I wrote this memory not that long ago, thinking I'd 'save' it, for a book or something. But that's just silly. It needs to be shared, maybe just to remind myself not to take myself too seriously. Because, if you've been here for awhile, you've noticed. It gets pretty heavy and raw around here; that's the way I roll as a writer, at least in this season. Maybe when I'm in my sixties, most of my writing will be humor. Funnier things have happened. For now, I thought I'd take a quick breather and tell a short story that I don't suppose I'll ever live down.
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I married my best friend in the first grade. Joey had blonde hair that naturally spiked in the back of his head, reminding me of Dennis the Menace. With a freckled face, dimples and green eyes, small and squirrely and athletic, I was in love so much as my seven year old brain could comprehend. My Papa was a minister, so we figured, why wait until we’re old – as in, twelve or so – let’s get married now. My parents readily agreed, probably relieved that our sleepovers would now be free of scandal in the church, and my older sis reluctantly accepted the role of bridesmaid.
I don’t recall, sadly, what I wore at my first wedding, and had I known it would be another twenty-four years until I’d walk the aisle again, I might have milked it more. I do remember my sis sporting a pair of Mom’s flowered knee high stockings (this was, after all, the eighties) and a pair of pumps. She had a devilish gleam in her eyes, the kind that older siblings cannot contain when pulling stunts on unsuspecting, naïve younger siblings. In other words, she was bursting at the seams with satisfaction. Joey wore his standard Nikes, jeans and a short sleeve shirt buttoned up with a tie, like a Boy Scout.
We gathered inside the entryway of our house, in front of the double doors, all four feet of us. Papa had written customized vows, the only one of which I remember was Joey’s promise to do the dishes. And we, wide-eyed and nervous giggles, held hands and cast glares in the direction of my irreverent sister, promising many things to each other that would soon be forgotten in our tumbles outdoors and battles of Atari BattleTank.
Some time after this ceremony, during one of our sleepovers, Joey and I shared my queen-size water bed – purchased at a liquidation sale, one for me and sis and our parents – and he wanted to cuddle. In the dark, I heard, “Amber, cuddle me, I’m cold.” And I, with some irritation and disgust, promptly turned him down. We argued and he threatened to call his mom to have her come pick him up. Somehow, we managed to resolve our dispute and he stayed over without cuddling, and we remained best friends until the third grade, when boys and girls tend to drift apart like ice caps in the Arctic sea.
But I never heard the end of my “marriage” or “Amber, cuddle me, I’m cold” from my family – my sister in particular – even as a newly (re)married woman.