Fourteen years ago today, I woke up in a hotel with hair almost to my shoulders, a clean-shaven face, and a weight of 118. The television was already on, and there was a video playing from the movie “Bulworth,” which I never did see.
A nearby gun and bait shop, “Dave’s,” had a sign proudly announcing, “Dave’s got worms!”
There was a long stretch of taking photos. Mostly, I just went where I was told, posed how I was told, and got out of the way. Some of the shots bugged me, and I wouldn’t do them. Specifically, I didn’t want any pictures that made it look like I didn’t want to be there.
Some of the memories of that day are too real for me to write about here and now. Much of the day is a blur, but there was one moment during which the world came to a complete halt. You may not have noticed it, but I did. And it was when I first saw her.
I remember some things best because of the photos — where some people were, how many people I didn’t know at the time that I really got to know later, and so on. But there are some things I won’t forget.
The song I wrote was played not quite right — I had only provided sheet music a week earlier at most; the candles wouldn’t light quite right; I lost track of what was happening and started moving when I was supposed to stay still. Minor things.
But the things burned into me most — the things that I almost never talk about because the emotion is still too strong, fourteen years later — I can only describe as snippets, if I want to avoid being overwhelmed with it all.
Her eyes. The ringlets in her hair. Her smile. Her radiance.
The tears in the corners of her eyes that were hard to see because of the tears in mine.
Fourteen years ago, I married my best friend. We weren’t even seniors in college yet.
I will never understand how I got so lucky. She’s everything I ever wanted.
To this day, there are times when I look into her eyes, and I’m right back there when the world stopped.
I love you, Ann. More than any silly little blog post could ever show. More than any words I could ever come up with. And more than ever.