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Wed, Dec. 14th, 2005, 10:46 am
The taste of love is sweet / When hearts like ours meet

Visions of white, of flowing, of constancy, of peace, of mystery, of the filling of a glass to the brim...

*****

It is the second week of December, 2005. The city has been slapped with a fierce arctic cold. The face of Kong greets New Yorkers everywhere. The transit strike is keeping the city on edge. My mother is in town.

I will remember these things. Markers.

*****

It is Saturday morning and we have been fighting.

Something is wrong deep deep deep at the core. Something somewhere deep in the mechanism is turned wrong and the whole machine is spitting and firing at odd angles. We cannot be in the same room as each other right now.

Something big is about to happen.

She goes out on the stairs to cool off. In the hallway. I follow her.

We stand there for a moment, stunned.

We hear the sounds of our downstairs neighbors, singing songs to their bright little child, Luke. Luke giggles and squeels and they play and play and play. The warmth of their love, their love for one another, their love for their son, wafts upstairs and teases around our heads until the tears come easy, come gently.

"Come back inside," I beg her.

She does. She surrenders.

We sit down on the couch. I get on my knees in front of her. The perspective, the gigantic nature of what we're dealing with here finally has knocked me clean across the room. Pettiness dissolves.

"I love you. I love you. I love you." I tell her over and over again. I need her.

"I love you, too."
"Really?"
"Of course. I need you."

We're crying. We're sorry. I'm kissing her face. I'm kissing all over her face and whispering to her.

"I've never felt like this before. Never. I know it's you. I want to be with you for the rest of my life."
"Really?"
"Of course. You're going to be my wife. You're going to have my children."

Tears. Gentle. She opens her eyes and the look in them is so weak, pure. Her voice reaches feebly towards me.

"If you asked me to marry you I'd say Yes"
"You would?"
"Of course. I love you."

A million thoughts race in 360 directions in my head. Evaluations, reactions, old stories, new stories, the taste of blood, the hope, the faith, the simple, perfect joy of preparing dinner for her.

I realize, what else do you need to know?

What are you waiting for?



"Will you marry me?"
"Yes. Of course."



"REALLY??"
"Really. I love you."



Somewhere deep within, the mechanism rights itself. All engines fire perfectly and shoot plumes of white smoke a thousand feet into the air.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

*****

"Let's get married today!"
"Yes! Let's go to City Hall!!"

We're giggling and excited. Of course. Now that the Beautiful Ivory Dream Moment has faded we're two bad little kids impatiently looking for dessert.

It can't be that easy to get married in New York, can it? I mean, it's not that easy to open a stupid hot dog stand in this city. Surely there is a process.

OK. Wish we had internet. We'll go to the cafe and look it up.

Yeah. Wait. If we're going to do this we really should get rings. OK. I don't need a fancy ring. Me either. I don't care, I've got you. Yeah. Let's buy one for thirty bucks on Canal. Or down the street. I don't care.

Well, maybe we should look it up on Monday and try to get married this week with, like, one or two witnesses. Surprise everybody. Yeah!

OOH! ORRRRR, we could do it on January 1st. A new year for our new life together! Yeah! 2006! Yeah. Kiss off, 2005. Hello new life!! That sounds awesome.

Wait. Hold on. I really can't do this without my brother here. He needs to be my best man. Yeah. I want my sister here. And my parents. Yeah. Mine, too.

OK.

OK.

But I wanna get married!! Me TOO!!!

OK. We can wait a couple of months. OK. But that's it. Yeah. That's it. YAY!!!!

*****

We meet my mother in her hotel room with her co-worker, Cheryl Lynn, in bed nursing a hangover. We stay overnight. My mother makes a joke about Spring and I getting married so that we can get an awesome present from her millionaire boss. We all laugh laugh laugh.

*****

We invite my mother over for Sunday night dinner. She brings Cheryl Lynn. Cheryl Lynn is a talker. My mother, an otherwise gregarious woman, becomes supine in her presence.

Spring and I have planned for this. She will take Cheryl Lynn out on some bullshit errand after dinner, for more wine or beer or something, and I will take the opportunity to tell my mother without Cheryl Lynn interfering in the moment. Awesome.

I chop up the apples and peppers and mushrooms. I season the chicken. Spring snaps the green beans. We are nervous and overly chatty.

The cats whip around hungrily, screaming at us in their usual, bitchy way. Of our three cats, two are fatties. Even though they've had lunch, they're screaming for dinner like we've starved them for weeks.

My mom can't stop watching them. "Maybe you should go buy some cat food. They're freaking out."

UMM! UHH! UUUHHUUHMUHUUMMMMUHHHH!!

"YES!! CHRIS. MAYBE...I SHOULD...GO GET CAT FOOD...NOW...!"
"UM...HONEY...I WAS THINKING...WE COULD GET CAT FOOD...AFTER WE ATE DINNER..."

