In less than a year, four of my friends got married. First was Ruth, my college blockmate, who had a garden wedding. Then there was Nikka, who had her wedding at a minor basilica in Manila. Followed by Abby, who tied the knot by the beach in December, making her last Christmas merrier. Finally, it was Aly, whom I call my twin and a colleague from my first job. Hers was the first church wedding of the year I got invited to. God knows who might be next in line for this year.
Few years ago, I never had a concept of marriage nor I feel bothered about it. I even cracked a joke to my friends that I would only be pressured of marriage if my high school best friend, who was single since birth, finally meets her prince charming. Just a year ago, her prince charming arrived out of the blue, crossing out her No Boyfriend Since Birth (NBSB) label. I was euphoric of the news, abandoning the joke – or deadline – I’ve darted to myself.
I never cast in stone that I would do away with marriage. But I am woke enough to realize that bent individuals have meager chance of being granted with civil union or church wedding, especially in a conservative country where Catholicism is dominant. In fact, when the petition for same-sex marriage was junked, it transpired to me that I am not getting any closer to the likelihood of getting married. So even when the vision is crystal clear in my head, I know that in reality it is elusive. It was saddening, but there were not much plaintive cries. I firmly dealt with life as it is, as it moves on. Besides, getting married was not something concrete I look forward to.
This thinking pretty goes on for quite some time, until my friends started to get married one by one.
Every time I attend a wedding, the couple’s sense of joy reverberates to me. I would look at the groom, whose face would be filled with so much bliss. The groom would pump his fist in the air, victorious enough to proclaim he is the luckiest man on earth for marrying the woman of his life. He would make a sob, overwhelmed by the sight of his wife-to-be walking down the aisle. Then there would be the bride, whose beauty is immaculate as the gates open. Her beauty would shine, as the sun strikes perfectly from her behind. She would walk in between her family and friends, in her pure white gown. At the end of the line, the groom and bride would meet and smile at each other, as if sharing the magic. Then there they are, ready to make a vow, before the eyes of their loved ones, in front of the altar, before God. Everything would be orchestrated well.
Of all the parts of a wedding, it has always been my favorite when the priest gestures to the couple to exchange words of love. More than the grandeur of the wedding, it is the story and declaration of love that constantly invites me to fulfill it this lifetime. I thought to myself, “Sana ako naman.”
I am genuinely happy for my friends who got married. I share the same celebratory atmosphere with them, at the exact moment of their union. I earnestly wish them a happy marriage — a happy family even. Although at the back of my head, I save a little prayer for myself hoping that someday it would be my big day, and it would be their turn to make best wishes for me. Because even if not everybody wishes to be married, I am sure I wanted to be.
I do not know when; I do not know how. From time to time, I still ask myself of the possibility of getting married, holding on to the universe that it would hear me and find ways. Sometimes, I would whisper to the stars, to give me a chance to dedicate and submit my heart to the person I love – loud and proud. Other times, I bargain that I would not demand a grand and lavish wedding — no garden wedding, no by the beach wedding, and not even at an elegant church. Just a plain and intimate wedding, enough to be cherished for lifetime.
A friend once reminded me that no one holds the future and miracles occur at random instances, which speaks to me that I should not retreat from my faith that one day, it would come about. When that day arrives, and it is time to share my words of love to my future groom, I could finally say these intro lines to him:
“I used to write about this — about us. Back then I was anxious to open my eyes from dreaming, because I knew reality would always hit me hard. But today, your presence in front of me calls me to try closing my eyes one more time and dream, holding it for as long as I can. This time, I would open my eyes unafraid, because you will still be there. Tangible enough for me to feel and touch. A reminder that this is happening, that this time it is real.”