A New Year's Romance To Remember
I am 600 feet in the air stuffed inside a petite blue and white Cessna cruising over the Pacific, and I am about to get married. Married. Me? I can hardly believe it. Neither can my friends. But it is going to happen. By the time I land, I will be a married man.
As the plane, which seats four, rattles further over the water, leaving the Watsonville Airport behind us, I gaze down at the cerulean sea. I take my lover’s hand and give it an affectionate squeeze. After all the stops and starts, after all the years together—the highs, the lows, the breakups, the makeups, the emotional forks in the roads, not to mention the thousands of therapy dollars doled out for sumptuous sanity checks—I would have never realized it would culminate here … in the air, with the breezes kissing the plane and the seagulls romancing the open sky below us.
My partner—perfect. We’ve registered. We’ve gone to the county clerk for a marriage license. We’re ready to get married—in the air, above the world, somewhere where we can see “the bigger picture.”
This is an unconventional wedding ceremony, yes. And I sense that everything after my honeymoon with my beloved, everything about this particular marriage, will also be “unconventional.” By its very design, it has to be. I’m marrying myself.
Getting to ‘I Do’
The idea arrived at the doorstep of my consciousness more than five years ago. I had been in a challenging relationship at the time. Challenging because it really didn’t feel like a “relationship”—more like hanging out, having a good, cooked meal every now and then and being an avid listener to the litany of “life horrors” that had besieged my partner, tainting his ability to embrace something this side of happiness. I became unsatisfied with the arrangement. Yet I stayed. I stayed because, at the time, my craving to be loved by somebody was stronger than my ability to kick myself in the derriere and move on … and love myself more. I had, on some level, enjoyed the attention, the “idea” of being with somebody, the notion that “this” was “it.” And didn’t we all want “this?” Wasn’t “this” what we had all been taught to attain, to strive for? Wasn’t “this”—coupledom—the end of the Yellow Brick Road? Hollywood said so. Mommy said so. Daddy said so. It must be so.
I didn’t think so.
Yet somewhere between a spaghetti-tofuball dinner and a wisecrack from my partner about how my big-dreamin’ career plans got in the way of our precious time together, a delicious, expansive thought arrived: Maybe I should just marry—myself.
I paid close attention to the white elephant suddenly strolling around in the living room of my mind. Then I gazed across the table at the person I had taken up emotional camp with for the last two years. A generous portion of thick burgundy sauce trickled down the faded, frumpy gray sweatshirt-bib the man always wore whenever eating a casual meal at home with the current love of his life. I became curiously aware of something: This was our last supper.
Eventually, I rose from the dead. (Although … it did take time. There would be months of detoxing ahead thanks to that semi-addictive state of quasi-unconsciousness I had put myself in with the man because I had adored the idea of somebody adoring me. And he wouldn’t be adoring me any longer. Note to self: The cost of playing the Love-Me Game is just way too high.)
Years passed. I dated. I enjoyed the way my professional life was evolving. I began to thrive as a writer. And, there were times when I truly appreciated being with another person—giving, receiving, building something, or trying to. While I had always bragged that I never felt I had to be in a relationship—that it would never be something that would define me, something for me to feel “complete”—the craving for love, for couplehood, well, it was there, lurking in the shadows of my subconscious.
Potential partners arrived—then departed. One day, over coffee, I moaned about it to a dear, wise friend.
“Maybe your expectations are too high,” she said.
I had expected her to say that.
“Maybe so,” I shot back, but continued my dramatic diatribe that foretold a world full of unavailable men.
“I don’t think you want the thing you think you want,” my friend retorted.
And I thought about that, but only for a very short time, and then continued to assert my point that there were too many unavailable men in the world who did not have the mental equipment needed to rise to the relationship occasion; to go deep; to connect.
“Do I what?”
My dear friend smiled. “Do you have the mental equipment needed to rise to the occasion—for a RE-LA-TION-SHIP?”
I didn’t enjoy the way she said relationship. I wasn’t a deaf mute, for God’s sake. I mean, I knew how to do relationship.
