7 years

Last Sunday, me and wifey celebrated our 7th anniversary with a return trip to Alma De Cuba for a nice nite out in Philly. As always, we reminisced about our unconventional "first" wedding day back in 2000.

It was a sunny Saturday on May 13th. I'm not superstitious, but I always imagine people reacting curiously in their head when hearing that number. Anyway, the sun was blinding its way through our apartment windows facing Spring Garden street in Philly. She was a vision in a white miniskirt. I was all heated in my navy suit - not just because it was hot, but because we were running late as usual. We're still notoriously late for any social event - company parties, meeting friends, or even a simple restaurant reservation for ourselves. I could always say I'm on "Filipino Time", but I don't know what her excuse is - Japanese people are supposed to be punctual. I must be a bad influence.

So we scooped our wedding license, our rings and headed out to Yerkes Wedding salon in West Philly. Maxwell's high pitched cover of Kate Bush's "This Woman's Work" shrilled off the radio as I whizzed through a maze of streets. I don't remember how I initially found this place - probably through the internet. There was no heavy research, just looking for a place that could accomodate a quickie in a short turnaround. At that time we were in a slight rush. She would graduate a week later and her student visa would expire. That's why there was no traditional proposal on my part. Our story is that we sat at the now defunct IHOP on Walnut Street and realized the convergence of her expring visa with the status of "us". From that point, a rush of events ensued. A pleasant day at City Hall to get our marriage license. A quick trip to Tiffany's in my baggy jeans and Timbs to grab the rings. You may notice that I skipped the informing the parents part. That would come later and deserves a separate story for itself. And then finally the big day at Yerkes.

The wedding salon was in reality a converted house with a number of nuptial rooms. We signed in and presented our license at a long makeshift table in the lobby entrance. Not exactly glamorous, but official nonetheless. We were led to a room near the back of the house. Nothing too memorable about this room. Kind of sparse with minimal wedding decorations. I think there was some sort of background frame that reminded me of a school play set. The official gave us his schtick and we were smiling at each other and stifling giggles for some reason. Following the vows and our kiss to seal the deal, the witness took our picture which we purchased for a small fee. We then exited literally through the back door of the house in wedded bliss. While driving away from Yerkes, we laughed more about the silliness of the wedding salon rather than reflect upon the gravity of our committment. We had lived together as bf/gf for 1 1/2 years at this point, so marriage provided no tangible difference other than the wedding rings on our fingers. So we followed the ceremony by lunching at an outdoor table of a restaurant in Old City. Surely, if we had a chance to go back, we'd do things differently. But somehow this story seems almost appropriate.

Whenever we reminisce about this day, we always conclude that we were being young. I guess 24 & 25 is not really that young - but we were young for that age. Young in terms of operating with a slight recklessness and a wide-eyed "us against the world" mentality. We were living in the moment because we were the future.

7 years later - sitting at this restaurant, I find myself enjoying the cliche of "growing old together" and appreciating the simplicity of sharing a dessert and a quiet moment together.


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