Fingers tighten over a hand, pulling the arm close. I can’t see her face but he smiles and I know she said something to him, with her eyes. The southern Louisiana sun is pouring down on us but she is radiant and he doesn’t seem to feel the heat.
He looks happier than I have ever seen him.
And I’m close enough to see these details, the smirks and hands reaching for the other and silent messages passing from one to another. I remember other days, how first one, then the other, pulled back from the edge, how he’d tried to trust there was a plan, how hard he tried and how long he waited, until at the very end it was she waiting and wondering what was going wrong.
I’ve watched the tortuously slow progression from friends into lovers. And all the while, watching, I wondered how they couldn’t see what I did: that without doubt God had made her for him, and he for her.
The pastor reads the vows and for a moment I hold my own husband’s eye, and I’m remembering when it was he and I repeating those words, and the other standing there as witness.
He calls them man and wife and she holds her bouquet high above her head in celebration and we need a better way to celebrate than clapping.
Evening falls and the shadows under huge old trees fall longer. A breeze off the full-to-overflowing river picks up, and Spanish moss dances under the branches.
We dance inside; the DJ plays old Armenian music and his family swarms the dance floor, dancing in a circle around them. We watch, and laugh, and his baby brother is stealing the show.
And when we wave good-bye with sparklers and the music is quiet and all but a few have gone home, I slip her flowers into the jar for her mother to take home. The late nights have caught up with me and my feet are tired and I can’t quite remember my way from one building to another, but I’m thinking of them, of how they smiled.
It’s been a long time coming, this marriage of two people who couldn’t be more suited to each other. But that only makes this day more beautiful.
So here’s to you, dear friends; may the rest of your story be a little simpler than the start.
(Oh, and I told you so.)