tea matrimony

I sit on a long tongue of blank carpet waiting for the ceremony to begin. Listening to the gentle sts-sts-sts of the bamboo whisks striking thin bone, we look at each other. I find her expression difficult to read. This was all her idea. Initially, I was just concerned about the logistics- the cost of having to fly everyone to Japan. I didn’t even think about the difficulty we would all have involving language. For this reason it took much longer finding the chashitsu for the wedding. And of course, there were other cultural things we had to consider. I was doubtful, for instance, that we would be allowed to have a wedding like this. I was certain some kind of cultural police would put a stop to it, could still put a stop to it. And yet, it was going quite nicely. We looked at each other from across the tatami floor where the long green carpet unspooled between us. I liked the concepts of Sabi and Wabi I learned in Japan the first couple days here and ended up incorporating them into my vows, written with the aid of too much Suntory Toki. I wrote something about wanting to see the beauty imparted onto each other by time and care while also cherishing our unpolished selves, enjoying the present with each other. Overall, it was a great wedding. I enjoyed it. I had never been to Japan, much less participated in a Japanese Tea Ceremony, and I don’t know when else I would have been able to do either. Mostly, I enjoyed it because, well, no harm telling you now that it’s done. It was her idea to get married. Initially, I was just concerned about the logistics- the cost of having to bind your life to another irrevocably. But I became certain in my decision to propose when she walked down the aisle, and we faced each other. Lifting the veil, I saw in her eyes the same dislike, distrust, and fear that I felt. Dislike because this society makes us believe we should hold onto only one of 7 billion inhabitants. Distrust and fear in a future together, in one another, and in the word “forever.” And when I saw that, I knew. This is someone I can spend the rest of my life with.

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