It was a balmy March 31st when my husband and I eloped twenty-seven years ago. I was in college, he was already out. The school administration wasn’t allowed to know. Our best friends attended a private ceremony, where an ancient Justice of Peace read us our rights. Said the words. Whatever.
I don’t remember much aside from the “Love, honor, cherish and respect” and the “I do” parts. We were both scared. There was a bad guy who’d done bad things to me, and I was hunting him down. The pepper spray the police gave me weighed heavy in the pocket of my cream-colored silk suit, and my heels kept sinking into the moist turf. The wind carried the scent of spring mud off Seneca Lake toward us.
Being married didn’t offer protection from a violent stalker, but it offered comfort. Had I gone down and lived, the man I loved would have had access to me in the hospital. Had the target I’d felt between my shoulder blades for months became real and I’d gotten gunned down before I could lure my prey in and get it arrested, at least I’d have shared this special, precious bond with the first and only man I had truly loved. The one I love still, the father of my children. The one who thinks I’m some kind of magic, even after all these years. He’s crazy thinking that. I’m just his wife – but I’m happy to humor his delusions of my grandeur.
The photo on the left is us eloping. The photo on the right is from few months later, when we got remarried in front of family and friends.