At 10pm I shed my bridesmaid’s dress behind the doors of the bridal party dressing room and escape the vineyards of New Hampshire’s Flag Hill Winery to the white Toyota Highlander waiting outside.
Two hours later, I am in line to take the Bolt Bus from Boston to New York. I’m chatting with Marvin who has, as of yesterday, made it home from Afghanistan. With a rolling suitcase and a strategically wrapped carton of Magic Hat balanced on top, a face full of makeup and a gorgeous bridesmaid’s bouquet that I am trying not to damage, I balance the computer on my forearm and wait as patiently as possible to board the bus.
As quickly as I can, I am coming home, too.
At 3:15am I make it into the streets of New York. At 4:15 I am at my brother’s doorstep in Brooklyn. The grocery store’s lights outside his apartment shine into the street. I examine my situation. Along the way, I have lost countless flowers, smashing some accidentally when dropping my bouquet and then rolling over it with a suitcase filled to the max with leftover Bachelorette party liquor.
My brothers materialize in front of me, my younger brother, Nathan, having arrived from Albany last night. My brothers and I are not particularly close, but damn, do they come through for me when I need them. A 4am ride to DC to pack a three-story apartment into a Budget truck in one day? No problem.
I think at this point you have understood that 1) Marvin has come home, and 2) I have not yet seen him because I was at my best friend’s wedding in New Hampshire when he came home. What you may not yet know is that my apartment lease in DC is also up on this same weekend, and I’m moving to North Carolina.
I actually sort of love moving. I know there’s a lot of labor involved, and I know it’s tiring. But it’s a change; an adventure. You’re picking up and starting fresh again. I admit, the choice to travel the way I did was a bit crazy. But there was a very special prize waiting for me at the other end, and I wanted to get there as quickly as I could.
“Ah,” the man in the back row of the audience muses. “Young people in love.”
Anyway, we make it to DC at a decent hour. We make it out of DC approximately 20 hours later. I have hardly slept. The boys have left me to return to New York (they’re also not crazy about mushy scenes) and I am cruising out of the District in a 16-foot Budget truck. Every once in a while, my truck sways ever-so-slightly in a way that makes me nervous. Damn, should have tied the big furniture down.
At some point I pick up gas in southern Virginia. I forgot to tell you that I’m wearing a big red sundress because, lest we forget, it is the first day I am going to see Marvin. I watch myself from some perspective in the sky as some big tough guy in a truck sees me pull up in a much, much bigger truck, flounce out with my billowy red dress, fuel up and hop back in the cab. He stares at me the whole time I fill up. On the inside, I can’t stop laughing.
When I arrive in North Carolina, I am calm. At some point my racing heart has already jumped out of my mouth and I think I ran over it somewhere between Richmond and Jacksonville. So if you see this big bloody heart laying around on the highway, sorry, that was mine.
I’m carrying my bridesmaid’s bouquet – a little mushed, but still beautiful – as I walk through the salty ocean air of North Topsail Beach, up the porch, into my new home.
I jump into Marvin’s arms.