays we are given. And if they were, how would the really good ones stand out? Stay fresh?
There’s no such thing as a difficult conversation on your wedding day, thank god. Nothing needs be worked out, analyzed, reported on. You are there to commit yourself to the one, new person you now love the most in life and to be surrounded by the ones who can attest to loving you almost as much. I can’t really begin to chronicle, nor do I want to chronicle, every split second that made up this wedding day, but like an old photograph will help do, I feel like writing up a slice of life into its moments.
Nerves got the best of me at exactly 4:44am Sunday, 2/24/13. My stomach in knots had me up in the dark from those minutes forward through the morning, at which point my tongue was aflame from all the fresh ginger I’d been chewing. I sat in my living room, looking out the windows, and breathing deeply. My friend, Rebecca, had stayed the night with me while Michael slept at his parents’ house, and as I looked back at her sleeping soundly in my bed, all I could think about was how thankful I was not to be alone in the dim before sunrise. Rarely do I feel sick but when I do I get scared that the feeling will never go away, that I will need to push through life feeling nauseous and woozy. At 6am, with hot tea and deep breathing apparently not on my side, I texted Sackett Street for parental suggestions that one day I know I will have down pat and under my belt, ready for doling out: Fresh sliced ginger, bananas, crackers, lots of water to stay hydrated. Don’t go for a run this morning. Done and done. Sunday morning turned into a mending test. Could I feel better by the time I had to walk the aisle? I thought back to the night before the Brooklyn Half-Marathon, last May, when all my energy went to nipping a nasty sore throat in the bud. I worked and worked at ridding it, practically willing myself to feel better, having silent conversations in my head with God, ridiculous stuff. I can’t push natural remedies enough. (Although I’ve never gone the quick fix route.) They’re real and they work. Apple cider vinegar mixed with water. Bananas. Blueberries. Crackers. Fresh ginger. By noon, I was good to go.
Four hours later, sitting in the back room of the Green Building, surrounded by my best girlfriends and guyfriends, minutes before walking out into what I’d been daydreaming about for the last 5 ½ months, God said “just kidding!” to our conversation and hit me with knots. It’s normal, everyone said, and an L&B’s pizza bite attached to a toothpick was handed to me. Comfort flowed through my body at that point. Right! L&B’s pizza bites. Outside the back room, these were being served to everyone – a little “welcome to the wedding!” pre-ceremony nosh and one of our first wedding brainstorms Michael and I had stamped our feet down with approval. And we’ll serve L&B’s! Yes. Obviously. After a morning of straight up ginger, water, and bananas, L&B’s had never tasted this good. (Well, maybe it had.) In that moment, the real cure for my nerves had been familiar, memory-lane food.
Call me an emotional eater, but that quick nosh swung me back 4 ½ years ago to the springtime bike ride Michael and I took from Carroll Gardens to L&B’s. It was our first time bike riding together, and our relationship was still so new that I remember still trying to impressively dress. The weather was too warm for skinny jeans, but I threw them on anyway. After some sticky pedaling to 3rd Street to pick him up, I found him wearing a full-on bicycle-racing suit, filling water bottles, and pumping air into his tires. We went back to Sackett Street to not only change into shorts… but to get my helmet, too. Safety before beauty, I guess. (My mom can thank him for that.) We biked along Ocean Parkway talking about things I wish I could remember (perhaps I should have written them down) and finally ended up at L&B’s, eating squares outside, sharing spumoni, and feeling Brooklyn. We took a picture that day and I’ve had it framed ever since because it was a good day. A really good day. Looking back, it was the brief realization that I could be (and should be) as comfortable as I ever want or need to be with him. Shows need not be put on.
I thought about that as my parents walked me down the aisle. Even though ceremonies, by ritual significance, possess somewhat of a theatrical quality, I really wanted ours to feel like that bike ride down Ocean Parkway. It totally did.