It’s a time I’ve locked away in a vault with other memories that I’d rather not have running around loose inside my head.
This blog is supposed to be about life in Maine, and I was only married for about a year while I lived here. This blog is also supposed to be funny, so you might understand why I never set the time machine to take us back to the time when I was a husband.
Now that I think about it, I’m still going to avoid that period of my life because the memory I’m choosing to share happened on the morning of my wedding. The was no ring on my finger, and I was still just someone’s fiance.
Why the sudden decision to share? I was looking for something in the cabinet above the fridge when I came across a framed photo that used to sit on my desk. It was my favorite photo of my wedding day, and it had been locked away for a very long time.
Looking at that photo conjured up some memories, and I thought it might help to put them down on the blog and send them out into the world. I don’t want to try to put them back in the vault and risk allowing others to escape.
I had no no connection to Cold Spring. J liked to take the train there to wander around and go antiques shopping. It was a quaint, cute town, and since she wanted to get married there, I was happy to comply.
After all this time, there is very little I remember about the day. I’ve blocked out the memories and I don’t remember the combination to vault, so I couldn’t access them even if I wanted. Of course, some things stick in my brain. Most of my family wasn’t there, and this was the beginning of the end of my relationship with them.
It was raining, but the photographer insisted on taking photos. I just wanted to get outside and do something to calm my nerves. So, we walked down to the water.
The photo, which sits on the couch next to me as I type this, is black and white. I’m not even in it. It is just J. Looking at it now, years removed from the moment, I feel tears welling up in my eyes.
I look at the 4×6 photo in its deep green frame, and I see the woman I loved so dearly back when I was young and had my whole life ahead of me. This was the girl I fell in love with when I was 18, and who was the most important person in my life for so long that I cannot believe we have barely spoken a word to each other in almost a decade.
In the wedding day photo, J is in front of the fence with the river and mountain visible behind her. She is in her favorite blue sweater (yes, I still remember the color), a pair of jeans, and her clogs.
Her head is down, her long blonde hair covering most of her face, and she has just jumped into a puddle. The ripples in the puddle can clearly be seen, but I also remember the moment. She was giggling. Like a little kid.
Here she was, in her mid-twenties, on her wedding day, and instead of being nervous and tense and stressed, J was jumping in puddles, laughing, and urging me to do the same.
The photo is moving me to tears because I’ve built up so many walls over the years to protect me from the memories of how much I used to adore J. How she made me laugh. How she was my best friend. The person who stuck with me when my family was disappearing from my life. She was the one who slept next to me every night. And was still there every morning when I awakened. The one who was there the day I met Dr. Dre and thought my writing career was about to explode. The one who comforted me when that deal fell apart. J was the one who found The House on the Hill and made it our home.
Yes, she is also responsible for so many bad memories. The ones that require such a thick door on the vault. The ones that still give me nightmares. The memories from which I have never fully recovered.
But somewhere in that very same vault are memories like this one from our wedding morning. The blonde haired girl with the freckles, who jumped in puddles and didn’t forget to be the girl I’d fallen in love with back at NYU. The woman who got me to walk into that church on the left and promise I’d love her forever…
I’m going to put the photo back in the cabinet above the fridge, and try not to think about it again. J is gone. I never thought I’d have a life in which she didn’t exist, but that is exactly what has happened. I rarely think about her, and it’s hard to even form a clear mental image of her since it’s been so long since we’ve seen each other.
And yet, she sure did make me smile on that October morning so many years ago…