Monday, June 27, 2011

A Definite Lightness

I never thought I'd get married again. 


"I am never getting married again," I'd announce to my mother. 
"You will,"she'd say. 

It began with a phone call on Thanksgiving day, 1996. 
Michael was driving from Los Angeles to San Diego to visit his mother. For some reason, Jesse and I were not with the rest of our family.

Because I was supposed to be home for the call? 

I was sitting on my bedroom floor when the phone rang.

"Well, I'm sitting here wearing lipstick and pantyhose,"I confessed. "This attire is highly unusual, but my daughter and I went to one of those buffet things. I was trying to be grown-up. We went to the noon sitting. It was very weird. We've eaten, now home. It's been an odd day."
"Well, yea," he said, "I can see why you might feel that way."

This is not the exact conversation. 
For a pair of strangers, we covered a lot of territory in a forty-five minute phone call. Family, work, books, how he came to call me. 
(a friend of a friend gave him my number.) 
He had a deep voice; a warm, gentle voice.
He lived in Santa Monica, California.
He practiced law, 
rode a mountain bike, 
loved the ocean. 
Played the saxophone.
He visited his mother often.
"And where do you live again?" he asked kindly.

On the morning of our wedding, after a dreadful week of humid, stifling heat, the air shifted. I remember walking with Michael around our neighborhood; the air was cool and clean to the skin. The sky, a clear blue. The air change was a sign, a lifting-up of something heavy. I'd been worried about suffocating in my dress, having a claustrophobic attack in the middle of it all, stripping down in front of everyone. All those pretty buttons down the back of my dress had me nervous. I do not like to be closed in, pinned down, buttoned up. But that morning, just like today, there was a steady breeze, the kind you pray for when you're heading out for a long sail...

A definite lightness.


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