I join a passel of bridesmaids hurtling down Interstate Highway 81 to a South Carolina wedding. Every last one of us is missing a boy she left up North.
Tomorrow in South Carolina we will greet the happy bride. Our pink one-shouldered gowns wait for our morning fitting sessions. But what is a dress if the boy you love can’t see you wear it?
To the bridesmaid driving I ask, “Tella, are you in love?”
She sits precise behind the steering wheel, a thoroughgoing INTJ, famous for her logic and good planning.
“I’m always in love,” she says, surprised I asked.
“Why do you love him?” I ask. The drive will stretch for hours. We may as well talk about what knocks at the insides of our skulls.
She tells me I may as well ask why she likes breathing. Or worse, her favorite book. She talks about his faith in God, the way he balances her over-analysis. And he loves her. She keeps shaking her head, saying, “I can’t believe the richness of it.”
I turn to the backseat.
“Amy, do you miss Tait?”
Amy nods her head, eyes glittering. Amy, known for her free-spirited giving, talks about her guy’s deep understanding of love.
I watch the rocky string of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Their blue against the sky and the blast of the AC on my legs remind me that I’m 22, old enough to leave home and be alone and find adventures. Even though I do not always want to be.
Twenty-two. That age Taylor Swift sings about, while she forgets about deadlines and feels “happy, free, confused, and lonely at the same time.” The lyrics to her song apply brilliantly to my demographic. But not to any of the bridesmaids in the car.
No, we are not happy, free, confused and lonely. We’re often happy, sometimes confused, and always in love.
We talk divorce rates, the ethics of making marriage work, the stories about the times our boats of inhibition capsized and we found out the love of three good young men had lured us out of our hiding spots.
So tomorrow we’ll go act like girls. We’ll stand like statues while a seamstress nips and tucks, and say good-bye to the bride we love. We’ll dance our silver shoes off, but not with our favorite guys.
I almost cried today, leaving Jonathan after he drove me down to Virginia. He told me I’d be with friends, that I’d look beautiful, that he’d be praying, that I could call him anytime.
Nothing quite matches knowing that underneath his calm lies the steadiness and far-sightedness I need.
It isn’t good for us to be alone. God said so first. The sighing bridesmaids on I-81 laugh at themselves as the miles roll by, and can’t help agreeing.