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The date is October 9, 2004.  Five years ago today.

I wake up early because there is much to do.  I didn’t sleep much last night, a strange concoction of nervousness and excitement blended together to help sleep evade my grasp.  I go through the preparations almost in a daze.  There is a mystical quality to the world today that I have never noticed before.

As I walk out the door and climb in my car I stop for a moment and contemplate all that has gone before and all that is yet to come.  A smile plays across my lips and I depart. 

The first stop is the grocery store, believe it or not, and for all things: balloons.  I chuckle at the silliness of walking into an early Saturday grocery rush dressed as I am to purchase something as random as balloons.  I get a few stares, but they just add to my rush as the amusement of it all swirls in my head.

I stop to place the balloons on the way.  I don’t have scissors or anything similar with me.  The closest I find inside is a corkscrew.  Again, a smile plays across my lips as I split the ribbon holding the balloons with a corkscrew.  When did I become such a smiling person?  Where is my typical cynicism and dour face?  Nowhere to be found on this day.

My friends arrive and I climb into their car, leaving mine behind.  We exchange pleasantries, but the day is so full of promise words don’t seem to truly express our thoughts and quiet settles.  As I cross the threshold into the theater my pulse quickens.  That step seems so fateful, so enduring to me.

The next hour or so flies by in a flurry, but drags on like an eternity.  I see to the final preparations.  I greet my guests.  I pace.  My breath hardly wants to come and my pulse refuses to slow its marathon.  In the background I catch glimpses of Buster Keaton dancing across the theater’s screen, another gift from the all-too generous owner of the theater.

Then it is time.

I stand on the stage, my eyes glued to the entrance to the theater.  In the shadows I see a silhouette moving toward the stage slowly.  The music fills the theater as the silhouette crosses from shadow to light and she begins to climb the steps to the stage.

My breath departs.

I speak my vows, every word conveying my dedication, but my mind, so full of love for her, is absolutely frozen by the radiance of her standing there with me on that stage.  We exchange rings, each placing their’s upon the hand of the other.  Lost in her eyes, I hear the words “man and wife.”  I lean forward to kiss my beloved, now my wife.

And thus, forever begins.

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