We have both forgotten how to blink.

My mom looks around, oblivious. "I don't think they can wait. Look at them! They're going crazy."

Dammit. You goddamned fucking cats are ruining EVERYTHING!

"OK...I GUESS...I'LL GO GET...CAT FOOD NOW..."
"OK. GO...FOR IT."
"CHERYLLYNNWILLYOUCOMEWITHMETOGETCATFOOD??"

"Um, OK. Sure!"

"ALRIGHT. We'll just...leave you two alone. Get some alone time with your mom."
"Gotcha."

Phew.

They leave. I set the peppers and mushrooms to simmer in the pan. I turn down the burner, in case I'm not back for a while.

I sit on the futon, in the same place I proposed, and face my mother.

When I tell her, I start crying tears of joy.

*****

"You know people are going to think we're insane."
"Yeah. Some of them will. But only the people who don't really know us. The ones who only see us when we're, like, asshole drunk. Our real friends won't think we're crazy. They know what we're really like together."
"Yeah. My brother won't think we're crazy."
"Yeah..."

*****

"Hold on," my brother says. "Shawn and I want to say something to you."
"OK."

There is a pause. Then they both scream "CONGRATULATIONS!!"

"Thank you!! Hold on. Tell Spring."

I hand the phone to Spring and wait. The smile sweeps across her face.

*****

It becomes a Rorschach test.

My mother: "But WHY can't you have it in San Antonio?? You could have it in my backyard!!"
Her father: "You mean I've got to go back to stupid New York?"
My father: "ALRIGHT!! CONGRATULATIONS MY SON! I'll see if I can get off work."
Her mother: "I'll be at a flower show in Atlanta for the first two weeks in February, but you can have it after that."

The important thing, though, is that all four of our parents have given their blessing and are very happy for us. They are all excited and have said some incredibly sweet things. Even my mother, who I was most nervous about.

She says, "I've gotten to know Spring better over the last few days and I really, really like her. I see how you're good for each other." She is a little nervous, and she admits it, but she trusts me when I tell her that I'm completely certain about this.

When she leaves, she wraps up Spring tightly. "Welcome to the family, Mrs. Alonzo."

*****

We invite a small group over for drinks on Monday. Eric, Laura, Jeremy, Sharon, Carrie. Our closest friends, the ones who have spent the most time with us as a couple.

Carrie arrives early. She's already sniffed it out. She digs nosily at Spring's left hand.

All the wine is uncorked. We're all telling stories. Carrie is off and running. Sharon, still recovering from surgery, rests uncomfortably on the couch. Jeremy cradles his body against hers.

Spring sits now next to me at our dinner table. Is it time, is it time? I get the rings and put them in my pocket to show them off. We've been playing with them all day, this gorgeous set from a jeweler on Canal. They are a matching set. Spring is quick to point out to anyone that they are the result of my bitchiness, because I didn't like anything we looked at and, in her mind, didn't show an interest in her ring choices.

I just hadn't seen anything right yet. Everything felt wrong. I'm nothing without my instincts.

We decide it's time. I ring out a note on the glockenspiel we keep on our fireplace mantle. "Announcement!"

Laura doesn't see it coming. "Wait, before the announcement, what's with that skull on the top of your bookshel--"

RING! "ANNOUNCEMENT!"
"But the skull--OK. It can wait."

Spring can't take any more. "Maybe I'll just tell them by way of showing them this." And she extends her left hand under the light.

Our friends erupt in applause.

*****

Rorschach part II

Jeremy and Sharon melt with joy. Jeremy can't stop smiling and patting my back. Sharon is proud that she figured it out.
Carrie celebrates that she figured it out first and hugs us both.
Eric immediately begins offering advice.
Laura immediately mocks her husband for offering advice.

I make some calls. Begin sending out e-mails.
Junebug is happy beyond reason. Happy for us, happy to be a part of this.
Sleazy is knocked off his chair and expresses awe and happiness. And then he says something stupid that pisses me off and we bicker, but decide that's a whole other conversation and tonight is about Joy Joy Joy!
My BFF from New York Theatre Workshop, Aya, cannot believe the news. I write her a simple message. She's been there from the beginning, offering advice and a sympathetic ear.
sixth_sword was the first to figure it out. She writes to me, "I actually knew a few months back that this was the lady you'd propose to. Gold is precious."

I write to Michael Arthur and ask him if he knows anyone who's a minister. He's the kind of guy who tends to know things like that. He advises us that maybe we'd want to just ask one of our friends to get ordained and certified, so we can be married by someone we know.

Spring's office explodes with the shrieks of women.

