We would meet in Toronto to get married. That was the plan. We thought it was logistical, simply signing papers, so Pan could come live with me in Boston. My sister would be one of the witnesses. Then we would have a real ceremony next year when covid is over. Though none of the scientists are predicting it to end next year.
Pan called City Halls all over Canada to find someone to marry us during the midst of covid lockdown. London, a small town, was open, but Pan accidentally told them I was coming from Boston, so they wouldn’t let us schedule a date until I was in the country. Then I called them a half hour later pretending to be another couple but they told me I already called and I sat on the ground crying.
So Pan would handle the calls from now on.
My flight in Toronto lands earlier than Pan’s, so I exchange my american cash for Canadian cash on the window clerk’s insistence. Then I try to buy a coffee and farmer’s wrap for Pan at Tim Hortons so he wouldn’t be hungry after the flight, but they no longer take cash.
I wore my summer floral pants with pant legs that are cloths that wrap around my legs. They open up to my thighs if I want to unwrap them. I wanted to wear clothes he hasn’t seen so he would still think I’m interesting.
When Pan saunters through the gate, he is pushing his carefully-stacked luggage cart topped with his guitar case, earbud in one ear. I run to him. When he notices me, he lifts me up and spins around and I put my legs around his waist and my pants open up like a loin cloth. He puts his lips beside my ear and whispers: You’re flashing everyone.
I come down and hand him the farmer’s wrap.
We stay at his aunt’s basement where I quarantine. They ask questions like, can I see the ring? What’s your dress? We don’t have either.
Pan calls London City Hall again and they say we can’t book a ceremony until I quarantine for two weeks. All other City Halls are closed with a waiting list for six months. The laws are changing: the US has cancelled every foreign work visa except mine. We have to get married fast.
I ask Aunt for help on my wedding outfit. All I have is a dress and shoes that I ordered a day before the flight.
There’s a jewelry place where everything is 70% off and Glenda the salesperson, placing her firm melon-sized boobs on the counter, points to the corners of the store where the bracelets sit. She follows us when we talk about rings. As we leave, Glenda tells Pan to call.
We buy the real rings at a classic jewelry store. We pop a bottle of champagne and throw an engagement party where we barbeque and dance under the moonlight. My parents never wore their rings. My mom said if you treasure something then you should keep it tucked away so you never lose it.
When two weeks pass and we get a wedding date, Pan and I send his parents an invite. His dad will fly from Vancouver. His mom has respiratory disease and can’t fly. We send my mom an invite too. She never responds.
My sister comes to visit us every other weekend. Sometimes I sit downstairs and think about my dad. Maybe things would’ve been easier if he were here to help.
The wedding dress comes. It’s short and summery. Aunt and I pick a bridal hairstyle and I don’t know what hairpiece I like, so Pan’s cousin picks.
Pan and I make a wedding registry because that’s normal. It’s fun to talk about stuff we could have in our new life, like a Vitamix or a bear-shaped laundry hamper. But we’re pretty sure no one would buy us anything. My mom said my family would never accept it and I would be her biggest embarrassment. I didn’t tell anyone that I was getting married.
On the wedding day, Aunt drives me to the hair appointment where hairspray becomes my new perfume. The day is scorching. We start the day with a toast and drive two hours to London.
We don’t know what the ceremony would be like. Would we have music? I’ve always wanted to have piano while I walked down the aisle.
Only Pan and I are allowed inside City Hall at first. They say we have to be quick. I take a long time to change into my dress and repaint my lipstick. I see why brides need ten people to get dressed.
The ceremony is short. It’s perfect. My sister gives us the rings and vows. Our Justice of Peace wore white Gucci slides. Our vows matched and we talked about the ten countries we’ve been to. Then we go outside to take photos. There are six people.
Pan and I send announcements that we are married. I send it to my cousins from both my mom and dad’s side. They are happy for us. They want to celebrate with us. My aunt on Vancouver Island asks if I want bring Pan to celebrate. No one is upset except my mom.
I’m relieved. I’m excited. No one is controlling us. We can do what we want and tell who we want.
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