my wedding day (20 years ago tomorrow)

The clock reads 1:47 AM.

I am sitting cross-legged in the middle of my room, in the middle of a throw rug, which by the way has very little, if no meaning, whatsoever to me. It is an old rug, one that should have been thrown away—or given away—many years ago, but I was too lazy, and god knows, lazy breeds more lazy. So it stayed, and I’m cross-legged on it, and I pray that I will not develop some kind of bacterial infection from the possibility of whatever might possibly be lurking inside the weave of this old, frayed cat-pissed-on rug. I am sitting in the middle of the rug, in the middle of the night. Some things you keep, some you throw away. This rug went into the “Ah, let’s keep it.” I am looking at old, old photographs from old albums, and piles of photos I have in various manila envelopes, and all these photos are scattered every which way. I decide, out of complete boredom to rearrange a few photo albums, update my wedding photo album, which I hadn’t seen or looked at in an awfully long time. It is amazing to me that (a) I was so very thin, and (b) that Ken seemed to be—hmmmm, what’s the phrase,“having second thoughts.”

A couple of pertinent bits of information:
Every single couple at our wedding with the exception of Bob and Tony, who are life partners and who have been together for eons, and Panda and Guido (nicknames, not Polar Bears) who have been together forever—oh, and, yes, yes… my brother and sister-in-law — all other couples in fact are no longer together. DIVORCE, DEATH, UNTIMELY TAX EVASION, INFIDELITY, OH . . . BREAK-UPS, BREAKDOWNS, YOU NAME IT—IT IS IN THESE PHOTOS. In almost every single photo, a full table of couples no longer together. Fifty-two people total, and twenty-two couples — finished, gone, over. If you were at my wedding, chances are, you’re either now divorced, or on your way to a divorce. Or dead. We had friends who were cheating on their spouses with other friends with other spouses who were cheating on them with other friends, and all of them — WERE AT OUR WEDDING. I’m guessing we had the only wedding party where the bathroom stalls were locked and/or occupied during the entire wedding. And Ken and I knew none of this, well, because we were oblivious. We were getting married, and what I didn’t know an hour before our wedding and what I know now is that one or both of the “soon to be married couple” is going to have some sort of freak out either before the ceremony, or after the ceremony. And because I am ME, the freak out occurred during the entire wedding ceremony. It is called uncontrollable laughter. It took complete hold of me— like some strange virus, and truly did not leave my system.

The minute the nondenominational minister said, “We are gathered . . . ” First it was the silent laughter, the quick rapid upper body quivers and since there is no noise coming from the mouth, it just appears to be some shaking and jerky upper body movement, then it starts to circulate up to the throat and eyes, the eyes start to burn from the tears that are streaming down your face from the silent laughter, and then it’s sort of like a wild explosion, the jerky body movements, the laughter, the nose running, the certain words that when repeated sound funnier the second and third time. It’s like hysterical laughter tourettes. And it is unstoppable. Ken had never seen this before, had never witnessed my uncontrollable laughter. He was aware that I had this, this . . . infliction. But it only happened under duress—being trapped in an elevator, in front of a judge for traffic court, and while getting a speeding ticket. Nervous, nervous laughter.

But all of this is a blur to me. I had taken a 10mg Valium per my friend’s suggestion. I was nervous. Worried. Should I get married? Did I need to get married? I was happy and content as a single woman, I was thirty-eight, my god, I was working and writing and the thought of telling — sharing with — another person my every single thought frightened me. I was going to be “legally” sharing my life with another person. Did I really need to do this? Was this what I really truly wanted? This was my first marriage. This was Ken’s third marriage. I kept reminding myself that the third time is a charm. I also kept reminding myself that maybe Ken isn’t all that good at being married. THREE TIMES IS A LOT. Two is okay. Everyone I know, pretty much, is either on their second or had a second marriage and decided that two was enough. BUT THREE IS A CURIOSITY. And while I was internalizing all my fearsand worries and questions and applying and reapplying lip- gloss, Ken wasn’t sweating an ounce. Cool as a cucumber. Handsome in his gray suit, he had such a presence. And . . . the kicker, the real kicker . . . I was madly, wild madly in love with him. And more than that, I really liked him.

And as I look at these photos now of us saying and sharing our vows—it is quite apparent that Ken gradually appears more and more uneasy and somewhat frightened also, and as I now realize, boy oh boy, he should have been. The way he is looking at me in these photos is as if he knew he was marrying a crazy woman who had just been released from a loony bin. SERIOUSLY. I was laughing so hard it seemed that I would have a stroke, or worse, a cerebral hemorrhage. Which would have left me in a coma, and since Ken is not the nurturing kind, I mean he’s very loving and very kind and very sweet, oh god, so sweet, but not really a nurturer. He would have left me in a fetal position—right then and there. After seven minutes of my nonstop laughter, truly, the nondenominational minister said: “Okay, let’s wrap this up—we’re getting nowhere here.” And then he looked only at Ken: “Is that okay with you Kenneth?” Ken nodded. I had mascara running straight down my cheeks, There is a photo of my dad looking at me and I know what he’s thinking: “Oh, dear lord, please watch over Ken now—as you can see for yourself, she’s quite a handful.” This from a man who was not at all religious, but I believe god—or a higher being—was searched for that day by many people. But not my Ken, the one religion Ken has and has continued to have since I’ve known him is praying at the altar of the New York Giants.

