I didn’t go to work the morning of Tuesday, October 27, 1998, planning to get married.
In fact, the plan was for Allen to pick me up at lunch and drive a short distance up Main Street, to the courthouse, to apply for our marriage license. We were actually going to get married on Perdido Beach, by a justice of the peace, on the following Saturday. I had bought myself a simple, beautiful, cream-colored dress on sale at Dillard’s in Cordova Mall, and I envisioned myself standing on the sugar-white sand, in my beautiful dress, my feet bare, my hair long and windswept, saying well-crafted words as seagulls swept artistically by on a breeze off the Gulf.
And yet, an hour later, Allen and I were spontaneously exchanging vows in the dimly lit back hall of the Pensacola County Courthouse. Thirty minutes after that, we were walking down the steps of the courthouse, man and wife, smiling in our conspiracy. Holding hands and feeling like we had just pulled the biggest prank on life ever.
Fifteen years ago, I married my best friend. Today, I pulled out that same beautiful dress, its tags still attached. This dress has lived in a closet, unfulfilled and somewhat forgotten. Allen and I got caught up in the living of our lives together, the experience of loving, the crazy of having children, that we never really missed the ceremony, the ritual. Never needed the symbolism, the tradition. We’ve been too busy being happily married to miss the wedding.
Today and every year on this date, I celebrate the journey. Loving this man. Cherishing this life. Feeling like we are still life’s biggest pranksters, like every night is a sleepover, every day an adventure.
Happy Anniversary, Allen!