A friend of T.’s was getting married near San Francisco. We were supposed to go to this wedding so many times—a year ago, then six months ago—that I sort of felt like we’d already gone. It was convenient that we were going now because Nevada County was going to be hot as hell while we were gone, and the weather where we were headed was in the high 70s.
I like weddings. I am not married, but I applaud other people getting married. Weddings are always at least a little glamorous, and I think it’s nice of people to be willing to provide this for their friends by spending lots of money and worrying for months about something that lasts a few hours.
We had to get someone to take care of Ruthie, our skittish red heeler. The obvious choice was the Badger, since Ruthie will actually let him touch her sometimes. In the days before we took off I left the Badger five or six anxious voice memos about Ruthie and how hot it was going to be and probably instead of just one water bowl for Ruthie there should be three or four. Right before we left on Friday afternoon T. put a bunch of important papers in a metal box and I took a photo of it with Ruthie standing in the foreground and sent it to the Badger with his message: “In case of fire grab this important box and this important animal.” He wrote back, “You got it.”
The wedding was at a large private university known for its archways and pendant lamps. We had to fill out some paper saying we were pretty sure we didn’t have Covid. After parking rather far from our destination we walked down a series of long, covered, open walkways. We were stressed out because we had only read the wedding fine print that morning and discovered that we were supposed to bring our vaccination cards. I had mine, by chance. T. did not have his. There were some phone calls to T.’s mother, who was also attending the wedding, one phone call to the pharmacy where we’d gotten vaccinated, and several visits to a useless government website. T. was worried he would not get in. “I’m mad at myself,” he said.
“I have this weird feeling it isn’t going to matter,” I said. “And you shouldn’t feel bad. If you don’t get in I will just tell you everything that happened.”
In the end the piece of paper was good enough.
In the church everyone wore masks except for the wedding party and some people who did not want to. I did not care. The ceilings were about three hundred feet high, plus, now that I am vaccinated I am not personally very afraid of getting Covid. I know what with the variants that is probably stupid, what can I say, my brain shorted out on worrying about Covid. I wear my mask when asked to and hope for the best. Six months from now I might read this and think I should have been more terrified, I can live with that.
We sat with T.’s parents and talked about unvaccinated people we knew who had Covid and were very sick. Yes, I know vaccinated people can get it too, we were not talking about that. As the music came up to indicate the start of the ceremony we noticed we were the only people sitting on this side of the church that were not Vietnamese. “We’re sitting on the bride’s side,” said T. “How did we do this?”
I hadn’t been to a wedding in such a long time I had forgotten about things like the bride’s side and the groom’s side. I wondered if anyone would think that we were making some kind of a statement, and this made me a little nervous. But no one was looking at us. It was too late to move to the other side anyway, and that would have been weirder than staying put. A little girl and boy led the wedding procession. Both of them made a beeline for their parents in the third row and could not be persuaded to make it to the altar. Everyone, on both sides of the church, thought this was adorable.
The groom, who is blonde and has extremely white well-shaped teeth, appeared at the front of the church, handsome in a blue suit. The bridesmaids wore silky beige dresses that looked good on all of them, these dresses have certainly improved since I was a young lady. The bride’s smile was electric and beautiful, her dark hair cascading, her train long.
Prior to the vows, the priest gave a little talk about what the bride and groom liked about each other. Each of them, he reported, had said they were always happy to see the other one, and I thought about how this is no small thing in a relationship. He went on, saying that love means being willing to sometimes put another’s happiness before your own. I thought about how when T. is upset he doesn’t like it when I go off about how much I hate certain things or people so I only do it when he’s in a good mood. This is very hard because sometimes he complains about people and what I want more than anything is to join in. Until a year or so ago I imagined that of course he would want my help just utterly destroying whoever he is mad at. But recently I have discovered that actually this just makes him feel worse so now I have to nod and say things like “Yeah,” and “Wow,” and “Oh Gee.”
I found myself overwhelmed by what an enormous personal sacrifice this has been, one that I make only because of my deep love for T., and the depth of this love moved me, and I began to weep silently. Luckily I had forgotten my regular glasses and was wearing prescription sunglasses so no one knew.