This was all coming from a place that I never even knew existed. And clearly I was pretty off the charts crazy nuts with laughter. We were pronounced husband and wife, and Ken was told to kiss his new bride— me—and the nondenominational minister wished Ken great luck, and offered me a nod, and a gentle pat on my arm and then, with his wife, bolted out of the room so fast I couldn’t even offer him a sip of the “congratulatory” champagne.

I went and sat in the “bridal” bathroom—a lovely little private powder room, with all its pretty glass figurines and perfume bottles lined up perfectly, and a lovely spray of white orchids. I sat for a good fifteen minutes. After the laughter wore off, along with all my makeup and mascara, I took a deep, deep breath. It wasn’t humiliation I was feeling, I wasn’t embarrassed, I didn’t feel ashamed, I was filled with wonderment—I wondered…

Marriage? What did this all mean? I loved being alone. I loved having my own space, my own little home, my own bed to crawl into. I loved watching TV (unlike now) at all hours of the night—when I actually enjoyed watching old movies late at night, maybe it was because I was single and loved the boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy finds another girl, girl finds another boy, but that girl isn’t the right girl, and the boy isn’t the right boy, and then the right girl appears and the other girl gets dumped and then the two women concoct some kind of master plan, and I also loved dancing in my living room listening to Aretha Franklin and closing my eyes and dancing to the beat of my own walkman. I loved the QUIET of my own space and the CLUTTER of my own mind. And now I had to share all that. What I loved most about being alone was that I didn’t feel the need to inhibit any single part of me while I was alone. I realized—right then and there in the little powder room—that maybe I had been alone a little too long.

I had always had this strange sinking feeling that after, oh, I don’t know, eight, ten years people just stop having things to say to each other, especially if you’re together a lot of the time. I MEAN REALLY, WHAT CAN BE NEW? How are you? Good. And you? Good. Good. What you doing today? Oh, you know, same old, same old. Yeah. Yeah. I think I was petrified that Ken and I would stop having things to talk about. I was afraid I would become boring. I don’t mind getting older. Not one bit. But I do so deeply mind becoming a bore.

My niece, who I think was seven years old at the time, my gorgeous little flower girl niece came into the bathroom and sat next to me. She offered her hand. We held hands and said nothing.

And in that one moment I knew everything – every single thing – I needed to know about love and life and a long lasting good, happy, marriage.

It’s all about holding hands, and saying nothing.

(Excerpt from Marrying George Clooney, Confessions From A Midlife Crisis, Seal Press)

Category: Uncategorized 7 comments »

7 Responses to “my wedding day (20 years ago tomorrow)”

  1. Carol Rogero

    Happy Anniversary! Thank you for allowing us to look in your rear view mirror to your wedding day! Your talented way with words outweighs any craziness you might be still subduing ! LOL <3
    Although it takes some of us a longer time to figure it out, who really needs the dashing and debounaire serial monogomist George Clooney anyway, when at the end of the day it really is that simple?

  2. Kristine

    happy anniversary. you two were obviously made for one another…and together wow, have you ever impacted the rest of us. love to you and your kitties

  3. Hugh McCormack

    Oh Amy Ferris…it’s 1:28am, I’ve got a doctors appointment in the morning and the men are coming to finish the smaller bits of the larger apartment renovation that’s been going on for 2 months – 4 months really, but that’s a bit of a story and I’ve got to crawl into my .5 walk-in closet where my camping pad covered in green fleece from JC Penny awaits, really I’m sleeping in my closet and it’s book lined and has a reading lamp and lip-balm and Wallgreens’ moisturizer and the apartment is freshly painted and the rugs and bed are coming and I’m not sure I can afford them, and I’m pretty close to broke, but I’ve got “Meriwether L” my gorgeous vessel that my sister-in-law when she first say it said (she’s in the fashion accessories biz) looked like something Ralph Lauren would own, and your honesty, your beautiful honesty and all those couples and vows and broken apart people and I too have been alone for way way too long, but that’s not for now. Happy 20th is it? whoa, girl you is one married up woman and I’m so glad we’ve met. It’s 1:40 now.

  4. Debra DeAngelo

    It’s the silent moments between couples that say the most.
    Happy Anniversary!

  5. Carolyn Wyler

    Amy, I love that when you write you say it in a way that is so entertaining and interesting and I loved that you laughed at your wedding but weren’t embarrassed or ashamed. Happy anniversary!


    Never, ever, in my long life have I known a woman to be silent. Men, on the other hand practice the art of silence at the first sign of conflict, interaction, whatever you wish to call it with a woman. Silence is an indicater of extreme fear, and dread that women will find out that men do not have an excuse for anything. The look on your hubby’s face was fear that you might not go through with the marriage. Big time fear. You are the Alpha female. Always remember that. That’s why you get to decide if the rug stays or not. Trust me, if he is silent, he’s afraid that you will stop loving him.

  7. Jane

    Happy Anniversary! More brides should laugh during their weddings ceremonies!

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