Well hello. Are you new here? I'm currently sharing pieces of my memoir every day. You can go here to read from day one.
We get married two years later, on a scorching July afternoon. I look back at pictures and notice two things: how calm I am and how hot everyone else looks. You can see the sweat gleaming on their skin.
Our reception is in a dance hall, and there is no AC. We’ve rented swamp coolers to alleviate the heat, but it just may be the quickest dinner, cutting of the cake, first dance, and bouquet toss I’ve ever experienced. We thought it would be cooler. I know, summers in Texas and all that — we probably should have known. But the past three summers gave us incredible temperatures over the Fourth of July, and we anticipate the same result. Even that morning proves our theory: the clouds blanket the sky and the temperature hovers around 70. But then, the sun peaks around noon and by the time everyone heads to the reception hall, we have 100 degree weather on our hands. People start dropping like flies.
“We’d really love to stay, but….”
It’s fine with us. Russ’ parents have booked us a cabin in Fredericksburg for a few days and we’re ready to leave. The past few years have had their fair share of drama, but we’ve created a stalwart team. Plus, let’s just be honest: we’re two twenty somethings in the midst of the evangelical movement about to leave on their honeymoon. The anticipation is at a fever pitch. We don’t even get past city limits before our hands are all over each other. When we pull into the driveway of our cabin, we can’t get in fast enough. We go straight to the hot tub in the back yard, and then from the hot tub Russ runs a bath for me, taking my hair down clip by clip while I soak. We don’t really sleep that night. We explore and talk and laugh and snack and kiss and explore some more. I think it’s close to dawn before we finally give into the exhaustion and fall asleep in each other’s arms. It’s the first time we’re in front of the other naked — without any self-imposed limits. Yet, as we move from the hot tub to the bathtub to the couch to the bed, we realize that in so many ways, this feels natural. Nothing has changed about our circumstance, really. Only a ceremony and a sheet of paper if you think about it.
I cannot stop thinking about it. This man is my husband. My husband. I roll the title around my tongue and smile blissfully as I fall asleep, his arms around me and his breath on my neck. When I wake, the sun is dancing through the blinds and I’m turned toward Russ, my leg wrapped around his. I stare at his face for what feels like hours, overcome with gratitude that I didn’t give into the ex all those moments he begged for me to stay the night. I realize how traditional I am: how important this morning is for me. It’s the first time I’m waking up to someone, and this someone is my husband. I will wake up to his face for the rest of our lives. My finger traces a path down his cheekbone and I notice the way my arm stretches across the bed. There’s too much space between us. I want to be closer. I move so my head rests in the crook of his neck, our bodies even more entangled. He wakes up, giving me a grunt of approval.
“You’re even more beautiful in the morning,” he croaks, his voice still scratchy with sleep.
I tilt my face toward his and he smiles at me, his hands roaming across my hip, my thigh, my back. It’s not long before both of our hands are roaming and we’re throwing back sheets because they’re just in our way. Eventually, we leave the cabin, squinting against the summer sun. We never last very long, though. After a few hours we’re always back in our own little world, back to the exploring and talking and laughing and snacking. I don’t know this then, but it’s the last time we’ll ever be anywhere without our phones constantly attached to us. Always on, always waiting, always a breath away.