I considered myself to be supportive, caring, giving, understanding—and a damn good listener to boot. I was a bag of groceries and all that. It was just absurd that she would suggest that I didn’t …
OK, while I sometimes suffered from bouts of low self-esteem, I was a good catch? Wasn’t I?
“The fact that you have to ask that last question,” my lovely friend commented after I had voiced my concerns out loud, “might suggest that you have a lot of catching up to do—with yourself.”
I turned away only to find myself staring at my reflection in the coffeehouse window.
Don’t Go Breaking My Heart
Five years after I had the idea of marrying myself, something happened. I fell in love. It was that big, messy, head-over-heals visceral kind of falling in love.
It was sweet. It was painful. It didn’t last.
But this time, the experience illuminated something I had never even noticed about myself before because, apparently, in the past, I had been too busy worrying if my mates were “loving” me—enough. What I had noticed this time was the capacity I had to love and what I was willing to do—no matter what the cost—for the other individual. Not to prove my love, but because I loved the person. I would have brought the world to this person, cracked it open and shared the jewels hidden within.
While that potential union was never meant to be—the cosmos always gives you a series of red flags, doesn’t it?—I treasured the experience, felt a deep sense of gratitude for it, realizing I was worthy of something profoundly different and courageously more suitable. I humorously recalled my previous thought: Maybe I should just marry—myself.
To my surprise, the thought didn’t go away.
But how does one marry oneself—to thyself? And if you do marry yourself, would you technically be cheating on your “partner” if you hooked up with somebody, well, outside of you? Would that, then, be the ultimate open marriage?
The technicalities were both amusing and puzzling. But something began to crystallize. The biggest mental morsel I began to chew on was this: I was raised in the United States, a society that with one hand promotes the joys of being together and with the other glosses over sobering truths, particularly the ever-growing divorce rate and, ironically, how, in a high-tech society where cell phones and computers allow us to communicate more effectively with each other, we rarely really “communicate” with each other at all.
I scanned some of my own life events. My own parents divorced when I was 15. In fact, all of my aunts and uncles had divorced; some two or three times. What draws people together, I wondered—not the first time, mind you—and what tears them apart? We crave connection, but do we really have the skills it takes to connect?
The author Michael Drury wrote in her book “Advice to a Young Wife From an Old Mistress,” “If there is a secret to being loved it lies in not having to have it.” The fairy tales, the Hollywood love stories, oh so deliciously wrapped for consumption … I believe they are misleading. Maybe, it isn’t how much love you receive, but how much love you give.
Dear Lord. How very John Lennon.
I concluded that, in America especially, we are taught to “couple up” first, long before we are ever instructed on how to really get to know ourselves—and the majority of us aren’t even taught that.
I did some quick investigating. I phoned a gaggle of my partnered friends. Love, most told me, was not easy. It was “work.” Half of them gave me some droll little anecdote about how loving is like gardening; that you have to water the “soil” every now and then otherwise you will find yourself walking through some dry dirt. The other half revealed that they felt unsatisfied with their relationship and wondered if it was time to exit. Some knew they should exit, but didn’t have the strength to move on.
So, when it comes to relationships, is there really such a thing as “happily ever after?”
At divorcemagazine.com, whose tagline is “help for generation ‘ex,’” I discovered that in the year 2000 more than 52 million people were married. It reported that more than half of U.S. marriages end in divorce. The percentage of the population that is married: 59 percent, down 3 points from 1990 and down 13 points from 1970. Only 33 percent of married people reach their 25th anniversary. Interestingly, 380,000 men reportedly stalked their wives or ex-wives. About 52,000 women stalked their husbands, or ex-husbands. The number of children in new divorces each year: more than 1 million.
None of this surprised me. A quick perusal of the bookshelves and it’s easy to see how much time and energy is put into romance. Last decade, the buzz was all about “The Rules,” written by Ellen Fein and Sherrie Schneider, which asserted that if women followed a set of guidelines, they would be assured being loved by a man. While the authors claimed the book was to assist women in understanding that they are “the prize” and that they should value their own selves more, the entire thing smacked of game-playing. If a person doesn’t love you, it has nothing to do with you. Their love—it’s all about them.
