Sue was married on a Thursday, not a convenient day for my parents (who both taught school) or for me (still in school). We had to take half a day off to drive the four hours to where she lived (where we used to live) and where she was being married. As soon as the festivities were at an end, we drove the four hours home to attend classes the next day. Suffice to say, my parents were not pleased.
The fun came when, just before we were to leave, two of the groom's men (each individually) invited me to stay and go with them to a post-celebration celebration. I woulda if I coulda, but the horses under the hood were already champing. I offered my apologies and left, showing up bleary-eyed at classes the next day.
Because Sue lived within blocks of both my grandmothers, we visited near her often. Whenever I planned to be there, I alerted her and she alerted the two young men (again, each individually.) For a time I dated both, though only a few times a year. I liked them both, but one ... oh my.
This isn't the place to detail how the relationship developed or how I lost him to another woman. I will only say that whenever I hear the old Association song, "Along Comes Mary," my associations are different from theirs. The point is, I fell in love. It was young and it was exciting and beautiful and intense--and real. Despite the fact I was little more than a kid, I've now been married long enough to know that I know what love is. I knew it then, too.
The newest man in my life is handsome Oliver Wright, born Thursday morning. He's a romantic hero in the making, and I confess I am smitten.
Winning at love is electrifying, ecstatic, elevating. Losing is the pits. Learning from both is what eventually led me to my lovely, lasting marriage and a beautiful family of my own. Although Sue's husband was military and mine a journalist, causing us both to live in varied places around the world, she and I are still friends, our homes hundreds of miles from where we grew up together and only eight miles apart.
Every March twenty-first, I think of her wedding and all that came after. The beginning of her marriage marked the start of my romantic life and taught me valuable lessons in what it means to love.