Laura from Manhattan Children's Theatre sends excited congratulations from herself and from Libby, the Only Sane Redhead I Know, who is sitting beside her in the MCT office. I've written to Laura because I'm in the next show and, yeah, I'm gonna need a day off in February.

Laura advises me that it would be best to get married before we open or, perhaps, after I get out of the afternoon matinee at 3:30. I tell her that, yeah, probably I'd like an understudy just for that day.

I can't help laughing. Of COURSE we have to plan our wedding around my rehearsal schedule. Of course.

I ask Laura if there is a place for Spring on the crew of the show. I want her to be a part of this theatrical family. She says, Of course.

*****

We spend our days e-mailing back and forth. We have great plans.

Because I'm anal, we've already got a wedding file. All the permits we need. All the possibilities printed out orderly so we can make our choices. All the deadlines in order. Letters to the Department of Transportation.

Right now we're looking at the third weekend in February. We will be married on the Brooklyn Bridge.

It will be cold. The bride will wear a long white coat and a vintage veil. The groom will wear a floor-length pea coat and a new pinstriped suit.

We will, two weeks later, fly down to Texas to have my mother's party in her backyard with my scores of cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents and old friends.

We plan every detail. We want simplicity, we want style. We want a wedding that is like us: unconventional, simple, fun. Classic.

We are happy. We are good. There is a calm we have never felt before in our lives together. The joy of certainty.

Alright. Enough of all that. Let the party begin.

Wed, Dec. 14th, 2005 10:32 am (UTC)
motolove

Spring is quick to point out to anyone that they are the result of my bitchiness, because I didn't like anything we looked at and, in her mind, didn't show an interest in her ring choices.

WELCOME TO MARRIAGE MY FRIEND!!!

And let's not forget, it was GOOD advice. I mean, I assume. I was kinda drunk.

Wed, Dec. 14th, 2005 10:34 am (UTC)
shakespearesgrl: and speaking of unconventional...

My friend Bill is an ordained minister in the Church of the Subgenius.... he can marry people... just FYI :)

And YAY! again! YAY!! YAY YAY YAY YAY YAY!!! YAY!










YAY!

I want to hug you both again right now!






YAY!!!!

Wed, Dec. 14th, 2005 10:35 am (UTC)
jeremyseviltwin

Word!

Let's Roll!

Wed, Dec. 14th, 2005 10:38 am (UTC)
shakespearesgrl

YAY!

Wed, Dec. 14th, 2005 10:45 am (UTC)
(Anonymous): thanks for acknowledging my genius detective skills

happy happy joy joy.

a sweet song came on billie just as i started reading this entry. fuck. time to invest in waterproof mascara.

[beaming with true joy for you both]

and we're going to throw your lady a rocking bachelorette party.

Wed, Dec. 14th, 2005 10:45 am (UTC)
syerbouti

Congrats, dood!!! :)

Wed, Dec. 14th, 2005 12:18 pm (UTC)
christastrophe

Thanks, dood!!

We were rocking out to you guys after we told everyone, BTW. We had our Honeywagon Smells DVD on in the background while we celebrated with eggnog and wine.

Wed, Dec. 14th, 2005 10:56 am (UTC)
squibbohere: wait a minute...

married? i thought you said "carried". this changes everything.

Wed, Dec. 14th, 2005 11:09 am (UTC)
motolove: Re: wait a minute...

yeah, I thought they were trying to ask Laura and I if we wanted to buy Herbalife, but I think I covered it well.

Wed, Dec. 14th, 2005 10:59 am (UTC)
supergoober

Congratulations!!!

I've only been married for a month and change, but so far, it's really awesome. (Of course, people are still sending us presents at this point. It's possible that that will peter out at some point, and then we'll just be left staring at each other and then looking around at all the boxes of gifts we still haven't found a place for and then I'll say, "Look, we either need to buy a house so that we'll have a place to put all this crap, or we need to just chuck it all" and he'll say, "I'll divorce you before I give up my Dremel" and that'll be that. But I'm still betting on Happily Ever After.)

Wait, did I make this all about me? I'm sorry. I don't you and Spring at all, but I'm really, really happy for you both!

Wed, Dec. 14th, 2005 11:35 am (UTC)
christastrophe

Thank you thank you.

Yeah. The first advice we got from married Eric and Laura was "Don't buy ANYTHING."
"But we need an iron."
"Dont buy one! They'll buy one for you."
"But I need an iron now."
"Shhh!"

Wed, Dec. 14th, 2005 11:11 am (UTC)
veda815

Congrats!

Wed, Dec. 14th, 2005 12:11 pm (UTC)
christastrophe

Thank you, ma'am!

Wed, Dec. 14th, 2005 11:36 am (UTC)
artricia

Congratulations!

A beautiful proposal story.

Wed, Dec. 14th, 2005 12:06 pm (UTC)
christastrophe

Thank you!

