On Friday morning at 6:45am Charlie and I left the house wrapped up in sweaters and a thrill of excitement.
Our photographer, Melissa, emailed us well in advance about submitting our wedding photos to Lavender Magazine’s annual wedding issue. Honestly, I think I missed the email. (I’m bad at personal emails.) But Charlie is not. So when he told me about the email that said we were on the cover, I nearly dropped my dinner.
“Like, you and me?” I asked.
“Yes, babe. You and me. On the cover. Isn’t that crazy?”
“That’s insane. What? What picture are they going to use?”
We didn’t tell anyone. So far the only evidence we had was an email from a source that we trusted that was not from a magazine. So we waited.
Friday morning we ran out into pre-sunrise Uptown looking for our faces. We went to Isles Bun & Coffee. We only saw a pile of Andy Cohen. His infamous grin from the last issue beamed at us while we held our lattes wondering where we should head next.
We drove to every coffee shop in the neighborhood peering into the windows looking for that stack of free things. Lavender is always in there, usually next the other Twin Cities weeklies and the billboard with fliers for community theater and sweet old ladies offering piano lessons or dog-watching. We peeked into every coffeeshop window in Uptown, even walked into a few. We stopped at all the rows of newspaper boxes on the sidewalk, opened up their doors, but we only ever saw Andy Cohen smirking at us.
Finally, we gave up. Driving up Nicollete, the sun peeked out at us over the restaurants on Eat Street. I sipped the last of my latte, now lukewarm. I was a little down, our magical morning spent without the moment we’d been gotten so giddy for.
Charlie pulled into the turn lane about to swing left onto 24th. “Stop!” I yelled. A yellow newspaper box stood alone a few feet from the bus stop. There was a Lavender sticker on it. Even though we’d checked all the others, I decided to jump out of our moving car, leaving Charlie to idle in the turn lane. I ran to the sidewalk, swung the door of that yellow box wide open, and there we were, a stack of my husband and me, smiling and hugging each other surrounded by our beloved family and friends.
I took the entire stack.*
“Babe! Look! It’s us!” I was beside myself. There we were, sparkling.
Happy. That’s what I thought. “We look so happy.”
Since then we’ve seen these around. A few people have grabbed them and sent the sweetest messages to Charlie and me. And the spread of our photos inside, the one with our wedding party, the one with our friends under the big tree in our front yard, even the one with Charlie and me holding skulls in front of our faces, they remind me of so many moments of a day that flew by us and a time in our lives that will never leave our hearts. I’m sitting now by a window from which I can see the place we stood when we made our vows to love each other forever. And now, out of the great blue sky drops this beautiful token, a gift we get to keep and show our grandchildren.
And of course, with gratitude and humility, we have thought a lot about how much this means this year. This is the year marriage became legal for all of us, after hundreds of years of inequality, and now two men who had the happiest day of their lives celebrating their love with the people they love, two men who love each other are on the cover a magazine found all over the city.
We took this photo in the alley behind our house. Melissa ushered us back and handed out sparklers. Someone dropped their glass of wine, and it shattered. My sisters are in the photo, and so is Charlie’s. Friends from high school and college and Peace Corps and Minneapolis, all in that photo holding out sparkling, joy-filled light to us. The cliché holds true – the night flew by. But I remember this moment. I remember the feeling of holding my true love, him almost falling, all of us laughing. I remember a clear feeling, knowing that this is a dream I get to live.
*I know you’re out there, careful and choosy distributor of Lavendar Magazines, you who chose that beloved yellow newspaper box. I’m sorry, but I had to take them all. Posterity demands. I hope you understand. Don’t worry, I left all the Andy Cohens.
**You can see what other photos made it into the magazine here: http://www.lavendermagazine.com/our-lives/real-weddings-brent-charlie-love/