It was 10pm on a Thursday night when I received a call from a guy asking for me to come to his apartment so that he and his partner could marry.
I arrived at 10:20 and met the partner at the gate. I asked him how his night was going. He answered, “interesting.”
I replied, “yeah, for me too.”
We walk into their apartment, they had just bought a wedding cake from the grocery store and had Harry Potter and Ron Weasley figures on top.
I asked them if anybody knew if they were getting married. Nobody did, because this was a last minute decision. The one who called me was scheduled to have a major surgery the next day and he wanted his partner to have the authority to make medical decisions in case complications arose.
Apparently even though he signed legal papers to give his partner that authority, there was an executive order recently that overrides those papers and gives decision making powers to the next of kin.
He did not want his mother making any decisions.
So we stood in their living room that they’ve shares these last 7 years together, and with the dog running around their feet, we had a little ceremony.
When it came time for the vows, the one having the surgery went first and repeated after me. Once he finished all of his vows, his partner went. I would say a phrase and then pause, waiting for him to repeat:
“For better and worse,” [He repeated]
“For richer and poorer,” [He repeated]
“In sickness and in health, [He repeated]
“Until death do us part.” […]
[His eyes swelled]
[The lump in his throat grew]
These words were not hypothetical. They weren’t floating in the clouds. They lived in the dirt where he lived, threatening to change his present and alter his future.
He was pausing, not because he could live up to those words, but because for a moment he realized the future that he was imagining, and he was overcome with sadness.
He tried again and again, but nothing came out.
He fought away the image of death, resolved to be present. He cleared the lump in his throat, mustered up the same strength that one day might be required of him, hoping it won’t be needed anytime soon.