Art With Liquor

Part Four

There are so many complications, not the least of which is whether to wear his silvery promise in view of those who might make issue of protocol. It's quite impressive, this ring, and therefore hard to pass off as a simple accessory. No rock this exquisite comes without a penis attached. He leaves the decision to you, giving you the reins to steer this relationship. When did you agree to play jockey to this unsanctioned horse? And part of you wants to buy a downtown billboard to announce this shift in the paradigm is drowned out by your more sensible side. That part, raucous as a sugar-high toddler, says secrets require no explanation. The lack of blushing details has much to commend the idea of continued privacy. The glistening gem sits low between your knuckles, just tight enough to not slip off. It's strangely comforting to feel it moving with every gesture, a reminder of its existence and the promise the silver circle represents. Over dinner, he comments about your increased hand waving when you speak and you don't explain. Kissing the gem lightly, you tuck it into your mother's jewelry box before heading to work.

There are so many ways to creatively fib, you doubt you can exhaust the gamut. Concern for your soul against the lies and exaggerations are conquered by his new game. He's turned every team conversation into a challenge and despite the glaring face of death and autopsies, you welcome the distraction. Well aware of the IQ level of your colleagues he dares you to see which one will pick up on the subtle remarks. The longer it takes, the less subtle he gets. You have more faith in their observational skills than he does and it's justified when one finally comments on your permanent drift of a smile, indicative of your new real estate in la-la land. And lie you might, but there's no 'off' button to your blushing mechanism when he winks. The rapt audience turns the conference room session into twenty questions before the boss reminds the group of duty, of responsibility. Later he confides that it was just too damned hard not to laugh. But you stand a little too close these days and one raised eyebrow leads to gossip. Until the ring-finger sunburn from the weekend at Cape Cod produces evidence that ends the secrecy.

There are so many reasons to love him. Until Boston, it had been an easily ignored crush, one that might have filled a few diary pages as a teenager. Never once did you write your first name with his last name to see how it looked. There were no initial laden hearts in the margins. You remember that high, round table and those beer rings and his arm at your waist and pinpoint that as the moment cupid threw the whole bazooka at you. The things you know now you've learned slowly, like a pupil allowed exploring with no instructional commentary. You like that. He's got a soft spot for penguins, though he blames his son for it. And you can't resist sneaking a big plush Happy Feet character into his office. He's not immune to vanity, though his hair never smells of bleach. And you know all the places that aren't blond. He's addicted to the gym, though he never lets you go with him. And you benefit from the resulting stamina.

There are so many dresses before you, the shades and styles and lengths too varied for proper comparison. White will not be yours, but you are purity in his eyes and that's enough. Two additional sets of eyes are no help when they can't see through their tears and every fabric and cut is declared perfection. You bought your first wedding dress alone, on a budget and in a hurry. This one, this romance in general, feels more like a group effort. You don't mind. True, you haven't even settled on a theme; traditional, relaxed or a mix. And there's much to be decried for his not being Scottish instead; a kilt would have set the mood indeed. For every passing thought of eloping, he reminds you of your worth and your radiance should be displayed before every soul they know. The elegant lace and ballgown types will hush the gathering but there's only one person you want to see speechless. And thirty one dresses later, it's the sleeveless shift that clings with its silken embrace and falls with its floating hem which will best accomplish the goal.

There are so many things to add to 'I do.' But you say only that. Because he already knows. You entwine celebratory wine glasses and realize how many times liquor has played a part in this new existence. It's an art, turning alcohol-induced decisions into a future. But the condensation rings that have marked every good occasion have always been interwoven. And you've always liked signs. He's making one now, a jerk of the head toward forever and with that improvised song craved on your skin, you follow.