Other “relationship” books I spotted only further promoted coupledom. Being single, it seemed, was not as good as being coupled up.
There were a few gem reads, though; books that defied common stereotypes and offered new ways of thinking.
Brad Gooch’s book “I Am My Own Boyfriend” had become a mega best seller. It’s now in its eighth printing. The novel suggests that the primary relationship in one’s life is the one people have with themselves. It became so popular the author began conducting classes around the country for curious fans. The author once claimed that “Boyfriend” was not a “husband-hunting manual” but “more like a medieval spiritual treatise” whose thrust was all about directing one’s focus into one’s inner life—dating yourself and having dialogues with, well, you.
One day, I came across some surprising information. There was an entire society out there; people who claimed that being in a relationship wasn’t their main thrust in life. The name of these people? Quirkyalones. “For the quirkyalone,” the Web site quirkyalone.net reads, “there is no patience for dating just for the sake of not being alone … we quirkyalones seek momentous meetings.”
According to the site, the idea of being comfortable “on your own is a crucial foundation for intimacy with another person.”
I had come to realize such things over the years, but the information—and these quirkyalones—were delicious manna for my mind. I felt inspired to do something. But what? Date? Other people? Who? Well… of course. The answer was staring right at me—in the mirror.
It was time to conduct the mother of all experiments. What if I poured all the time and energy normally distributed toward another person during the dating/romance regime and turned it around—turned it … back to me? Would that work? Could I romance myself? Could I date—me? Then, of course, if all went well, would I then be ready to marry—myself. After all, if I could not promise to love, honor and respect myself till … “death do me part,” then how the hell could I even attempt to do it with another person?
A Fine Romance
“Can I take you out to dinner?”
I thought about what I had just asked myself.
“Sure,” I silently answered.
My official first date—with me—took place at the California Grill in Los Gatos. Over a glass of Chardonnay, I found myself having a truly wonderful time. The (inner) conversations that took place revolved around the following topics: the people I dated in the past; the things I learned from the experiences; my career; what I love most about it; how my mother and father’s divorce shaped my view of relationships in general; when I lost my virginity and would I do it all over again; (in the backseat of a 1976 Camaro? I don’t think so…). The times I had my heart broken; the times I broke other people’s hearts; that wild misadventure with friends in downtown Phoenix, when there was a sighting of the Virgin Mary in a yucca tree and how that somehow spawned my almost-career as a novelist; my best friend in the whole wide world—Raine—who is my sister, my muse; how low self-esteem can transform a person’s life; the 10 most interesting people I’d love to interview; that the glass is always half full and half empty and that it’s good to recognize both. That I choose to look at it half full, because that’s just the way I operate; that the rumors about Oprah, Tom, John, Kirstie, Vin and Kevin Spacey—I think they are all true; that the more you know, the more you know and it’s all about what you do with what you know. You know?
As the ahi tuna entrée arrived at the table, I realized something: I couldn’t wait for the second date.
But the guy that was romancing me surprised me the very next day. At noon, a wonderful bouquet of flowers arrived on my desk. I practically blushed.
Date No. 2: I learned more about my potential “significant other.” He had a tendency to be moody. He was a Sagittarian with a Scorpio Moon, Scorpio Rising, Venus in Scorpio and some triple Virgo thing going on.
“Geez,” I found myself saying. “With all that emotional Scorpio, I’m surprised you didn’t toss yourself over a bridge ages ago.”
“Tell me about it,” my date responded. “If it wasn’t for my Sag sun sign, I don’t know what I’d do. Hey—wanna go for a walk down West Cliff? There’s a full moon out tonight. Should be really nice.”
I smiled. “I would love that.”
And off we went.
