Yesterday, Henry and I went to my cousin’s wedding in Birmingham. I sat and watched them (from outside in the foyer – it wasn’t Henry’s day) as they said their vows, as they posed for photographs and came into the reception hall as husband and wife. I’m a sucker for a good wedding, aren’t you? I love the little rituals, the way I always cry when the bride turns the corner into the aisle and the groom takes a breath. I love how much it means to them, how they watch each other with wide eyes, as though they can’t believe they’re finally here.
I am sometimes guilty of wedding wistfulness, too – westfulness? Wisting? – and watch the bride and groom wishing for our early days of marriage, when the house was fresh and unbumped, and everything was so exciting. No matter where you are in your relationship, you never get that breathtaking discovery back. I was sitting, westfully wisting in the corner of the reception hall, wrestling with Henry and wishing Timothy were there, when the father of the bride got up again.
He was a small, Peruvian man who’d given his speech quietly, with pauses to find the right English word. His speech was incredibly heartfelt, with no showboating and not many jokes, and I’d liked him enormously. I wondered what else he wanted to say, now all of the speeches were over.
He said that people sometimes asked him whether he wished for the early days of marriage. They wondered how the marriage relationship could possibly stay the same after three decades and lots of children. His answer was that it never did stay the same, but that it was so much better and richer now than he could ever have hoped, right at the beginning. Why would he want it to stay the same? They had had a lifetime of experiences together that neither of them would wish away.
He proposed a toast to his wife. We all lifted our glasses. I cried like a big sap.
I drove home with my foot flat on the accelerator, knowing that Timothy was finally home and waiting for us, that we were four-and-a-half years richer for each other and that neither of us would ever, ever wish it away.
I was really glad to be home.