A year ago today, he asked me to marry him.
I've been counting down the days, determined for things to look forward to. And this is a big one. Marking a year since we moved from Brooklyn Heights; a year of the highest highs and some majorly low-lows. Some quite universal (ie: pandemic and subsequent quarantine) and some belonging solely to us. But, a year of being engaged--of getting used to the way fiancé curves the sides of my mouth, planning a wedding (and a wedding, and a wedding, and a wedding...and another wedding), finding myself in a permanent lock-step. Labels like these feel arbitrary, in some ways, and we talk about it often (especially now). I've been his since the first time he held my hand. But I don't think I would have been able to have gotten through this year without remembering how he asked.
How special it feels to look down at your left hand and know you belong to somebody.
And so I gave him a ring, to wear like a wedding band. Engraved with the words Somebody Loved; an homage to the song he sang to me before he proposed (one of my favorites by The Weepies). Because he belongs to somebody, too.
Inspired by Watty Piper, as an homage to one of my favorite childhood books and our own little wedding that appears to be coming together, in spite of everything.
Ding, ding, ding. Dong, dong, dong. The months ran along as the wedding plans started to unfurl. It was the happiest little wedding. A wedding full of good things for a loving boy and girl. There were all kinds of plans to make. An officiant, a wedding dress, and even live music for the evening. There were all kinds of ceremonies. They chose the ketubah with a watercolor husband and wife under the chuppah and a garden full of sunflowers, yalkmukes to match the boy's tie, and even planned a havdallah service. There were welcome baskets, wooden signs, and invitations. There were fire pits, lawn games, and chuppahs. The little wedding carried every fairytale the boy and girl could imagine. But that was not all. The little wedding carried good things to eat, too. Ornate wedding cakes, s'mores, charcuterie boards, some sort of fish...and finger foods for the afterparty. The little wedding was taking all these good things to its first wedding venue.
“How happy the boy and girl will be to have this special day!” said the little wedding. “They will like the celebrations and hoopla I am bringing.” But all at once the wedding came to a stop. It could not happen at all. “Oh, dear,” said the little wedding. “What can be the matter?” It tried to start up again. It tried and tried. But its wheels just would not turn. “We can help,” said the celebrations, binders full of wedding plans and hands full of confetti. It tried to push the little wedding. But it did not move. “We can help, too,” said the hoopla. And it got out and tried to push. Still the little wedding did not move. The celebrations and hoopla did not know what to do.
Just then a shiny new wedding venue came puffing down another track. “Maybe that wedding can help us!” cried the plans. It began to wave a red flag. The Shiny New Wedding slowed down. The celebrations and hoopla called out to it. “Our wedding is not working,” they said. “Please help make sense of our wedding plans! If you do not, the boy and girl will not have any way to honor their love." The Shiny New Wedding was a bit friendly. But it was a New Yorker so that kindness was limited. “You want me to help you?” it asked. “You would have to make all new plans and the room would be smaller. You would have a beautiful view of the park but a limited menu and, it would be very expensive but absolutely nothing would be included. I help the likes of you? I should say not!” Off went the Shiny New Wedding without another word.
How sad the ceremony and hoopla felt! Then the plans called out, “Here comes another wedding. A big, strong one. Maybe this wedding will help us.” Again the plans waved their flag. The Big Strong Wedding came to a stop. The celebrations and hoopla called out together, “Please help us, Big Strong Wedding. Our wedding is not working. You must help us. Or the boy and girl will not have any way to honor their love” But the Big Strong Wedding, though it wanted to help, had to shut itself down for the rest of the year. “I did not plan on the coronavirus,” it said. “And now that it's here, I understand why you wouldn't be able to have your wedding. But, unless you wish to reschedule for another year, I have no time for the likes of you.” And away puffed the Big Strong Wedding without another word. By this time the little wedding was no longer happy. And all of the plans were strewn on the floor and the boy and girl were ready to cry.
But the plans called out, “Look! Look! Another wedding is coming. A little intimate wedding. A very little one. Maybe this wedding will help us.” The Little Intimate Wedding was a happy wedding. It saw the plans waving their red flag and stopped at once. “What is the matter?” it asked in a kind way. “Oh, Little Intimate Wedding,” cried the celebrations and hoopla. “Will you please help us make sense of our wedding plans! Our wedding is not working. If you do not, the boy and girl will not have any way to honor their love!"
“Please, please help us.”
“Oh, my,” said the Little Intimate Wedding. “I am not very big. And I am an airbnb. I don't usually hold weddings. I have never had to deal with a quarantine before.”
“But we must be able to honor this day,” said the celebrations and hoopla. “Please?”
The Little Intimate Wedding looked at the celebrations and hoopla. It could see that they were not happy. It thought about the loving boy and girl who desperately wanted to be married. Without any way to honor their special day, they would not be happy either. The Little Intimate Wedding pulled up close. It took hold of the wedding plans. The celebrations and hoopla climbed back into their cars. At last the Little Intimate Wedding said, “I think I can get you to your wedding day and help you stick to your plan. I think I can. I think I can.”
Then the Little Intimate Wedding began to pull. It tugged and it pulled. It pulled and it tugged. It cancelled wedding plans and fought with vendors. It cried and screamed and tried to make sense of all of the things that had happened before it. It looked for goodness.
Ding, ding. Dong, dong went the little wedding. “I think I can. I think I can,” it said. Slowly, slowly, the plans started to move. The celebrations and hoopla began to smile and clap. Ding, ding. Dong, dong. Closer to the wedding day went the Little Intimate Wedding. It started making plans again. And all the time it kept saying, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…” Plans, plans, plans. The little wedding climbed and climbed. At last it reached the four-month mark.
Down below lay the final pieces and the fruits of all of their love and hard-work. “Hurray! Hurray!” cried the celebrations and hoopla. “The loving boy and girl will be so happy,” said the wedding plans. “All because you helped us, Little Intimate Wedding.” The Little Intimate Wedding just smiled. But as it puffed down the mountain, the Little Intimate Wedding seemed to say… “I thought I could, I thought I could, I thought I could, I thought I could."
Here's to the thinking. The hoping. The Little Wedding that Could.