We dated for six weeks. During that time, our bond only strengthened. It was one of those unique courtships; the kind where the conversations are seamless. For instance, he’d begin a sentence or a thought and, funny enough, I’d be having the same thought. We’d finish each other’s sentences. I was beginning to think that this was a very nice match.
I had a marvelous insight: I loved dating—me.
“Did you guys do it yet?” One of my buddies asked me one night at a local wine bar.
Sex. I hadn’t really thought of that. Technically, the two of us had not really consumated the relationship. But was the time ripe for some serious loving?
I casually turned to my friend at the wine bar and grinned. “I think tonight’s the night.”
“Ya don’t say,” he said, rolling his eyes.
I finished my wine, shot him a look and moved on. Some people just can’t keep an open mind.
Later that evening…
I prepared for a night to remember. The guy must have known. For starters, he had some of my favorite chocolates waiting for me when I arrived at his place. I, too, had brought something for the occasion: A double-CD set of Elton John’s classic hits. He had mentioned how he was more Old Elton rather than New Elton and I recalled the long conversation afterward: “Your Song” vs. “Circle of Life;” “Tiny Dancer” vs. “Blessed” and so on. The CD played during dinner—fresh veggies and baked halibut. Shortly after a killer dessert of two Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies—sometimes, the most simple things can make a guy swoon—it happened. We both felt the urge. So, as Elton’s “Tiny Dancer” delivered bliss in the background, my lover and I found bliss in bed.
But oh how it feels so real/Lying here with no one near/Only you, and you can’t hear me/When I say softly, slowly/Hold me closer tiny dancer/Count the headlights on the highway/Lay me down in sheets of linen/You had a busy day today…
Not to get too personal, but, well, I saw stars. The guy really rocked my world.
The next day—nothing. No call. No roses. Zip. What the…? Was I being dumped—by me? But then I thought, “Hey, I’m really into this guy, why play games? Why wait for somebody else to take some action?” So I sent him something he would really appreciate: candles. He almost always had some lit whenever I came to his home. In the note attached, I wrote: “I’m the wick, you’re my flame.” Corny, sure, but, when you’re in love ...
A few days later, I heard the following words come out of my “boyfriend’s” mouth: “I think it would be great if we got married. Greg, I love you. Will you …”
“Marry you?” I answered. “Heck yeah. Honey … I can’t live without you.”
The Wedding Planner
The news came as a surprise to most.
“You’re doing what?”
I pulled the phone away from my ear. My Polish mother—the dear woman—didn’t quite understand.
“Well …” I began, and I knew the moment I began that our exchange would undoubtedly lead to my mother to deem me, once again, “one of those weird, crazy Californians.” Wasn’t it bad enough that her “baby” left Chicago only to become a gay vegetarian male that digs tofu and shakes his head every time she orders a porterhouse steak?
Well, yes. It was “bad” for Bernice. But Bernice got over that—more or less—and she’ll get over this.
“How do you marry yourself?” my mother went on. “I don’t get it.”
I sighed. “It’s a self-commitment thing. It’s all about integrating yourself with yourself; bonding with the inner you; feeling ‘in love’ with who you are and making it official for yourself, and I guess, for the world to see. You know?”
“No, I don’t know. What sort of person marries themselves? I just don’t …”
Twenty minutes later, my mother was still stewing over my news. My attempts to lighten the mood with a quip that I had “registered” at Macy’s only spawned a huff: “You mean you’re doing this just to get some good silverware?”
Actually, I would be marrying myself for a very good reason. I wanted to. Besides, I loved the guy I would be marrying—me.
“Isn’t that, well, narcissistic?” Somebody with a horrendous track record in relationships told me.
Actually, no. In fact, self-marriage makes perfect sense. There really is not a grown-up rite of passage that celebrates an adult reaching a major turning point in their life. During a person’s formative years, society unleashes numerous kudos. There are Barmitzvahs and Bahtmitzvahs, First Holy Communion, Catholic Confirmation, a Sweet 16 gala for a girl, and the like. For adults? There are birthdays every year, true, however, nothing that honors an adult for finding oneself. Get married—to another person—and the whole world applauds you. Turn a corner in your own subconscious and change the direction of your life because you’ve accepted yourself all the more, and it’s highly unlikely somebody will be standing nearby with a bundle of parting gifts.
