I read bad poetry into your machineThe men made their way across the beach slowly, quietly in the sunrise, the rain dancing off the tops of their black umbrellas and spit-shined shoes, dampening the sunshine but not the mood, as we all teetered on the edge of a newfound joy tinged with grace and gratitude. A strange place to be, as this wedding represents a new beginning for the entire collective. Change. Growth. Bravery, too.
I save your messages just to hear your voice.
You always listen carefully to awkward rhymes.
You always say your name like I wouldn't know it's you,
At your most beautiful.
I've found a way to make you
I've found a way
a way to make you smile
At my most beautiful I count your eyelashes secretly.
With every one, whisper I love you.
I let you sleep.
I know your closed eye watching me, listening.
I thought I saw a smile.
Love. Always love above all else.
Ben clutched my hand against his chest while we waited and then when Sam gave him the signal he raised my hand to his lips, kissed it firmly and squeezed hard. He passed me into Lochlan's arm and retreated with Sam to the woods. Sam returned almost instantly and nodded to Corey, who began to play his guitar.
He played their song slowly, quietly. We turned to see Ben and Daniel emerge from the woods, their arms around each other's shoulders. Walking side by side, intent in whatever final words are exchanged between an older brother to his younger sibling. It was as if we weren't even there. As they passed us, Daniel paused and grabbed me up in a bear hug, smashing a kiss against my temple. We laughed and he let go, continuing forward to Sam and Schuyler.
Schuyler was waiting, a shy smile lurking under his pale beard, his hair curling in the humidity.
Schuyler was singing.
Clear as a bell. Corey had stopped only I hadn't realized. He kept looking down but the smile never left. Nerves. Uncharacteristic nerves. He needs to do right by everyone, there will be no room for bullshit. If anyone can rise to this moment, it's Schuy.
Daniel and Schuyler joined hands on the last three words and faced each other, Sam framed behind them. He talked about love being patient and kind. Ben returned to us, taking me back into his arms. I leaned against his soft suit coat and watched the exchange of vows. The rings. A tender kiss and a surprisingly manly embrace and then we were all rushing in for a group hug and I was buried in a crush of strong arms and had to duck out underneath to breathe. Daniel held himself together throughout and so I lost a thousand dollar bet that I was sure I would win.
Laughter and tears were in long supply on this day. We walked back to the main house where the champagne was already flowing. Cake, music, food and dancing followed until we couldn't dance or drink any more. The party lasted two nights under the cool crescent moon, on the grounds of the residence, decorated with pumpkins and black candelabras and scarecrows. Colored leaves fell endlessly, adding to the decorations. The reception included making our own masks, which quickly turned into making the ones we thought each other should have.
We danced. We danced and twirled under the moon and then under the sun. Why would the party end when it didn't have to? Not yet, anyway. We ate spiced carrot cake and had some tea and pancakes and then went back to dancing again, trading partners, trading pictures, trading wishes for happiness that bubbled up from deep inside somewhere I thought might have gotten lost. We sat bundled in blankets and watched Daniel and Schuyler dance together, nose to nose, smiles hardly contained on their faces, coattails discarded and one mask still shoved up on top of Schuyler's head until I finally pulled it off him sometime on Saturday evening.
I don't think I've ever been to a wedding with a two-day reception before but everyone they loved was there, people came and people went and the core group of us became fixtures of the days and nights, organizing meals and taking turns playing DJ and making impromptu speeches without any microphones, the sound amplified by the tears that flowed so freely.
It was perfect. It rained half the time, the endless drizzle shorting out at least seven sets of the tiny white and orange lights we strung the day before, and it didn't matter. I finally understand the protectiveness they all feel toward each other. The panicked need to make everything perfect, to keep each other safe, to make sure nothing could possible derail a memory that is so important.
The fervent wish for things to be right.