My own romance started with a date who was late and introduced me to a friend. When meeting someone you met only online was a faux pas, I rebelled and decided to jump in with both feet but with stipulation – we go to a movie so we’d be in public. Only at 16 I didn’t think about what could happen on the drive to the theatre, I just knew I wanted adventure and so I said yes to meeting the much older man for a movie.
And then he drove in 10 minute after the movie started. I should have known he was bad news but still decided I’d be safe and visible if we went for a drive and just talked. His hands would be busy then and safe. I was cautious but determined.
It seemed he was driving randomly until we passed a house on a street I wouldn’t have been on otherwise. I was shocked with an overwhelming sense of wholeness as the world stood still while he drove on. I looked back at the grey house just before the bend and then heard him say “oh, he’s home.”
“Who?” I was in a daze, not sure of what he was saying before that single simple phrase but those three words caught me off guard.
“Paul, he lives with his parents in that grey house back there.” He turned back when I asked if he would like to stop. I figured no harm no foul especially when he still lived with his parent. Only they weren’t home, the lone car in the driveway was a red Firebird. Two older men alone in a house with me, I wasn’t thinking right.
It took Paul a long time to answer the door, much longer than it should have, and we were about to leave but then it opened and I almost fell to my knees. In an instant, I saw my life before me unfold and he was a part of every day. We both froze and later, much later, confessed to being struck by the vision before us. It took many years before I threw out the pair of jeans I wore that day which I was convinced were lucky. I no longer need luck, I had Paul.
My driver forgotten, we sat in Paul’s parent’s living room for hours and talked until I needed to go home. Paul was busy installing a satellite dish; coming down off the roof the reason for the delay, so he stayed and let his friend drive me home. As soon as I got in and connected to dial up Internet, after asking everyone to stay off the phone, I added Paul to mIRC and our conversation continued.
Apparently Jason, the driver, had a girlfriend already and had an agreement with Paul to introduce him to as many pretty girls as he met. I didn’t think myself as pretty until I found this out and knew it was all meant to be. Paul swore off girlfriends for the summer, thankfully the week after we met and started dating September started.
After nervously asking my parents for permission and them both simply asking if he asked me yet, they give Paul their blessing during commercial breaks of some crime show forever embedded in my husband’s mind.
Paul already had the ring he designed after I rejected the first one. To be fair, he told me his friend was asking for my opinion on a ring he wanted for his girlfriend. I was oblivious to his true motives.
Paul purposed on the riverfront, a very special place to both of us, and I said yes so we started planning. The first on our to-do list, after telling the world, was to ask my father to marry us. As a Presbyterian minister he was licensed to marry couples so his answer was also a yes! With that done, the date set in accordance to all previous objections, a fall wedding was to be had.
Despite Paul’s groomsmen, who were all single at the time, discouraging him from getting married, the ceremony went as planned and personally written vows, were read and complemented each other’s perfectly, similar to poems we wrote to each other in our years of dating.
After walking me down the aisle, with an assistant minister on standby, my father, in tears, turned to take his place at the alter and proceeded, through tears, to marry the youngest of his three children.
Years later, he said yes again to his middle child, my sister, who was swept away by a romance all her own when she asked if he would do the honours of marrying them. With an equal love of moose and robots, the troubled souls found solace in each other and the combined family. Asking our father to be licensed in another province and marry the couple outside on a chilly October weekend, he was thrilled and was able to do it on his own with the help of humour and patience. My son, the “ring barrier”, thrilled to be a part of something so special.
A few years later, it was time for the eldest of us three to marry and complete the trifecta of traditions. His long-time girlfriend and mother of two children, welcomed my brother’s son and daughter to take part and while his daughter couldn’t attend, his son did. Sitting at a table with the rest of my immediate family while I sat at another, the stranger navigated the night without many even knowing who he was.
My family is unique in many ways and each wedding offered its own array of questions and well, more questions, but having our father stand for each made each all the more special. The first of the three weddings was in 2002 with our father’s youngest, me, and the photographs, while may not speak a thousand words, capture the simplicity of a complicated and memorable, and unique, day for us all.