With this in mind, I set out to create the perfect self-wedding. I made a list.
I needed a minister. Easy. My colleague, Bruce, was a Universal Life Minister. (Technically, so was I, but really, marrying me to me, well, now that would be a truly narcissistic event.)
I needed a venue for the wedding. I considered several places in town and narrowed it down to three Pacific Avenue hot spots.
Catering. At this point, I was hoping my “bride’s” father would fork over some serious cash—you know, to give his groom-bride away.
Give the bride away…
I thought about that. Did I really want to be “given away?” What did that really mean in this circumstance? During the following week, I drove my car up and down Highway 1, deep in thought. Who, if anybody, could give me away?
I turned the radio on for inspiration. On the oldies’ station, Dean Martin crooned:
You’re nobody till somebody loves you/You’re nobody till somebody cares/You may be king, you may possess/the world and its gold/But gold won’t bring you happiness/when you’re growing old/The world still is the same/you’ll never change it/As sure as the stars shine above/You’re nobody till somebody loves you/So find yourself somebody to love …
You’re nobody till somebody loves you? Please. You’re somebody regardless of whether another person has the ability to love you—or not. Once again, I recalled the words from Michael Drury’s book:
We are all required at last to take full responsibility for our own events and conditions, and only so long as we evade it, crying after some other arrangement, are we fragmented, lost, unquiet and unloved. The men and women who see this fact without blinking, and set out to master it, are the most attractive people on earth. They will always be loved, whether they will it or not, because they have learned how.
At some point between the strawberry fields of Watsonville and the long stretch near La Selva Beach—I made a decision. Nobody was going to “give me away.” I had already mastered the art of giving me away, thank you very much and, fortunately, I was owning up to it and, more importantly, I was ready to move on, let go, make peace—with myself. No… my self-marriage adventure would be about something entirely different: taking myself back.
Going To the Chapel
The energy for the self-marriage accelerated. My friends began to understand why I was doing it. In fact, every time I encountered people who knew, the questions flowed: “When’s the big day?” or “Will this officially make you a solo-sexual?”
One day, somebody asked, “Do you have a marriage license yet?”
I did not. I put that on the top of my To-Do list.
The very next day, I found myself staring at the perplexed expression on the face of the county clerk. “We don’t issue marriage licenses to people who marry themselves.”
“Oh. You sure about that?”
Of course. If gays could not get married to each other, how could I expect society to approve of something like self-marriage? Wouldn’t George W. Bush have a field day with this, I couldn’t help but think.
As I left the building, I felt slightly overlooked. Hook up with somebody and play house and the world offers you tons of benefits. Love yourself, strive to know yourself, give back to the world, and the world thinks you’re a troubled loner? Something did not feel right. Suddenly I wondered how the IRS might feel if I checked off the “married” box on my next tax return. Imagine the bucks I could save on taxes.
The day arrived when I had to officially set a date. We decided on a December wedding. My partner and I were pleased.
“I am so looking forward to this,” he said.
I smiled. “I can’t wait, baby.”
The days rolled by. But I was besieged with even more questions from the curious.
“What are you going to wear?”
“Will you have a bachelor party?”
“You don’t need a bridal shower too, do you?”
“Geez, I wonder how long your honeymoon will last?”
That one made me stop and think.
“What do we call you? Bride? Groom? Broom?”
“All the more to sweep away the remnants of the past,” I mused. But this sudden burst of well-meaning attention only made me a little nervous.
“What have I done?” I said aloud.
I heard my lover’s voice: “Honey, if the pressure’s getting to you, we could … elope.”
What a concept. But the plans, the people, the ceremony, the … I took a deep breath. “What the hell …let’s do it.”
Two minutes later—literally—I began having a conversation with an airplane pilot who just happened to be in the cocktail lounge my friends and I were occupying.
