I got a call last night around midnight from my friends Amelia and Clutch. I was already asleep so it went to voicemail and I listened to their message this morning, at the kitchen table beside my beloved Sunday New York Times. I started crying.
They had left me what Amelia called their Best Man Speech. Amelia said how beautifully we were dressed and Clutch gushed about how glad they were to be there. Amelia declared our vows wonderful and unlike any others. And then she pointed out all the other great outfits in the room. The imagined room. Because she and Clutch were calling two days after the wedding and from Mardi Gras in New Orleans, where Amelia now lives.
We came home last night after watching a bad movie with my parents, who were physically present at Friday’s wedding, to find a bouquet of flowers from the parents of my dear and best friend from high school, Emmy Lou. We put them beside another bouquet that some good friends of Marta’s had mailed us the day before.
Then there was the ceremony itself, in which we had two computer screens up, one connected to Marta’s parents in Spain, who stayed up past midnight their time to cheers our union, and the other to my brother in Philadelphia who put on a suit and tie (but I’m not wearing pants, he joked) and watched the entire thing from his living room. He called my sister on his iPhone and she watched us through his screen there in Philly and we could see her in his hands, a little Jessie peering out from her living room in Minneapolis.
Present were only my parents and Marta’s brother, Luis, and sister-in-law, Blanca, and their two kids and, last but not least, my friend Erica and her boyfriend Royce, who live just down the street from us in Iowa. Erica and Royce made a make-shift alter out of Christmas lights, fabric and two-by-fours painted white and leaned it against the far wall of Blanca and Luis’ living room. They bought some sheer ribbon and tied bows around the kitchen chairs.
The officiator brought her husband and one-year-old daughter, Ellie, and at one point during our vows Ellie crawled over to me and hugged my leg. My dad talked about how the people of his generation had been sure they were such revolutionaries but that we, people like Marta and I, are the future now, that relationships like ours have that potential. My mom talked about me being her first born, how she thought she would never be able to get pregnant, and how fabulous it was to watch that baby she thought she could never have get married-and to a woman about to have her own baby.
Marta’s belly bulged between us. My dog kept getting up and wandering around the alter. The kids giggled like crazy at nothing in particular. Marta’s brother gave a hilarious speech that involved Groucho Marx glasses and a recap of the family legend of her being found in a cave. Then he gave me a card that I could only open after we were legally wed.
I did. Inside they had written: “Sarah, we love you.” On the next page, taped shut with Scotch tape, they had added: “…but Marta cannot be returned.”
I told Amelia that, when I called her yesterday to say how much I wished she had been there, and she said, “Oh! They’re welcoming you into their clan.” And my clan, in turn, has welcomed Marta into ours. To prove it my parents bought us both Bride and Bride ballcaps.
Perhaps the best part was after we had said our vows, exchanged our rings, and went off to the office to sign the papers. I could see through the crack that Marta’s nephew, Jorge, and niece, Ana, were waiting to say something to us. Jorge was holding some sort of wand that might also have been a fake chicken leg (who knows with kids’ toys these days) and they were both squirming with a mysterious excitement.
Finally we let them in.
“Hola Tia Sarah,” they blurted out and then ran off. Tia is aunt in Spanish. I had been accepted into the class by a six-year-old and four-year-old, too.
That night we played the shotgun lesbian wedding mix I had made on Spotify, went out for Italian, and then met up with all our friends for the “reception,” which was really just a gathering at a local pub. I wore a dress covered with lions that my dad had picked out. One of my friends gave me a bag with three family-size bags of Cheetos, because I love them. I was incredible happy and equally frazzled and wished only that so many of my far-flung friends and family could have been here with me.
But I had all of you in my heart. Or on a touch screen.