This morning I woke up like I do almost every morning, when you walked into the bedroom and handed me a cup of strong scalding decaf coffee, seconds out of the aeropress, topped with a judicious serving of cream. You like your coffee tepid and black, but you go to great pains to make sure mine’s exactly how I like it. An hour later, you loaded bottles of St. Germaine and gin and seltzer into boxes, and I made lackluster attempts to help, but you brushed them away and hefted all the boxes onto your shoulders and joked, “I train for this.” I suspect you were only half-kidding. Before we left, you sat on the floor of the bathroom with the iPad, cheerfully pecking away, while I dictated an email and shaved my legs at the last minute.
You don’t believe in the institution of marriage, really. But you believe, deeply, in us. Over the past year I’ve watched you try to reconcile your personal and political beliefs with your simple certainty that we should be together for always, and try to figure out where compromise lies in between. Because even though you aren’t sure whether getting married is the right thing to do, you are sure about me, and so you’re donning a gorgeous suit and party shoes and throwing a clambake to celebrate.
What an indescribable, humbling feeling, to be loved that much. So when we recite the vows to one another, the ones you picked after reviewing every possible version of the Episcopal marriage rites that you could possibly find, keep your eyes trained on mine. Because what I really am saying is thank you.
Thank you for beaming every time I walk in the room. Thank you for going to the experimental queer film festival even though you really wanted to stay home and attempt your four hundredth game of Dots. Thank you for being the best activity partner, for the upstate picnics and late night culinary adventures and early morning illegal walks through Fort Tilden. Thank you for helpfully offering to on-ramp our sex life during a dry spell. Thank you for learning all the words to “Payphone” by Maroon Five last summer, and for belting them out in unison with the windows down and the breeze blowing on beach back roads. Thank you for reminding me every night for a week straight last year that I mentioned I maybe, sort of wanted to apply for the APW internship. Thank you for your utter confidence in my writing. Thank you for transitioning the cats to a completely paleo lifestyle. Thank you for laughing at all my jokes, and entertaining all of my potential business plans. Thank you for kissing me in that bar on Fourth Avenue. Thank you for your endless attention to disaster preparedness, and for ordering toilet paper by the eighty-count for our Brooklyn-sized apartment, and stacking emergency pouches of peanut butter in all the luggage. Thank you for calmly shepherding me into the shower during our third date when a bird pooped on my head over a romantic candle-lit dinner in your backyard. Thank you, also, for not laughing when I came out of the bathroom scrubbed clean, clad entirely in your Iowa Hawkeyes sweat suit to finish my dinner in a dignified manner. Thank you for meeting my eyes at that wedding a few years ago and smiling as we listened to the vows, because we both had a feeling, even if neither of us wanted to breathe a word. Everything is better with you.
What I am really saying, what I really mean, is that I hope I can do a fraction for you what you do for me. That I want to make you feel supported, and seen, and well loved, and happy. That I will spend the rest of my life saying this to you, and showing this to you, in a million big and inconsequential ways. And there are tissues tucked in my clutch, because I have a feeling you’re going to weep through the ceremony, and I don’t want you to falter for a second.
Photo: Corey Torpie Photography