“I’d love to take you up in the plane for your ceremony,” the pilot said after I had told him my story. “You can get married in international waters, and 600 feet above the ground.”
I looked up. The Universe has such a sense of humor.
I turned back to the pilot. “You’re serious?”
I checked in with my partner. Thumbs up. Perfect idea. We’d nix the December wedding for a November elopement.
But the plane would only seat four. My mind scanned the list of people who had to be there: Bruce the minister, Blake the best man, Mike the pilot. Me and, well, Me.
It would work.
When I turned around to announce the news to my best man, I was asked another question: “What kind of rock did your lover give you? Let’s see it.”
The wedding ring …
Lord of My Ring
The significance of my “wedding ring” and the story of how I actually received it has cosmic overtones. The tale began last February, but I didn’t fully appreciate it until the day I was supposed to elope.
I was on my way to Capitola to pick up the best man when I told my lover, “Before anything happens, before we get hitched, I have to have a soy mocha chai.”
“Sure, honey. Let’s stop at Starbucks.”
I parked, walked 200 feet or so and noticed a very long line coming out of the coffeehouse. No time. On a tight schedule. Wedding Day. I turned around and headed back to the car.
“But it’s your wedding day,” my other half said. “If you want a soy mocha chai, you should have one, dammit.”
I really couldn’t argue with that.
I turned around, took two steps and spotted a dark-haired, exotic woman I recognized. Her name was Alma.
Suddenly, I realized that my self-marriage was perfectly designed. It was supposed to happen. How else could I explain running into Alma today? Of all days?
Alma and I met years ago. She was a brilliant, soulful esthetician. From time to time we happened to spot each other at the Capitola coffeehouse, usually after I had practiced Bikram yoga in Soquel. Our chats were brief, but always well meaning, and, always, sprinkled with spiritual overtones.
Then, last February, Alma had appeared at the coffeehouse on a Saturday. The moment she spotted me, she sat down in the chair and smiled. After a brief catch-up, I spotted the silver ring on her right hand. There were four, miniature turquoise stones positioned in four different places.
“I love your ring,” I said.
Alma’s natural smile widened. “Thank you.” She pointed to the turquoise stones. “These four stones represent different milestones throughout my life; really big turning points.”
“I can relate to that—each one signifying something major. God … I have to get a ring like that. I really dig it.”
Alma told me where she purchased it. I told her I’d browse through the shop later that afternoon.
“But I bought the last one,” she said.
“Maybe they’ll have something similar,” I responded.
Alma’s dark chocolate eyes sparkled. She looked down, twisted the ring around her finger, took it off, got down on one knee, knelt before me and slipped it right on my wedding ring finger—in front of God and everybody at Starbucks.
“Have it,” she whispered. “It’s yours.”
“I can’t … Alma …”
“No, you were meant to have it. I was supposed to come here today and give it to you. I know that now.”
Three minutes later, she was gone. She didn’t even buy coffee.
As I recalled these events again, the November breeze sweeping past me in the parking lot that Alma and I suddenly occupied at this interesting point in time, I toyed with the ring on my finger and did the only natural thing a “bride” would do in this occasion: I shouted out Alma’s name—loudly.
I told her my story; that I was marrying myself and that the ring she had gifted me—and where she had placed it—must have symbolized something I had not been aware of at the time.
“Oh my,” Alma grinned. She took my hand, kissed my ring, and wished me well. “I’m so glad. Congratulations.”
Alma gazed into my eyes for a moment longer, then she said, “Have a happy marriage.”
Now Boarding: Love, Un-American Style
I took one look at the tiny piece of tin called a Cessna parked on the airfield of the Watsonville Airport, turned to Bruce the Minister and said, “Can this thing actually carry four people?”
Mike the Pilot was standing nearby. He laughed. “Of course it can.”
I turned to Blake, my best man. He’d brought a bouquet of flowers. “You’re getting married,” he said. “You have to have flowers.”
