Everything I tell you has been spoken
And everything I say was said before
But everything I feel is for the first time
And everything I feel, I feel for you – October Project, “Return to Me“
September 21st, 2009
The heat was oppressive and the humidity was cloying. I had been swarmed and attacked by mosquitoes the moment I stepped free of the airplane. But the scenery that now slipped passed my window as we made our way down the highway in our car looked extremely familiar. On one hand, it felt as if I had been gone for an eternity. On another, it felt like only yesterday.
I had just returned to North Carolina, the state where I had been born and spent a quarter of my short life. I wasn’t on the coast, where I had been born. Instead, Prime, his mother, his brother, and I were in the state capital of Raleigh, in the Piedmont. But it wasn’t for a family visit. Prime’s brother, ‘Claymore’, had decided to come to my former home state in order to get married. Prime’s mother, upon hearing about the plan, told us and we decided to join in the celebration in our own doofy little way: after nearly a decade of sharing our lives, Prime and I were making it official.
We were getting married at last. After years of a near-permanent engagement, Prime and I were finally making it legal.
Now, we were already committed to each other and had been for years; Prime had proposed to me within a few months of my move to Wisconsin. I had said yes without a second’s hesitation, with Prime slipping the most perfect, beautiful diamond ring on my finger. We just hadn’t gone through the official channels. To us, we were already married. The rest was a ceremony and some paperwork, a mere nothing and a lot of troublesome governmental red tape. Prime was already, in my heart of hearts, the man I had committed myself to and loved unconditionally. Prime referred to me as his wife, something he had been doing for several years, and he saw me as such. In our hearts and minds, we were already man and wife. This was just a slight formality.
In our luggage were a pair of simple, silver bands; we had picked them up at a local Wal-Mart, but not the one where I worked. We didn’t want my coworkers gossiping about us. We also had a few changes of clothes, but nothing ornate. Prime and I didn’t plan on a huge ceremony, nor did we want one. We wanted simple and low-key. We also didn’t want to step on the impending ceremony of his brother and intended–and he was happy to play witness in the courtroom for the brief event. Really, if simply signing some papers had been all to be done, I would have been just fine with that. To me, it wasn’t about the ceremony, the pomp. To me, it was about Prime, about our love for each other, and our commitment to our relationship and to each other.
I loved Prime. I still love Prime. I will always love Prime. I just wanted to show him, to show the world, that I wanted nothing less than forever with him.
As we pulled into the parking lot of the Holiday Inn where we were staying, I spotted something that made my heart skip a beat: it was a Camaro. A yellow Camaro. Not quite a dead ringer for Bumblebee–he lacked the racing stripes–but I was still unreasonably ecstatic.
Now, if you know even a little about me, you know that I’m a huge Bumblebee fan. I fell in love with the plucky little yellow Autobot back in 1984 as a fourth grader and that adoration had only grown deeper thanks to the first live action movie released in 2007. Bumblebee was my ‘baby’, my ‘guardian angel’, my any-term-that-makes-Prime-retch, and if he–or something that reminded me of him–made an appearance at a key moment in my day, I took it as a good sign. Many days that had started out on shaky ground, or with me in tears for whatever reason, had become memorable because of this. Bumblebee was one of those Autobots who could turn my frown upside down with ease. Now, he was sitting in the parking lot of a Raleigh Holiday Inn, waiting to greet me.
Bumblebee had come to North Carolina, to make sure that my marriage went off without a hitch. I was thrilled. Prime thought I was slightly insane, but had a laugh over it all. It had been Bumblebee who had brought us together so many years ago.
My outfit for the next day was extremely simple: a pink blouse and a pair of capri jeans. My hair was loose and I wore no jewelry, as my hand was reserved for my wedding band. Prime, as his usual, wore jeans with a t-shirt under a buttondown, a baseball cap in-hand and waiting to rest upon his brow. Prime was not the type to dress up in formal attire, nor was I. We kept it informal, because that’s what we wanted.
It took us a little time to get to city hall, to purchase our marriage license and to get directions to the courthouse. Poor Prime was confused by the thick, southern accents that permeated the region; he thought we were told that the county courthouse was located on “Federal” street. I corrected him, telling him it was Fayetteville. Even now, ten years later, I’ll tease him about that and he’ll respond by mock-roaring, “THERE WERE NO ‘T’ SOUNDS IN WHAT SHE SAID!” He might not have found the situation funny then, but I thought it was hilarious.
We found the courthouse, found the right location and the right judge. We had to wait for a little bit, as court was in session but once that was finished, Prime and I stepped forward and told the judge that we wished to be legally wedded.
The judge was more than accommodating. She liked performing weddings, it seemed.
Our ceremony was simple and no frills. It was just Prime, his brother, his mother, myself and the judge. In other words, it was absolute perfection to me. We took our vows and exchanged rings–I can still remember how my heart fluttered slightly as Prime slipped that silver band upon my finger–then the judge pronounced us as “man and wife”.
Prime and I kissed. I hoped he could feel the passion, the love that I felt for him, just how much he meant–and still means–to me.
Afterwards, we attended Claymore’s ceremony, which was held in a beautiful little chapel and was so much more ornate, by comparison. I got a little tipsy on some champagne; I had a serving that was meant for me and took Prime’s as well. He would be driving and he refused to imbibe for that reason. When Claymore and his bride were done, we left the chapel. Dinner was next at a nearby steakhouse.
Prime had shrimp scampi. This didn’t surprise me as he’s always loved seafood. I left my comfort zone and had filet mignon. When I mentioned to our server that we had just gotten married, we were brought a gigantic brownie, smothered with vanilla ice cream and topped with a lit sparkler. Prime and I split our dessert, with me giggling between bites; it wasn’t a traditional wedding cake, no, but to me it was better. It was chocolate, after all.
Our visit to my former home was brief; we left the next day. But we returned to Wisconsin as a married couple. I held Prime’s hand on the plane, leaned against him as we made our way back home, together, a pair of rings on our fingers symbolizing our commitment to each other.
The rings have aged in the ten years since we purchased and exchanged them. Prime prefers to keep his attached to his name badge, which he wears to work daily–he works a keyboard often, and that carries some problems with keeping a band on a finger. This compromise means that the plain and simple silver band stays close to him, near his heart, always.
Every morning, when I get up to get ready for work, the first thing that I slip on is my wedding band. I don’t feel as though I’m ready for anything unless I have that ring on my finger. Over the years, it’s gotten a few scratches, a couple of dings. It’s not perfectly shiny anymore. It bears the scars of aging. Much like our marriage, it isn’t pure and perfect; there are flaws.
But it’s the flaws, those minor imperfections, that seem to bring out the ring’s true beauty. That ring, like so many other things, only glows brighter as time passes.
~To be continued~