In the end, it was the most beautiful day of my life. I didn't expect it to be, had nothing but foolish nerves about all those people! looking at me! can't I just sneak past them and surprise them at the altar, er, fig tree? But when my father and I walked down the aisle and all around us, our family and friends starting humming "Here Comes the Bride" because I hadn't planned for any music - much to my father's chagrin - and when I saw my friend Dave with his new Buddy Holly-inspired glasses waiting for us up at the fig tree, sermon in hand, and when Max and I were told to turn around and say hello to all the people who had come, by planes, trains and automobiles, from Seattle and Jakarta, from New York and Paris, from Rome and Berlin, from Salzburg and Brussels, to assemble in my mother's garden and see us be married next to the house that my grandfather bought and rebuilt 30 years ago, I realized with a full heart and a clenched throat that sometimes clichés exist for a reason.
I'm still in the happy, misty fog that enveloped us that day, even though the beautiful greenhouse-like tent is being dismantled as we speak and the seating chart that I nailed to the shack my grandfather built is gone and the wildflowers my stepmother and friends picked by the side of the road the morning of the wedding to decorate the tables with are now finally wilting. One by one, everyone has said goodbye and gone back home, leaving behind only a footprint in the dusty earth here and a bent bottle cap and a stray sequin there. Tomorrow I leave this house and these gorgeous hills that are forever changed in my mind. Now it is the place where I married the love of my life while our dearest dears looked on and cheered for us in the setting sun.
I am the luckiest girl alive, I thought on Saturday and every day since then. To have had this day, these days, to love this person, to know these hills. And to be a part of so many lives that came together that afternoon. If I close my eyes, I can see them still: my 10-year old cousin Max helping me with my makeup, my girlfriends in the bathroom with me, pinning chiffon flowers in my hair, my husband's eyes filled with tears, my father's speech, funny and true.
May I never forget any of it nor the feeling of happiness within me still. I am a lucky girl.