I recently attended the wedding of Mr. Ryan and Mrs. Erin Stenger. It was the best wedding I'd been to since my Uncle Mike's when I was ten years old. It was also the only wedding I have been to since my Uncle Mike's when I was ten years old. But it was a great party and truly a great time.
During the mass, I couldn't take my eyes off of Erin. For one, she looked beautiful. Like some archetype of a bride. Can you say someone looks radiant without sounding like a fool? I've known Erin since high school, and it was so strange to think of her as married, as a woman with her own life now that is so different from Erin Kelly at Dickinson in lil' old Delaware. Erin was smiling the entire time, a broad beaming smile, and when she inhaled you could see the excitement climb her back and just shake her entire body.
It was fun and strange to see a wedding of people my age. For one, it seems like there are so many parts to a wedding that we simply don't understand, traditions that have been passed down and repeated so often we don't even know what they mean any more. It seemed in a lot of ways like a bunch of children aping adults, the things we've all seen in movies, and with the human errors and mistakes that happen in real life (the ones that are edited from the movies), it seemed even more like that. I know the wedding was real, it just seemed unreal to see people I know and have known doing that stuff.
The reception was a helluva party. It took a few beers and cups of coffee to dance, but dance I did, and I was glad Anne and others dragged my ass on to the dance floor. I love the picture I have of Erin throwing the bouquet, Patrick danced like a maniac and caught the garter, and I was able to see a lot of familiar faces that I hadn't seen for a year. While the whole thing seemed so unreal, I kept trying to think of myself in that situation. Meghan's friends have been getting married by the dozen, and I'm sure it's not too long before one of my sisters ties the knot. Meanwhile I'm twenty-two, wandering around China, and the idea of that being me seems like a lifetime away.
When we stopped to say goodbye the morning after, Erin thanked me for "coming all the way from China" for the wedding. And that's what this summer feels like, a short stop-over in America before life returns to normal in the middle kingdom. If I was going to be home for one wedding, I'm glad it was for Erin's.