I was walking in Wilson Park yesterday
The wind pulled the leaves from their branches
They spun in the air
Before landing yellow and brown on the grass for a moment
Only to be swept up again
I thought to myself, how naked do I want to get?
Which layers should I peel?
What if I’m like an onion?
I don’t want to make people cry.
“I brought my album.” I said.
It was 2003. I was a newlywed, maybe married three months. I had invited them to my wedding, they declined even before I sent the invitation. We don’t do weddings. He said. Weddings are silly, she said. Over and again, they said, as I planned my day, how weddings are nothing but image and pomp and circumstance. I can’t stand the ‘scene’. She’d say. It was as if they had a repulsion to the institution itself, that they hated the whole tradition. We don’t do weddings. He’d say. They were married. Although, she did take pride in the fact that she didn’t have a wedding. As if she were some special breed of woman that didn’t need a wedding. She was above it all, she didn’t go in for all that fluff. She’d shared her story with me more than once. We ran off. We didn’t have a wedding. We eloped to Vegas. We just decided one night and got in the car.
My wedding wasn’t just pomp and circumstance. Each of the twenty-eight pictures I chose to put in the album reflected our feelings, our love, our happiness, our joy. I brought the album to show them how special the day was. I wanted to share that with them. I wanted to let them know that it was more than what they thought it was.
We were in their living room.The wind was loud outside, lifting up from the ocean, wrapping itself around the Monterey Pines. They were sitting, side by side, in the white love seat under the window. I was standing in front of them holding the album out to them–an offering.
“Do we have to?” He said.
“Don’t make us.” She said.
I cried that night.
I have no idea why the memory blew in as I circled Wilson Park yesterday. A seed could have been fertilized that night and yesterday the wind might have tugged at some of it’s leaves and I remembered.
It’s funny. I keep the album on my coffee table. Sometimes someone will be at my house and they’ll notice it. They might ask, Do you mind if I look through your wedding album?
I’ll smile and answer not at all.
Here’s what else I’ve been thinking about. How naked do I want to get? When does kindness trump truth? Sometimes isn’t it better to be quiet. Isn’t that the truth too?
The heart is the most powerful of all our organs. It generates the largest rhythmic electromagnetic field. When two energy fields meet, they change each other. With that change, they impregnate memory.
After remembering that night back in 2003, I think that if my heart really is leading, literally, electromagnetically, I must listen to her.
I don’t want to be an onion.