It was a beautiful day. The birds were singing and there was a crisp breeze that wafted throughout the neighborhood as the aroma of flowers rushed in through the open windows. I had been tracking a hurricane that was making its way up the East Coast all week but as luck would have it, a cold front had pushed the hurricane eastward off the coastline of Boston.
I stepped into the bathroom, looked at myself in the mirror and asked myself wryly, “Are you ready for this?!” And as soon as the words left my mouth, a wicked little evil grin of confidence and excitement grew across my face. I had been working toward this day for the better part of a year and now that the rehearsals were finished, lines memorized and the preparations had all been completed, it was time to get this show on the road. I was more than ready.
I felt the nerves well up inside of me as I got dressed. What if I screwed up?! What if I forgot something important?! What if something goes horribly wrong?! And as my mind raced, I looked in the mirror once again and found that my wicked little evil grin of confidence was still planted firmly on my face. So I dismissed the litany of “what if” questions and focused on what was firmly within my control. I took a deep breath, finished getting dressed and walked out into the living room.
The drive was great. I bantered with J.J. as he drove along the backstreets. When we finally hit the highway, the windows were down and the system was up. I took in the sights as we made our way along the thruway. The clouds hung in the sky like fluffy cotton balls that had been spilled across an azure blanket. The golden rays of the sun cascaded down across the greens of the trees and the aqua-green water of Long island sound as we passed by boats that just seemed to glide across the frothy, white-capped waves of a wonderful summer day.
When we arrived at our destination, we made our way inside the building for our final preparations. And before the seats filled up, we were ushered back stage where we waited impatiently with a deck of cards and a flask of Jameson that we never opened.
The seconds seemed to takes minutes to tick by. Minutes felt like hours. Time had found a way to stand still. And we did our best to fight through the torment of just sitting and waiting.
We joked, we played cards and we went over the script a few more times to make sure we had everything perfect. A few minutes before we were supposed to get started, we were informed that there was going to be a delay in the proceedings and that we should just sit tight until everything was ready. My nerves started to well up inside of me again. That wicked little evil grin of confidence on my face started to wane as the cluster of “what if” questions started to surface. But this time, I vocalized them and J.J. was there to calm my fears.
But as we sat in the waiting room, the seconds that ticked by on the clock felt more like hours than minutes. I could feel the echo of my heartbeat pounding throughout the canals of my ears. My throat had gone dry as I rubbed my hands together with nervous energy. Taking a couple of nips off the flask in the center of the room next to the deck of cards seemed like a good idea all of sudden but as I sat there waiting impatiently, word came that it was time for us to get started.
We made our way to our places before a packed house. The music started and the entire company made their way to the stage and as the processional music started, the crowd rose to greet the star! I couldn’t see her through the throngs of people that had stood up and turned to watch her entrance into the sanctuary. But when she finally made her way down the left aisle of the church and turned towards the altar, my heart skipped a beat as my big evil grin of confidence and happiness overcame my entire soul.
Walking towards me was an angel. Stephanie was the most beautiful woman in the world and her wedding dress accentuated her beauty. She was radiant and as our eyes greeted each other as she made her way along the final few feet towards the alter, my nerves, like white doves, left my body and ascended heavenly as our hands met and we stood on the altar together before God, our minister, our family and our friends.
We joked throughout the service with Carly and Nick (our flower girl and ring bearer). Nick beat me seven out of ten times at odds and evens during the ceremony and I made Carly smile at least ten times by winking at her while we stood on the altar. And finally, Stephanie and I turned toward each other and recited our vows. There was no “You may kiss the bride” as part of the service our minister performed but I dipped Stephanie a little and kissed her on the altar anyway as a throng of cheers rang out.
The rest of the day was perfect. J.J. and Leslie filled the crowd with laughter as they made their toasts to us. Stephanie danced the Macarena with Uncle Angelo and later during the reception; I dropped to my knees in my rented tuxedo so I was the right height to dance with our flower girl, Carly.
Stephanie bought a star through the International Star Registry to commemorate our day and I sang an Acapella version of “Unchained Melody” to her while my nephew Lansing was off changing his tuxedo for the fifth or sixth time. It was the perfect day. It was the day that my best friend became my wife. A day that I will never forget as long as I live!
This morning I rolled over and watched my wife before she woke up. I don’t know how she does it, but she is more beautiful today than she was fifteen years ago when I stood before God and family and said “I do!”
Happy Fifteenth Anniversary, Stephanie! Te amo mucho con todo mi corazon, mi Angelita!