Today, Roel and I would mark our 23rd wedding anniversary. Twenty-three years!
A lot has changed since that fateful day, but I could still vividly picture in my mind the young groom patiently waiting for me at the end of the altar……as if the wedding happened only yesterday.
Wearing a traditional Barong Tagalog, he was the perfect vision of a debonair gentleman. Looking at him staring back at me, I saw in that instant all the things he was and would always be to me – my knight in shining armor, my soulmate, my kindred spirit, my bosom buddy, my confidant, my partner in crime, my better half, my significant other, my forever and beyond. During that moment, when time magically stood still, I felt like my heart would burst out of my chest – with affection, love, excitement, anticipation, determination and certainty.
During the traditional march, my step faltered, not with doubt or hesitation, but with the sudden realization that, finally, there it was. I was standing face-to-face with my future and eternity. He will be my home, my universe, my sun, my anchor, my rock, my beacon, my sanctuary. Every twinkle in my eyes, every flicker of an eyelash, every bounce in my step, every joy in my heart, every smile on my lips, every lilt in my laughter, every butterfly in my stomach, every glow in my cheek, every quiver, every flutter, every touch, every sweet whisper – everything that is good and beautiful in me – will only be for him and because of him.
When I reached his side and we joined hands, I felt everything fall into place. No more void, no more need, no more wanting, no more brokenness, no more restlessness, no more flaw. I was complete, and I was where I was supposed to be all along.
When we said our vows, all emotions came to the fore, almost stifling and suffocating in their rawness and sacredness. “I take thee to be my lawfully wedded husband/wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish until death do us part.”
And when he placed the ring on my finger, I knew with absolute certainty that no matter what happens, no matter what the future and the fates hold for us, we will always be there for each other. We will be each other’s balance – a force that stabilizes and steadies each other other, the half that would complete the other and, together, would make a stunning whole – humor in a gloomy day, caution to temper impulsiveness and carelessness, a push for the feet that drag, spontaneity when boredom strikes, a soft bed to cushion a fall, a Devil’s advocate, a conscience, wings, fire, a security blanket, a one-man cheering squad, a fire extinguisher, a safety net, a thirst-quencher, a torch.
When we shared our very first kiss as husband and wife, tears welled from my eyes. I realized right then that from that day onwards, we could be exchanging a million more in the span of our lifetime together. The passion, the longing, the spark might all be gone along with youth, but the need to comfort and assure each other with even a peck in the cheek will always stay.
When the priest finally presented us to all our families and friends as the new couple joined before God and His church, and cheerful applause erupted, I was assaulted by a series of visions. Silver, pearl, ruby, gold, diamond – all the momentous wedding anniversaries we will be celebrating. Moments when we will visit and revisit that day. With fondness, with lessons learned along the way, with renewed commitment and with gratitude.
Twenty years ago, I chased my dream. Relentlessly. And now that I’m securely holding it in my hands, I’m not letting go. Ever.
Happy wedding anniversary, Knee. I’m looking forward to making more memories with you. And I hope you’ll never grow tired of hearing this because, I assure you, I will never get tired of saying these three little words – words that sum up all the emotions you evoke in me. I love you.