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Our Anniversary. Day 465.

I remember feeling warm in my sleeveless, rented white gown while standing in the twilight December snow. He was across the street watching me. His Dress Blues wrapped his body like liquid, gold buttons mirroring the Christmas lights that surrounded us, waist trim and tight, patent leather shoes like melting black on the white crystals.

His crooked smile warmed me, showed me he was ready. My shoulders relaxed and I grasped Tyler’s four year-old hand as I took my first solid step to cross the street, my first shaky step away from my life in Massachusetts, my first confident step into our future together. I was wearing plaid sneakers.

When I got to him, I noticed his nose was pink from the cold air and his white cover sat on his head unintentionally tipped like it was 1942. His crooked smile still rested on his full lips. I almost didn’t notice our family and friends, bundled in their winter coats and hats, watching us, waiting.

We said our vows and all made our way over to the American Legion in Easthampton, MA. Our reception was on the top floor with my mom’s cooking and red and green balloons with green and red ribbons. We ate meatballs and white cake and danced to “I Swear.” I felt childlike, giddy.

After the party, we spent our wedding night at the very boujee Hotel Northampton. With his Blues jacket thrown over his left shoulder, he sauntered through the front door of the swanky hotel with a lit cigarette dangling from the corner of his mouth.

Mr. Belvedere silently and swiftly went up to him with a fancy ashtray and said, “Sir, I’m so sorry but there is no smoking in here.”

With his eyebrows raised in apology, he said, “I’m so sorry.” We giggled like children and ran to the elevator, went to the room, and the rest is my business.

How was that twenty-seven very long, yet very short years ago? I wasn’t afraid. I was alive and I felt so safe with him.

Happy Anniversary to us! I wonder how we would have celebrated.

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