I was looking through pictures the Not Boyfriend and I snapped at my friend Lulu's wedding in Portland last month, overtaken time and again at just how beautiful she is -- and especially was in those moments.
That was my first thought, gasping again at her smile, when I saw this one of Lulu and her groom coming down the aisle after their vows.
But it only took a split second for me to see this...
See it there, marked by sunshine on the side of the reception hall?
I have no idea how that sweet shape made its way through her radiance, how it landed where it did in that one moment we all were watching this happy couple. What I hope is that it is a sign of all that is ahead of her.
I've been to a lot of weddings in the years since I have been divorced, and at most of them, I've been seated with my parents or other single friends. That has been nice. Still, I sipped on champagne and stayed rooted in my banquet chair during the bouquet toss, quietly hoping for a plus-one, looking ahead and squinting to see events when I could dance with my own love.
This was the third wedding I went to with the Not Boyfriend as my date. During one wedding, we threw rose petals as the bride and groom relived one moment from their courthouse nuptials the week before. At another, we took crazy photo booth pictures with Lil E. At this wedding, we felt like a family.
Lil E ran outside in the dark, playing catch on a hilly sideyard. The Not Boyfriend and I swayed to a song or two when an iPhone playlist after the bluegrass quartet packed up and went home. I wished the wedding could go on so we could dance to a few more slow songs, maybe share another glass of champagne, stand outside in the pitch black to give E just five more minutes to play free.
Maybe it wasn't much different than those weddings when I longed to not be alone, if only in that I was looking ahead for more than what I had in that one turn in time. I saw the heart then. It just seemed so far ahead.
Or maybe it was completely different. I found the love. I just want more time to pull it close, pressing it to my own beating heart.
Lulu didn't see that heart-shaped light. Since she's been busy with a honeymoon and the post-wedding scramble to get back to everyday life, I haven't had the chance to point it out to her.
Bride or single lady sitting at the table alone, we don't always see that promise and glow just beyond our reach, do we? But look, it's there. If you look, hard enough and for long enough, you will see it there.