All righty, then.  It looks like it’s time to introduce our last major player in the household: the man (some might call) crazy enough to marry me in 1995 and steadfast enough to conquer the mountains and valleys that have come along since then.  He wanted a kicky nickname so I’m going with BrightSide, seeing as the man is ridiculously and relentlessly glass-half-full no matter what bizarre shit life has thrown our way.  For real, people, he always manages to see the positive.  Me?  Well, I hate to think of myself as a negative Nelly, but it wouldn’t be a lie to say that we balance each other out in the grand scheme of things.  Of course, when I’m in the midst of what seems like a crisis and he’s spouting some crap like, “Well, if you look at it this way it might actually turn out to be a good thing” then BrightSide strikes me a little more as BS, so that nickname could show up as well.  Just know that it’s meant in the most endearing way possible…

Anyway, on a Saturday morning in June of 1995, we stood in BrightSide’s hometown church in front of our family and friends, prepared to commit our lives to one another.  Here’s what we looked like that day:

June 1995  –  Don’t we look blissful?   And so wrinkle-free!

Can you believe this?  We look like babies!  How could anyone have possibly looked at us and thought, “Sure!  You two look ready for marriage! Because that shit’s a piece of cake…”  It should be criminal to let people this young sign a legal document binding them to each other for life.

Good thing it’s worked out so well!

I want you to imagine you’re me (or BS, if you’re a guy & feel weird putting yourself in white satin pumps), standing at that altar with a gazillion (not really) people behind you wondering when they get to have some lunch and cake.  Oh, and did I mention we had one of those interfaith ceremonies?  Due to my complex religious issues (long story) and his dad’s involvement in building their church, combining the two seemed like a good idea.  So we were also standing there with his minister and the local priest, who had cheerfully agreed to step in and help out.  We’d reached the part of the ceremony where one of the religious leaders says a few words, and I hear BS’ minister ask how many people in the church had heard the story of how we met.

I am not exaggerating when I say everything stopped as my heart skipped a beat and then started pounding like crazy.  (Now look at that dress, people.  That thing’s floor length with full sleeves and lace everywhere — does that look like the kind of clothing you’d want to be wearing while on the verge of a panic attack?  And brides are supposed to look all pristine and magazine-worthy, NOT like beads of sweat are starting to roll down their backs.)  So I’m standing there in a haze thinking surely, SURELY this man is not about to tell my family (I have elderly relatives out there, for God’s sake!) how BS and I met!  And, with apologies to my siblings, I’ll admit that a fleeting moment of “who the hell would tell the minister that story?!” went through my head.  Mia culpa.

The preacher then went on to tell an amusing (and blessedly edited) story about how I met BS at his fraternity’s party in college.  I’d stayed too late and missed the van home, so he gallantly offered to give me a ride.  Lo and behold, once we reached my apartment BS found that the only paper in his car on which he could write his telephone number was a church bulletin from his last visit home.  The minister commented on how that was a sure way to know you’d met a good fella and everyone had a laugh.  It was around this time that I started breathing freely again.

You see, when he actually started the story with “Laura met (BS) at his fraternity’s party in college,” I got a bit light-headed and my vision blurred a little.  Because for a brief, horrifying moment I thought THIS was the story about to be imparted to friends and family alike in that house of God:

Laura’s roommate and friends decided to take her to a fraternity party that night to cheer her up and get her mind off the jerk that had broken her heart that week.  They went to a house off grounds, one you reached by catching a ride in the fraternity van, and joined in the revelry.  While she was in the downstairs party room enjoying some beer and the pounding music coming from the band upstairs she saw BS, a guy she’d met in a class the previous year and had seen at a party over the summer.  That night they started talking and realized hey, this is pretty cool beans.  Laura learned later that BS decided quickly to stop drinking so he could get to know her; however, like the Virginia gentleman he is, he was more than happy to keep her cup filled.  Partway through the evening BS offered to give her a tour of the house.  Now, Laura had been drinking but she wasn’t stupid, there was no way she was wandering off into a fraternity house alone with a boy.  (Once I really got to know BrightSide I realized how ridiculous that was, but hey, a girl’s gotta be smart or scary things happen.)  Laura LIKED the boy, though, and didn’t want him to leave so in a very smart move she invited her roommate to join them on the tour.  (I should point out here that to this day BS insists that offering house tours was a common occurrence due to the unusual fraternity house they lived in, but WHATEVER.  I know boys, and I know drunk frat boys, and I know they’re not really interested in showing you the Tudor architecture upstairs. **snort**)

Anyway, otherwise the story was pretty accurate, only leaving out the fact that my roommate and I had missed the van because I was drunk tipsy and didn’t want to stop talking to this really incredible guy.  The church bulletin part is totally true — I still have it around here somewhere — and that scribbled phone number is what started us off on this amazing journey.  It’s funny how you never know which are the big moments until you’re on this side looking back.