Today I perform my first wedding. Technically, my wards were married two weeks ago in New Orleans, because it was much simpler since I'm a registered holy man in Orleans Parish, not Rhode Island where the ceremony will take place in two hours. In New Orleans, we did a quick paperwork transaction at a coffee shop near City Hall, husBen being one witness, and the friendly barista girl being the other. After the transaction, I was presented with three dead rats—true, I had asked for them because Scully, my python was hungry, but I like to think of such an offering as a standard ministerial fee. "Don't forget three more dead rodents with which to cross my palm!" I texted Ryder last night from Provincetown, the gayest city east of Gaysville, GA at the land's end of Cape Cod where husBen and I had enjoyed a pleasant three day sojourn.
This morning found us up and, if not exactly at 'em, then at least towards 'em, at 7:00am to make the early afternoon ceremony in Portsmouth, R.I.
This is a particularly meaningful event for me, due to the identity of Ryder, the groom. Flashback: it's 1991. I'm a student at The American University in Washington. My favorite band in the world, Throwing Muses, is playing our university. I'm in seventh heaven; their music, at that time in my life, was often my only solace and reminder that the world didn't entirely suck, and that there was realness afoot, you just had to go to some trouble to find it in an otherwise shallow, live-for-the-moment western civilization. (Yah, these were my semi-Goth days. Shaddup. It's a necessary stage for the discerning gourmand of life's full buffet.)
Kristin Hersh, the lead Muse, was in many ways MY muse, and when I saw her perform that belovèd music…seven and a half months pregnant, I nearly swooned. Talk about your anti-rockstar! My reverence redoubled. End flashback.
Present day: in two hours, I will be officiating the marriage of that 1991 soon-to-be-born Ryder, erstwhile a rock n roll lump, now a tall, striking lad that I've had the enormous good fortune to have known lo these last six years.
A couple of years ago he lived with us for a semester while attending Tulane U. It was supposed to be just until he found somewhere Uptown that was both affordable and livable. But Ben and I were so taken with the lad's thoughtfulness, gentleness, intelligence, and incredible baking skills that we offered him Manderley's guest room for as long as he liked, gratis. Thus I became f'uncle* to Ryder. (*Faux-Uncle.)
He met Jade during a year in Japan, and they fell for each other hard. I met her eventually when she came to New Orleans and my first impression was of the tenderness they felt for each other. I delighted in the giant smile that so rarely had appeared on Ryder's often-troubled visage. I didn't think he could be that happy. Probably, neither did he.
A couple years later they decided to marry. Jade dreamed that I officiated the ceremony, and they asked me if I could do that. I'd always meant to become a holier-than-thou man for just this kind of call, so I did all of my paperwork and got myself all ordained n' stuff.
So today I marry off my ne-faux-yew and so begins his life as a real-life grown-up with his own family.
It'll be odd, looking at Kristin in the congregation, remembering her slow, gravid sway as she slashed out the guitar licks I still love and howled her beautiful music 24 years ago. So much has happened since 1991, and I'm profoundly grateful that one of the aspects of that time lapse was that our paths not only crossed, but seem to have merged together.
Today, I'm a proud f'uncle.