It's funny--I'd listened to all of my friends/relatives proposal stories and I had all these weird intricate plans gestating (We'll be in a submarine! On the 4th of July! With the Queen!!). But it just happened because it had to and because it was time, and I ultimately am more satisfied with that than anything else I could have planned.

Except for doing it onstage during a John Fogerty show. Yeah. That would have ruled.

Wed, Dec. 14th, 2005 11:54 am (UTC)
special_karen

Congrats! As long as you realize how cold the Brooklyn Bridge is in February... have at it. :)

Wed, Dec. 14th, 2005 12:01 pm (UTC)
christastrophe

Yeah--like I wrote, we're paying extra special attention to the coats we buy. We want them to substitute for the traditional white dress and tux (though those will be underneath). All of the coats Spring is looking at look like wedding gowns. They're amazing.

And, yeah. We'll all be up there, like, ten minutes. Tops. Then we party.

Wed, Dec. 14th, 2005 12:06 pm (UTC)
ohfordays

Congratulations!!!

Wed, Dec. 14th, 2005 12:16 pm (UTC)
christastrophe

Thank you, Mysti. Rawk on.

Wed, Dec. 14th, 2005 12:07 pm (UTC)
estology: loves loves and more loves

CONGRATULATIONS
loves
esto

Wed, Dec. 14th, 2005 12:09 pm (UTC)
christastrophe: Re: loves loves and more loves

Oh, thank you Esther! Loves loves loves right back.

You'd like this lady a lot. You should fly out and bring Joey Pants with you.

Wed, Dec. 14th, 2005 01:02 pm (UTC)
yokogweno: special.

i knew i was saving up my cash for a big reason...
and
i told myself that my next trip to new york would have important reason...
done and done!

congratulations. i love you.

i, too, could smell this coming, even from way up here. something pretty damn powerful to allow me to love a girl i've never met.

indeed, the joy of certainty. it is a beautiful thing unlike anything else in life.

***

SPECIAL PEOPLE

The special people in this world are the most precious
and the most appreciated people of all.
No matter what happens, they always understand.
They go a million miles out of their way.
They hold your hand.
They bring you smiles, when a smile is exactly what you need.
They listen, and they hear what is said in the spaces between the words.
They care, and they let you know you're in their prayers.
Special people always know the perfect thing to do.
They can make your whole day just by saying something that no one else could have said.
Sometimes you feel like they share with you a secret language that others can't tune into.
Special people can guide you, inspire you, comfort you,
and light up your life with laughter.
Special people understand your moods and nurture your needs, and they lovingly know just what you're after.
When your feelings come from deep inside and the
need to be spoken to someone; you don't have to
hide from, you share them... with special people.
When good news comes, special people are the first
ones you turn to, and when feelings overflow and
tears need to fall, special people help you through it all.
Special people bring sunlight into your life.
They warm your world with their presence,
whether they are far away or close by your side.
Special people are gifts that bring happiness,
and treasures that no money can buy.



Wed, Dec. 14th, 2005 01:19 pm (UTC)
(Anonymous): Re: special.

so that's what it takes to get gwenith to new york.

Wed, Dec. 14th, 2005 01:18 pm (UTC)
12gaugestring

Wow. I am definitely in the "not surprised" crowd, but CONGRATULATIONS! I am glad you guys decided against the New Years' thing, because me and the Ashmeister got that one covered.

I am so incredibly happy for you. I really want to see you and hug you and meet Spring and hug Spring.

Dude...don't buy ANYTHING. They really will buy it for you. Ooh...you just reminded me I need to do something on my journal.

Marriage! Fuck yeah!

Wed, Dec. 14th, 2005 01:57 pm (UTC)
motolove

keep your arms to yourself there, Beech.

Wed, Dec. 14th, 2005 02:36 pm (UTC)
(Anonymous)

Congrats, Chris! We eloped and got no presents so enjoy that, definitely.

Brad proposed to me in the shower. How'm I gonna tell my kids THAT story?

Laura asked me to play the nurse in the show you're doing and I can't 'cause I'm equity and blah blah blah and I spoke with her the other day and she told me that you were in it, too and that just made it worse 'cause I'm bummed that I can't do it and the children's tour I'mdoing now is so shitty and the people suck and I hate them all and....sigh....

oh yeah - not about me! Congrats to you both. Wish I were doing the show so I could get to know Spring, too...

Watson

Wed, Dec. 14th, 2005 02:46 pm (UTC)
christastrophe

"Look at me! I'm Watson. I'm a professional. Blah blah blah."

That woulda been fun, dammit. Can't you quit your show and perform under the name Greta McDunn?

Your kids are gonna love your proposal story, BTW. Just wait until they're, like, twelve and they have friends over.