My Best Friend’s Autumn Wedding (Indie 30 – Day 9)

My Best Friend’s Autumn Wedding (Indie 30 – Day 9)

BootsnAll prompt: Travel helps us better appreciate the present moment instead of always looking to the next thing. Describe one perfect day you had while traveling this year. Where were you? What were you doing? And what made it perfect?

Seventy degrees, sunny, early October in New York with the trees sporting brilliant shades of red, orange, and yellow, a few still green. Good friends, best friends, and a wedding celebration. Perfection.

 

My best friend, Jess, was married just over a month ago to a man whom I know is perfect for her and I couldn’t be happier. The day of her wedding was everything we all could have hoped for – beautiful weather, happy friends and family, no wardrobe malfunctions, and a number of excited out of town guests. We were all just happy and grateful. We were present, living life in the moment, focused on one thing: celebrating a new marriage.

There had been many hurdles to get to that day. On Wednesday of that week, I texted the bride, “I’m in the hospital. I have pneumonia. I was admitted through the ER last night. Call me.” It was the last thing she needed. She had already been through some exasperating situations (which are her stories to tell or not tell not mine). I was supposed to leave for NY (from Pittsburgh) the following morning. We both knew that wouldn’t happen. But she was, as always, caring and gracious. On Thursday morning, I was determined to be released. I was up and dressed with my oxygen off by the time the doctors did rounds. By mid-afternoon, I’d been discharged and was racing about Pittsburgh getting my prescriptions to get on the road with my boyfriend Kevin. I didn’t want to risk the cat setting me off as there is a slight chance I have a mild allergy to her. He drove two hours and then we spent a perfect evening in a motel where we split a pizza and watched Law and Order.

 

By Saturday morning, the day of the wedding, I was filled with joy and felt healthy if occasionally short of breath. I was excited for this wedding – I couldn’t wait to get up in the morning and begin the day. None of us could stop smiling. We bridesmaids and the bride got our hair done early in the morning, singing Lady Gaga in the car, and loving life. The bride wasn’t nervous, just ready to go. Back at her house, more of her family and our close friends had already gathered. I was doing regular breathing treatments and my hands were shaking like crazy so I couldn’t do my own makeup, but this gave me ten minutes with another good friend, Rachel who did my makeup beautifully while we caught up in person for the first time in a year. I put cough drops in my high heels so I wouldn’t hack through the ceremony (the only other option was my bra and I wasn’t about to be the bridesmaid fishing around her top during the ceremony either).

Jess and Adam exchanged vows, rings, and a kiss with happy tears and wide smiles all around them. We went to the park for more photographs afterward and then collapsed before the reception. At the reception, we ate and danced and toasted the happy couple, making them kiss again and again as we banged spoons on our champagne  glasses. Jess is a college friend who I followed to Pittsburgh for grad school, so I knew many of the guests well and many are her best friends as well as mine. We danced the evening away and my boyfriend was there, ever supportive of my pneumonia, but challenging me to keep up with him on the dance floor no less.

The writer in bridesmaid dress with nebulizer between the ceremony and the reception.

Despite being ill, I could just be present. We were all there, living life in the moment, to celebrate the vows of two people we all love. I made it through the weekend on determination and joy before collapsing when I got home the following day and sleeping for about two days. But that’s how the best trips end – with long naps because they were exhausing in all their wonder.

The best travel days are the ones that connect a place with deep emotion. A wedding, a beautiful day, a wonderful place, and being with loved ones is the best definition of perfect.

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