Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Steve's wedding: the duringmath, concluded

"It is truly an honor for me to introduce to you for the very first time as husband and wife, Mr. and Mrs. Steve Caruso!"

Most people don't get applauded very often, and it is quite a rush. Kind of strange, too, since we didn't do anything particularly unusual.

Up until a week ago, our wedding song was going to be "Have I Told You Lately" by Van Morrison, but "Bubbly" by Colbie Caillat took a late lead, and we decided to go with it at the last minute. The tempo is odd and hard to dance to, but we aren't interested in much besides whispering to each other and swaying slowly, anyway.

The rest of the bridal party joins us on the dance floor. As the song ends, I feel a hand on my shoulder and turn around.

"You're my best friend," Paulie says, and I hug him back without looking him in the eyes, because I am sure he's sobbing like a kid going off to his first day of Kindergarten.

He lets go of me and hugs Tim, and I hug them both, and pretty soon it's the biggest group hug you've ever seen, right in the middle of the dance floor. Today, there is no family drama, no fighting, just lots of love all around.

Chris takes the microphone for a toast. "Steve and Tim are one of those couples that you root for, the way you root for a favorite team," he says. "We all noticed a change in Steve when he and Tim started dating. You could see how crazy they were about each other, even when they were saying, 'Ohh, we're taking it slow, it's nothing serious.'

"I speak for everyone in the family when I tell you, there were a lot of people praying for this. And today, Steve and Tim's wishes came true, and ours did too.

"I love you both, and I wish you a lifetime of happiness."

I get up and hug Chris when he is done, and laugh to myself as I think about the day not so long ago when I kicked his ass and put him in the hospital. It seems like a million miles away now; I feel as close to him as a brother can be.


"I'd like to call your attention to the dance floor," the DJ says, "where the bride and groom have a surprise for us!"

People look up from their salads, then exchange curious glances. Tim has changed out of her wedding dress and into a slinky white one with a long slit up the side.

Before anyone knows what to make of it, the music starts and Tim and I are tangoing feverishly across the floor, amid hoots and hollers.

The tango was my idea. I suggested it months ago, and Tim loved the idea, so we hired a choreographer. Week after week, we practiced pretty much daily until we could do the dance in our sleep. Mindy told us that was the goal, to be able to go from start to finish without thinking about the next move.

We've had tons of practice, yes, but it's not nearly the same as doing it for an audience. The adrenaline is flowing, the spins are easier, our feet move faster, and we have to fight to keep from getting ahead of the music.

The song ends, we take a bow, and every guest is out of their seat, applauding thunderously. We bow again, and the applause gets louder before finally fading. Mindy said there would be a huge ovation. Guess she was right.

The dance is the one thing we hear about most for the rest of the night. Even now, weeks later, people still mention it to us. It just goes to show you: It doesn't really matter where the wedding is, or what you had for dinner. It matters who was there, and what happened.


The limo is supposed to pick us up at 4:30 and take us to the hotel. That's only about a half hour from now.

People always talk about wedding night sex like it's a big deal. I can't speak for anyone else, but I'm starting to wonder if I'm going to be fuck-ready tonight at all. I am exhausted.

We agreed not to do it for a full week before the wedding, to build a little sexual tension. We usually go at it once a day, sometimes twice, so at this point, I am ready to burst. But having the wedding stress off my shoulders is such a relief that eight hours of sleep might just make me come.

"Hey everyone," Tim says over the speakers, and I look to the front of the room, where she stands holding the mic. "I'm trying really hard not to be corny, but I'm very bad at this..."

What is she doing?

"I just want to say that I've been through a lot in the past couple of years, my surgery, getting a new job, moving, and it was pretty stressful, and I feel so lucky that Steve was there to help me every step of the way.

"Steve, I'm very sure I would not have made it through in one piece without you, and I'm so lucky to have you. You are the most caring, supportive person that I have ever known. I love you more than words can possibly say, and thank you for making me the happiest wife in the whole world."

She pauses as the "Awwwww"s subside.

"The night that Steve and I first met--and please, don't get the wrong idea about this--but I was on a date with another guy."

She pauses again as the room fills with laughter.

"It was nothing serious, I promise. The guy wasn't my boyfriend or anything. But I met Steve, and we talked all night long, and by the end of the night, I was a smitten woman.

"It was about 2:00am, and the place was closing, so the DJ played a slow song. And I wanted to dance with him, so I said, 'Ooo! This is my favorite song! You have to dance with me!' Meanwhile, I had never heard the song before in my life."


"So we danced, and it was actually a few months later when we actually started dating, and then one night after we had been together for a while, he said, 'Honey, listen to what I downloaded!' and it was the song we first danced to. And I was like, 'Awww!'"

I know where she is going with this now, and I am really flattered.

"I thought it would be nice if we played the song now, so we can dance to it again."

The DJ plays the song, "Sweet Bitter Love" (which is playing now) by Aretha Franklin. Somehow, as she sings, Aretha manages to convey deep love and deep sorrow at the same time, and I can't help but feel a bit sad myself, that this amazing party is almost over, and that it might be a long time before I see many of these people again.

But it's more than that. As I think back on that first night, it amazes me that Tim and I wound up together. I was dating Stephanie, she was with Dom. In fact, she probably went home with Dom and fucked his brains out that night, and many other nights before she and I finally got together. What if I never saw her again after that night? Just like that, she would have been out of my life forever, and this day never would have happened. It's sad to think that I could have missed out on everything we've had over the last two years.

I've been thinking about Mom a lot today too. Yes, I am sure she would have managed to make a scene somehow, but it would have been nice to have her here just the same. I was the only one of her three sons who she did not get to see on his wedding day.

The song fades out, and Tim and I goodbye our way around the room.

As we walk through the door, I turn and look one back final time at the festively decorated hall and the smiling guests as they wave us a fond farewell.

As Sam Malone once said, I am the luckiest son of a bitch on earth.