1980-College-The candles are creating a filmy antiqued look to my memories. This makes me think of my mother. She searches yard sales, backs of stores and garages for old pieces then slowly strips, cleans and refinishes each piece until it shines and looks like new. Right now I feel new.
Zak pulls me on top of him and I begin wiggling my body like I have seen women do in the movies. “How do you know how to move like that? It feels amazing.”
He then gives me this, ‘I don’t know if she is telling me the truth’ look and I slip across my cotton candy lips, “I’m just doing what I see in the movies, Zak, gosh.”
we lie amongst the sheets, pillows and blankets laughing. My knees are up to my chest as I roll sideways and we are face to face. I can see my reflection in his soft green eyes. I am back at Bishops Pool as a little girl with all my fish friends swimming under the water. I am a mermaid and as they swim along side of me their tiny fins tickle my skin. I want to stay right here in this moment. I want his warmth to continue to feed me air bubbles.
“Come on, Sheri, get dressed we are going somewhere.”
“We didn’t finish, did we?” I whisper.
He rolls his eyes, heaves a baby sigh and says, “not yet, but we will-later now come on.”
We dress and walk outside. It is cold-it’s December. There is no snow yet and the grass-still green, stands up like a huge punk hairdo-straight and in every direction possible. We almost run hand in hand down the long sidewalk, past the kissing rock, across the street, past the art building and end up in front of the chapel. Zak opens the door. The lights are soft, the air is brisk and we are both shaking. I feel small. I feel God’s presence not just in this chapel, but welling up inside my heart. My memories drift to the church basement of my youth. I am kneeling before the picture of Jesus, feeling his love surrounding me, holding me and reminding me that with my faith I am strong.
“Stay here, “ Zak says, and I do exactly that. I plant my feet at the beginning of the tiny isle by the door with which we just came in. Zak saunters to the front and turns. He stands with his hands clasped below his belt and gives me that “I am going to eat you up smile…”
“Sheri, walk towards me slowly.”
I giggle, roll my eyes and start walking.
“Slower, and look in my eyes.”
I am barely taking, “mother may I,” baby steps. My mind is spinning and I am thinking to myself, “I am your glue, you are my silly putty.” I stop when I am inches from him, lean in, kiss him and smile.
Zak looks at me and starts talking, “Sheri-I want you to be my wife. I love you. I don’t have a ring, but we’ll get one. I wanted to bring you here before God and tell you this. Will you marry me, Sheri?”
I am about to break out in my own belly giggles when I see the tiniest of tears moseying down his cheeks. I think to myself, ‘He is serious, OH MY GOD!’
I catch my breath, turn off the music and listen to my heart back peddling up that steep hill. I am trying to catch this moment, but the colors are spinning so fast around me.
“…YOU ARE ALL THE GOOD IN ME…”
I THINK TO MYSELF. OF COURSE I WILL MARRY YOU.
My mind is speaking but my mouth is frozen open, eyes wide as the sockets allow.
“Sheri, will you?” Zak repeats.
My skin is flush with Zaks strawberry kisses still lingering on my neck. I am lying amongst the lily of the valley and we are the acorn people of my youth. His hat resembles the crunchy lids of acorns. ‘Hmmm’, I think to myself, ‘this is my dream and I am not waking up this time.’
I take a slow spin, noticing all the simplicity and beauty of our chapel here. As I come face to face with this handsome stud of mine, I smile and whisper, “Only if we can do everything I see in the movies together and you promise never to stop midway again!.”
1983-“Sheri, have you found a dress yet?,” my mom asks.
I am ripped from my hurricane of Zaks memories and find myself staring at my mother.
She will never understand I think to myself. My mouth is open and I feel a bit of drool slipping out-no doubt from that juicy grape I was savoring!
“Sheri, well? Ted’s mom will be here tomorrow to go over the wedding list and it would be nice to show her your dress.”
“I, uh, no mom, I haven’t even started looking.”
It is May and my wedding to Ted is in August. I pick up my bride magazines and begin to look for a dress. Within the first few pages I have spotted a beautiful white, linen, high necked dress with long billowy sleeves, tied at the waist with a cotton candy pink ribbon. The dress looks as if it is floating upon the model. It reminds me of how my hair floats in the warm pool waters of my youth, carefree and loose, tickling as it grazes my shoulders. ‘I can float down the isle in this’, I think to myself.
“Mom, mom, this is it. It’s perfect. It’s the dress I want, look.” I shove the magazine under my mothers nose and she peers down.
“Oh, Sheri, it’s beautiful, it will look great on you. Lets ask and see if they can get it.”
While my mother gushes about the randomly selected dress into the indigo blue phone attached to the wall to the sales girl, I allow myself to slip and slide back down the hallway without guilt.
Can’t I do it
I love Zak.
Don’t you see?”
Ted is nice
And I do love him
But my heart
Calls to the sea
To the warmth
I won’t hurt
I will do as
And walk down
Into a life
Of your dreams.
1981-When Zak asks me to marry him, I cry, say yes and call my mom.
“Mom,” I cry, “Zak and I got engaged.”
“What? Sheri, no, you are too young, what about Ted? You barely know this Zak.”
“Mom, I love Zak.”
“Sheri, you are too young, break it off.”
I DO EXACTLY AS TOLD
2010-Studio-White daisies twirl in continuous movement upon the tiny canvas, sending memories crashing upon my shore life today. In striving to please, in trying to grow I knew I had made wrong decisions, I knew I had hurt people. I just did not know how to disappoint my mother. She was too barnacled and broken from the brothers, I could not shatter her heart into a million tiny pieces. Did Ted love me? I don’t know. What I do know is we were two young kids who’s friends all around were getting married and it seemed like the thing to do….”he loves me not.”