love birds

November 13, 2010

A toast for Becky and Jeremy. I’ve been meaning to post this for some time now, but it’s taken me a while to figure out what I wanted to say.

The first time I met Jeremy was when he and Becky came out to Portland for a fencing tournament. At that point they had been dating for around six months and Becky had told me she thought that Jeremy could be the “one.” So of course I went with Becky to watch Jeremy fence. It was cute how much she could barely stand it -watching him compete. Jeremy would make some kind of move and Bec would twist in her seat and rub her fist into her hand. Jeremy’s opponent would make a move Becky would hunch over a little and squeeze her eyes almost shut. At one point she said she felt like she was going to throw up.

They were in that madly in love stage. At that stage that makes you believe in fate – that stage where you’re absolutely sure you and the one you love share a special psychic connection. It was kind of freaking me out because my dad had just died and the thought of loving anybody as much as they seemed to be loving each other terrified me. I told Becky that and she said she’d “I know.” She already thought about it – that she could be so in love with Jeremy and he could die and it would be completely and utterly unfathomable.

We all hung out together the rest of the weekend and the two of them were inseparable. They modeled clothes for each other at Buffalo exchange and made eyes at each other trying on hats at the Saturday market. We went for a hike up in Washington park and they kept lagging behind, stopping to point at trees and flowers, holding hands, talking low and leaning into each other. At dinner Becky asked me to trade places with her so she could sit beside Jeremy and afterward they shared a chocolate beer float at Pix. It was both maddening and one of the sweetest things I’ve seen – my friend was head over heels in love.

The next time I saw Becky and Jeremy together was at Ned and Kristie’s wedding. By that time, they’d been involved for about a year. It was obvious Jeremy was mostly living with Bec. He kept alot of important stuff of his at her house, like his bike, his laptops and his bass, his guitar and one of his cars. They were signs of seriousness.

They sat close together at the reception and flirted with each other. Bec told more than one friend to check out her Jeremy’s butt. We all danced together a little bit and I loved that Jeremy could shimmy and Bec tried but couldn’t and that fact was more fun than something Jeremy made fun of. He just kept shimmying for Bec and she just kept smiling really big at him.

I knew I’d be coming back some time in the next year for their wedding.

I’ve known Becky now for over 12 years. She is one of the last good friends I made before I left Bloomington. I think some folks have found us a kind of funny pair, because on the surface there are a lot of differences between us. But we forged an enduring bond when we lived together and have maintained it as best we can ever since. I’ve always valued Bec’s support, generosity, forthrightness, and her sense of humor. And I’ve always counted on her willingness to do things, like coming out to Portland and singing karaoke on Thanksgiving or hiking up the side of a mountain in the rain. Bec’s made of good, solid stuff and I wanted her to find someone who not only deeply valued the stuff she’s made of, but someone who could see some of the other things I know Bec can keep to herself, like her open heartedness and her tenderness. And along came Jeremy and he got it; he gets Becky. And one of the things I love is that he makes it ok for Bec to wear some of that gushy heart stuff on her sleeve.

I have a soft spot for weddings, I really do, but I’m not super sentimental about marriage. A life time commitment is made up of all sorts unpoetic and not very romantic moments that don’t usually work their way into toasts. When I think of getting married I think of what Joseph Campbell said about how you have to let go of the life you’ve planned, so you can to accept the one that’s waiting for you. And it does seem to me that if you can do that when you get married, if you can let go of the crazy things you’ve thought up about how life should be, you’ve gone a long way to making a good start. And that’s what I see in Jeremy and Becky – not just the willingness to accept the life that’s waiting for them, but the longing to jump in to having that life together. Being in their house, being around them together, seeing them with PJ – it’s obvious they are committed and I feel lucky that I got to be there to help celebrate that with them.

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