OK, technically it was "hell, yes," followed by a combination of shrieking, sobbing, and laughing that sounded like the bellow of a water buffalo dragged behind a tractor.
In any case, the second thing I said was, "I'm not wearing shoes for this wedding."
Beyond expressing my fondness for naked feet, it was my way of conveying my desire for a simple, no-frills ceremony. Lucky for me, he shared my vision, if not my abhorrence for footwear.
|My engagement ring, one of many not-so-traditional|
aspects of our upcoming wedding.
I brought it home and tossed it on the counter, not giving it much thought until I found my gentleman friend skimming it a few days later.
"Did you see this suggested timeline for wedding tasks?" he asked.
"Not unless it's on a page with pictures of food or naked people."
He grinned. "With only eleven months to go, we should have already booked a caterer, hired a florist, gotten your hair and nails done, and packed for our honeymoon."
He might have been exaggerating, but not by much. Since this will be a tuxedo-free, florist-free, caterer-free affair with attendants who still have a bedtime, we weren't terribly alarmed by the industry-prescribed schedule. As the date of our September nuptials has drawn nearer, we've taken to reminding each other of pressing tasks.
"Nine months to go," I declared in December. "Shouldn't we go pick up my bridal bouquet?"
"Eight months left," he announced in January. "We should probably be on our way to the airport for the honeymoon."
"Seven months left," I said in February. "Where's that top tier of the wedding cake we're supposed to pull from the freezer on our first anniversary?"
"You've been writing a long time," the voice will his in my ear. "You should have landed a book deal by now."
"Three months until your novel comes out and you still don't have a marketing plan?"
"You've published half-a-dozen books. Shouldn't you have hit the New York Times bestseller list by now?"
The voice has dogged me for decades, and not just when it comes to my writing career. In nearly every aspect of my life, stress can send me stumbling down the coulda-shoulda-woulda path of self-doubt and unhealthy comparison.
"You should have a much bigger retirement account by now."
"You've been doing yoga six years and still can't do side-crow without toppling onto your neighbor's mat?"
"By this point in your career, shouldn't you have a team of nude cabana boys to refill your wine and massage your feet while you write?"
Fortunately, I've gotten better at locating the source of the voice and giving her a good, solid bitch-slap.
"I'm making my own path," I tell her. "I have my own rules, my own timelines, my own damn route to success and happiness."
It's a reminder I imagine most of us need from time to time when we find ourselves fretting about what should have happened in our lives by now. When the imaginary clock ticks frantically for whatever milestone we believe we've failed to achieve.
It's a constant struggle to silence the voice, whether I'm plotting a book or plotting my life.
Maybe not when planning a wedding, though.
"I'm glad we don't have to wear shoes for the wedding," announced my eight-year-old maid of honor and soon-to-be-step-daughter. "Are we going to wear underwear?"
"That depends," I said. "Are we going to be doing cartwheels?"
"Of course we are," she told me. "It's a wedding. Aren't you supposed to do cartwheels at weddings?"