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September 15th, 2002

yet more wedding memories

Thursday 9/13/01 found me in a somewhat better mood. People started arriving from the mainland, and that made a big difference. My best chick Gina was one of the first to appear, and she's a real planner, caretaker, and is good at logistics, so I was so glad when she showed up. We all went to the beach and I actually had a good time.

We still had to deal with the potential of our wedding celebrant and one of Kate's attendants not making it across the country, since while the FAA opened US airspace to scheduled airline flights again around noon on that day, the air carriers and their schedules were in a shambles, and it was going to take several days to straighten things out. We worked out the contingency that Gina would get "promoted" to celebrant, leaving Kate and I with one attendant each instead of two. Even with that plan in place, I was still depressed. I actually felt some shame, that our wedding was going to be this ill-attended, shabby thing, and I didn't want to remember it that way. Kate was more optimistic.

The day ended with a phone call out west to Susan and Jill, to see how they were doing with travel plans. They were having absolutely no luck. I finally got online with my laptop and looked myself, and there was absolutely nothing. Sure, I could piece together $2000 flights comprised of three legs each way, but that didn't seem like the best idea. We finally asked them to please, please just go to the San Francisco airport in the morning, just to see what it might be like, but it really, really didn't look good.

I was so upset by this that I didn't even spend the night with Kate, curling up on the couch in the common room of the house instead. I slept very poorly, as it was pretty cold out. In a fit of pessimism, I kept telling everyone that I just really didn't see how this was going to work and that we really should just postpone the whole thing.

On Friday, the day before the wedding, I woke up in kind of a fog. I was still upset and just layed there with my eyes closed, and although I could hear people talking, making breakfast, and sitting around eating, I didn't interact with them; I was very upset and angry.

It was at this point that Gina demonstrated her great worth as a friend. She lifted my head, pillow and all, off the couch, and sat down under it, so my head was in her lap. It was kind of hard to ignore that, so I listened to her story. I don't remember all of it now, which I'm kind of sad about, but the essence of it was that she'd had a dream in which I was really mad at her because she wasn't being a good support friend for me.

My anger kind of boiled over at that point, and I remember telling her "no, Gina, I'm mad at you because you lied to me. You kept saying how beautiful our wedding was going to be, and it's not going to be that way at all!" And then I had a little catharsis. An amusing footnote here is that I could sense everyone else in the room, one by one, sneaking out, leaving me and Gina to ourselves.

Gina sat with me for a long time, stroking my hair, talking to me quietly but with great determination, and more or less singlehandedly convinced me that we couldn't cancel the wedding. It just wouldn't be right. A few days before, so much had been taken from the world; the least we could do was to try to put something good back into it.

And so, after some time alone, an a shower, I joined everyone else with the day's work. Gina and Kate went to the caterer to do what they could to down-size the reception setting (I really didn't want the feeling of a poorly-attended event with empty tables and chairs), and a bunch of us went to the ferry landing to meet arriving parties.

With an outside wedding and reception planned, the fact that Friday was cold, gray, rainy, windy, and generally a miserable maritime day should have been disappointing, but it seemed like the weather was really paling in comparison to the other stuff we had been facing.

We finally managed to get everyone who had made it to the island all gathered in one place for an informal BBQ at the rental house. It was warm and bustling and it made me feel better yet.

And then our little miracle happened.

The BBQ was well wound down, most people had left who weren't staying at the house. Kate was already upstairs in bed, and I and a few other people were sitting on the edge of the bed chatting. I don't remember the phone ringing, but I do remember a lot of excited shouting from the first floor. "You're where?! You're here?!!" We all ran downstairs to find out what was going on. Barry was on the phone, and relayed the message: Susan and Jill were in Providence, and would be over on the first ferry on Saturday! They'd gone to the airport as promised, and managed to get a flight from SFO to PVD. Apparently the air travel system was so screwed up that essentially all tickets were standby tickets, and they lucked out.

There was much cheering and joyful crying, and hugging, but we were all so tired that we all went to bed shortly after, and I at least was very thankful. The power watching over us had seemed so absent all week, but came through in the end.

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Charley

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