I arrived at Griffith park, sat on a bench, and waited for the wedding party to come. This was just our meeting spot. Our final destination was a 10 minute hike up a hill to secluded lookout for a sunset elopement.
The bride came first with her cousin. Next came family. Last was the groom.
He stepped out of his car, glanced around until he spotted his bride who was wearing a simple white dress, and then started walking straight towards her. “Oh my!” he said. “You are beautiful.” As they embraced, he cried. Slow drops of salty water swelled within his eyes and then released down his cheek. He repeated those words again, and again, and again.
I watched, because how can you not stare at someone so consumed by the moment, so drunk by life’s goodness? For the next phase of his wonder, I would see him raise his head, glance around, and then tell no one in particular about something wonderful he noticed. He would just blurt it out. “Isn’t this so magical.” “Wow! look at the view.” “We really do have it all here!” He talked as if we were all transfixed on the same splendor, experience the same moment, hypnotized by the same elements.
The bride guided him towards me to say “hello”. After speaking a few words, the force of the heavens pulled his eyes towards the air to testify How “BEAUTIFUL E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G” was. He then looked straight at me with wide and intense eyes. And as if trying to speak into my soul, he declared,
I really do think he could.
When we arrived at the top of the hill, and as everyone was still getting settled, the groom, his mother, and his two brothers huddled together with their arms around each other’s neck, forming tight circle. They were almost bouncing together as they spoke of their love for each other and appreciation for where they’ve come from. Up and down the bopped. Tighter and tighter they gripped.
Within a few minutes we had started the ceremony and then the bride and groomed were married.
I signed the license and descended down the hill alone, as they remained there, forming an even bigger circle than before, celebrating.
On June 14, 2014, I married a couple in Claremont. I remember meeting them a year prior to their wedding. I sat with them in a coffee shop talking about their relationship, asking them about stories from their past. As they recounted one story, it would lead to another, and then another. There was a certain cadence to the whole process. That is until one memory resurfaced. I noticed the effects of its arrival. His eyes opened a little wider, his head stood up taller, and his smile grew.
“There was this one night when I just started making up a story as I was texting her.”Boom!
The memory hit her hard, and she joined in the retelling of this account.
“This story went on for days and we would both add to it and played off what the other had written. And it was all in text.”
There was something about this memory that tapped into a very precious part of their heart. As they retold what they could remember, all the excitement and joy from that exchange was communicated to me, not by their words, but by their bodies.
The joy of that memory encased them.It was a special memory.However, at the end of their retelling came the lament.
Phones had been upgraded. Old text lost. Fragments of stories now only live in their memories.I wonder if it’s better that way. I wonder if the important part wasn’t the actual text, but two young loves getting caught up in a creative whirl, feeding off each other’s energy and excitement, not just for the story but also for each other.I wonder if they actually had the text and were able to read it, detached from the very early part of a forming relationship and from the excitement of a new love, would it be as good as they remembered?I don’t know.The story is lost. Only fragments of their story live in their memory, but the feelings surrounding those text exchanges live on.It was magical! It was the best story ever!
Let me tell you about a couple I married back on June 13, 2015. They had this moment at that tender part of a relationship where you have strong feelings for each other, but aren’t ready to use the word “Love”. They had talked about different words to use, but nothing felt right. “Love” was too strong and “Like” was too general, so one of them came up with an idea, and said, “I loke you!” For that brief period of time that’s the phrase they used to express their romantic feelings of care and admiration.
I would argue that “loke” actually meant “love”.
Okay, can I tell you another part of their story?
Before they were together, He was into her and he would send her texts to ask her out, but she ignored them. Finally, she gave in and went on a date. After the date he asked her on a second one, but she turned him down saying, “I don’t think this is a good idea.” A few days later, she changed her mind and called him up, asking if his offer still stood.
It did. They went out. They loked each other. They got married 🙂