Welp. Huh. Here is my account of the evening of the twenty eighth of October in this, the year of our Lord 2016.
Things get crazy here around Halloween and Day of the Dead. People start partying hard about two weekends in advance and for the proceeding three or four days, they barely sleep, surviving on Red Bull, corner store fried chicken, Irish coffee and cocaine. With the occasional soothing brunch hosted by some sane person to fill us all with protein and juice. I cannot entirely remember how many shows I went to in the last week. It was lots. We went to see a band composed of Aaron’s good friends and my vague acquaintances at a punkish bar and I moshed again (fool! fool! when will we learn?) although much more restrainedly this time resulting in minimal neck pain. The band is called Cauchemar, French for nightmare, and they play swoony, Balkanish, string-heavy screamo. We had a lovely time.
This is pertinent because on said Oct. 28, Aaron and I and our friend Jen tried to go see an underground (figuratively, not literally) haunted house, reputed to be excellent. Before we left, we took some not-too-serious party kid drugs and leaped on our bikes and chortled along to the warehouse only to discover a huge bedsheet sign across the door saying “closed til further notice.” Turned out the fire marshal had showed up and fire marshaled out of business. So there we were. Standing in the street, drugs just starting to come on and not a beastie or a ghoulie to be had. We leapt back on the bikes, not being mopey sort of folk (generally), and headed to Poor Boys, a bar to which Aaron and I had never been, where our housemates and some mixed members of Cauchemar were playing.
It was a long one room place, with the bar on the right when you walked in and two low walls separating the bar half from a big empty dance floor. The roof was peaked wood, like in a barn or a simple church. We had just missed our friend’s performance, but not our housemate’s.
We hung around for ages, talking to people, taking pictures, out hanging, drinking bourbon, ginger and bitters (Aaron’s drink of choice. He claims it settles his stomach). The accordion came back into the mix and we started to dance.
We met dancing. Sort of. I noticed him dancing, I guess. He says he noticed me right off and I believe him. We first met at my house in Asheville through a mutual (ex)girlfriend. After playing some fun sloppy music together, I expressed the desire for a drink drink (likker) in a house that contained only wine and beer, and he concurred. I said I was going to the local bar and asked, out of pure conviviality, if he would like to join me. He would, he said, but maybe not quite yet. Things went on for awhile, I started thinking about bar close and driving distance so I marched out into the darkness. I hesitated on the path and did a swivel turn three or four times. Politeness warring with shyness. Something firmed itself inside me like a quick cooling jello and I turned back, poked my head in the door and asked if he wanted to ride with me. He looked up and said he’d come along later. He tells me now that his heart leapt in his chest and he wanted to run out the door with me but he didn’t want to look too eager, so he played a rather convincing hard to get. I did not mind and did not expect to see him, went happily to the bar and sat myself down with some scotch and a book. And lo, he appeared. We talked about my Sufism and his Jesuit college teachers and I could feel him getting more interested in me for my exotic whatsit and my tight brown sweater and then (I’ll have to ask him who, but I’m sure we’ll disagree) one of us asked the other to dance to the 50’s R&B playing in the empty bar. Whoever was asked graciously acceded, fortunately.
We kept chatting and flirting as we danced, but that tailed off. We got quiet and intent. We both realised that we were dancing well, extraordinarily well together. He seemed unable to put a foot wrong and I floated along with him like a leaf. Things like the sound of breath and the look of light on hair spiked in importance. We danced.
The song ended and we separated slow and smiled at each other. I didn’t think I’d fall in love with the guy, but I knew he mattered. Of course, then I went in fell in love and had lots of turmoil and hand wringing and operatic coming and going about the whole thing. I think I left him four times? Maybe three. Maybe two. The third one might have been him leaving me, if you look at it in the right light, and the fourth one bore no fruit, it was just me planning to leave because I was having a never ending panic attack and then he proposed, so that did not go according to plan.
BACK TO THE POINT.
We’re dancing in Poor Boys. 6 days ago now, this is. Dancing like we danced that first time, and like we have four or five times since. Like there’s no wrong step to take and even if we did, it would be right by mercy of our happiness and total absence of shame. He is wearing work clothes (dress shirt, nondescript pants), I am wearing his clothes, feeling very free and easy and looking very fine and manly. Like a fancy mechanic on their day off. We’re spinning around to the Balkan jams, which change tempo every two minutes, and we roll with it. He leans in, all fevered looking and bug eyed, and says, “Do you want to get married?”
“Okay,” says I.
This ten minute monster of a medley ends and we stop with a flourish. Aaron barges up to the microphone and bellows, “Is anybody in here ordained?” There’s that sort of pause and giggle and murmur when people think they might be being made fun of, but he persists and finally Robbie, of Cauchemar, with his dreadlocks and his face tattoos and his nice eyes comes leaping up to the front of the room and Aaron and I are writing are vows ad lib and suddenly we’re saying I do. And we did.
Of course, Robbie came up afterward and said, “That wasn’t for real, was it?”
“Yes, it was for real! We meant that!”
“Oh. Cause I’m not actually ordained.”
Me: “COME ON.”
Aaron: “Don’t care. Doesn’t matter. We’re married.”
Me: “You’re too bloody right we are.”
I went around and kissed everybody in that bar. I stopped people on the street on the way back to the house and explained that I had just gotten married in a bar, dressed in drag in my now-husband’s clothes. They were all excited for me, except for one guy I stopped in his car who was brushing his teeth.
We went to another member of Cauchemar’s house, who had a pool, and five of us got in the pool and stood in a heat saving circle and sang drunk shanties at each other. Pretty much everyone was wandering around in their underwear or less. I challenged a bunch of people to arm wrestling. I went around and kissed everybody at that party. I seem to feel much more comfortable getting the pack-animal cuddles I need now that I am married. I fell over at one point, sprang up immediately caroling, “I’m fine! I’m fine!” I have some stupendous bruising from that. Aaron got his butt on the fire pit and has a burn the shape of a bird. Marriage leaves marks. When you do it our way.
Otherwise, things are pretty much the same. Playing music, playing pool, baking pies, living life. We’re still going to have big old wedding parties in every city we lay claim to, so don’t you worry that this was a one time deal. ‘Sides, it’s not legal yet. Which means arse all to me, but, you know, for insurance purposes.
P.S. TO ALL RESPECTIVE PARENTS AND PARENT-LIKE INDIVIDUALS: I did not call you because I truly did not know what to say. But now I do. And it’s written up there. So go read it again.