Mike the Pilot fidgeted around with the seats and instructed Bruce and I to climb into the back of the plane and buckle up. We did. The seats were worn. The plane looked aged. (Like good wine?) I felt as if I had just climbed back into the backseat of my family’s 1969 Chevy Impala.
“It even has ashtrays!” I commented.
Blake the Best Man soon was settled into the front seat, and Mike assumed his pilot position. Minutes later, he started the engine and the entire plane buzzed like a very loud—and giant—fly. I watched the arrows on the instrument panel jump back and forth. Blake turned his head back and asked, “You nervous?”
“Yes,” I said, “and no. I’m ready.”
I was also pretty excited. And grateful. It had officially turned into one hell of an experience.
My partner agreed.
The plane sat on the airstrip for 10 minutes. We watched various small aircraft take off—and land. When Mike the Pilot received the go-ahead from the airport control booth, Bruce turned to me and said, “Here we go.”
Mike gripped his wheel, the buzz of the Cessna’s motor a symphony accompanying our journey. The smooth takeoff lifted us higher, higher, higher …
The coastline came into view. Bruce pointed out the strawberry fields below us. Once we were over the water, Mike the Pilot pointed out other remarkable sites on this sunny, warm Sunday above the Bay: Capitola in the distance, the Santa Cruz Wharf beyond that.
As the plane rattled further over the Pacific, leaving the Watsonville Airport behind us, I gazed down at the cerulean sea. I took my lover’s hand and gave it an affectionate squeeze. I would have never realized it would culminate here … in the air, with the breezes kissing the plane and the seagulls romancing the open sky below us.
The time arrived. The plane veered to the right and moved out toward the open sea and ... the ceremony officially began.
I spoke first, thankful for being guided enough to create this unique quest. I thanked everybody in the plane. Then I said, “I want whoever is listening up here, out there, in here—wherever—to know that while I am self-marrying, this ceremony is really about me acknowledging that my first commitment is to myself, and this by no means closes the door on being committed to another person, of giving love to another, or receiving love from another, or of building something memorable with another.”
And with that, Blake the Best Man turned his head and began to read a poem he had written for the occasion. Dubbed “The Fool’s Errand,” it foretold of the seeds of love and journeys within. A passionate treasure trove of words, of moods, of feelings, it was beautifully written, perfectly delivered.
Shortly afterward, Bruce the Minister peered down and opened the old, faded brown sermon book his grandfather, a pastor, had bequeathed to him.
“I’ll have to change the wording around a bit” he mused, “since you are, well, marrying yourself.”
I grinned. “Go for it.”
After a luscious prologue that expounded on the art of commitment and bonding and loving, the part of the sermon I had been waiting for finally arrived.
“Do you Greg, take Greg to be your wedded …”
There was a pause. We turned to each other. What the hell do I call the other half of me I’m marrying?
“Just use spouse,” I heard somebody say. Was it me?
“Do you Greg, take Greg to be your wedded spouse,” Bruce went on, “To love, to honor, to respect …so long as you shall live?”
“Hell yes!” I announced.
Bruce went on. “Do you Greg take Greg to be your wedded spouse. To love, to honor, to respect …so long as you shall live?”
“Absolutely,” I answered.
I looked down, then I proceeded to take the ring Alma had given me, and removed it from my right hand. I gently slipped it onto my wedding ring finger and said, “With this ring, I me wed.”
Bruce cleared his throat and said: “With the powers vested in me, I now pronounce you …”
Another awkward pause.
“Just say married,” somebody chirped. Was it me?
“Married!” Bruce the Minister said.
There was a moment of silence.
A few seconds later, Mike the Pilot let out a wild yelp. Blake the Best Man applauded. Bruce shook my hand. We laughed. We sighed. It was accomplished. I married myself.
I looked out the window, down at the calm, sparkling sea, inhaled deeply and sank into a welcoming, loving calmness.
The speed of the aircraft began to quicken. The pilot was going to take us on a grand coastal tour.
“Do you want to go on an unforgettable adventure?” I heard somebody ask.
Was it the pilot? Me?
I didn’t care. I just nodded my head and said… “I do.”
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