Except this time I will be moving homes and changing my last name. In less than a month, I will be married. We’ve been together for the last eleven years, but we’ve known each other for thirteen. We were engaged at the end of 2018 when the world was much easier to navigate through (of course we didn’t fully appreciate it at the time) and when the biggest thing we worried about was whether we could afford a big celebration.
I like big celebrations. Back when I was traveling around the Philippines, I loved going to the town fiestas and dancing down the streets, getting lost in the revelries and the joyful chaos. I always start out thinking that it will be such a hassle and that I will hate it. But when I’m there, I just can’t help but enjoy myself. There is nothing like the energy of a full room or street, all cares in the world thrown away, tossed around, and trampled on.
This year, there won’t be a party – just an intimate wedding ceremony and a lunch afterward with family, ninongs and ninangs, and our best friends. We had meant to get married in 2021. We figured we would save first and take care of the business so we could be more secure and worry-free come February 2021. But when John’s dad passed away all of a sudden last October, we realized how foolish we were thinking that we had all the time in the world. Life is fragile and short. The people we hold dear will not always be there so let’s take advantage of the moments we do have while we still have them.
After Tito Joseph’s burial, we took one of his friends, a Jesuit priest, back to the university where he lived. On the way home, we stopped by a McDonald’s and over burgers and sundaes he convinced us to go for an earlier wedding date. “Make it simple,” he said. “As a testament to how your father lived.” We looked at each other and did a back and forth. Should we? Why not? I think it’s a good idea? I think so too! All right then? Yeah, let’s do it.
There was the fear of losing time…and people. I think that as we get older we become more acutely aware that we are living on borrowed time. And sometimes we do forget. When we plan for the future, even as near as tomorrow or next week, we tend to let it stretch on and on, leading us to believe that we will have the luxury to do this forever. But when we come face to face with death, the illusion shatters. We are time-bound. And waiting for the right timing can sometimes just be a delaying tactic, a way to put off an important and momentous thing because it is the smart and sensible course of action.
Not to say that we shouldn’t take our time in thinking things through. As a worry wart, I tend to do this a lot so I am not advocating for mindless doing. That’s the last thing I want anyone to take away from this (if anyone is still even reading).
What was I talking about anyway? Ah. Getting married. It’s funny how, in the end, we were forced to take the advice of the priest. Keep it simple and meaningful. 2020 for sure saw to that. On October 24th, we will be getting married in a church with less than 20 people around us. I think about how, if we had gotten married earlier, there would be one more person beside John when I walk down the aisle. And it saddens me; I can’t imagine how it must feel for him. But weddings, no matter how small or intimate, are a joyful celebration, a union of two people foolish enough to take a gamble on forever. I’d like to think that it is a kind of defiance – of time and its wills, of even this pandemic as it silently rages on. That no matter how lofty it is to think ourselves above time and to pledge love eternal, we do.
Photos by The Panda Studios