Newlyweds

What do newlywed couples whisper to each other when they dance for the first time? I wouldn’t know, and I’m not sure I will, for that matter. It’ll be several years before I get to a place where I could even find out, that much is for sure.

I guess you could say I have some theories, though. Maybe they talk about the ceremony. Maybe they just make small talk, like “How are you?” Maybe they talk about their honeymoon. Or maybe they just talk about how much they love each other. Every wedding I’ve been to, there appears to be a kind of intricate conversation that develops during the first dance, or the following dances.

As far as I can tell, there’s only one way to find out what married couples talk about when they are slow dancing on the dance floor for the first time, right after the ceremony. The only way to find out is to get married, myself.

My parents would be pretty excited for me if I decided to get married. I’m pretty sure that they have a list of their top choices for my wife, as if I needed help trying to decide whom to marry. I’m pretty sure I have a damn good idea of whom they picked to be number one on that list, too.

So I quickly reverted back to my childhood tendency of trying to do that opposite of what my authority was telling me to do. “Don’t go outside,” my parents would tell me, and so I’d go outside. “Don’t get your hands dirty,” my parents would say, and so guess what I’d do? I’d go get my hands dirty. “Eat your vegetables.” And I still don’t eat my vegetables.

“You should marry Anne.” I could hear them say it. They didn’t have to say it out loud, but words aren’t the only way to communicate. “It’d be good for you.” They might say, as if they were talking about whether or not I should eat my vegetables, or whether or not I should go to the gym. “You should marry her.” My parents might have told me, and so I decided I would not marry her.

But the universe played a cruel joke on me, informing everyone around me of the future before I caught wind of it. Everyone saw it; everyone knew it was there. Everyone saw the chemistry between us, and shared their opinion like my life was the subject of an Internet comment section.

“Oh really? You think I should marry Anne? You think so, too? Thank you for telling me whom you think I should marry. You totally changed my mind.”

She moved out of town for two years, and I hadn’t talked to Anne in months. It wasn’t until I saw her again, for the first time in over a year that my mind began to change.

I usually try to preserve unexpectedness. Usually, I try to surprise. I hate predictability.

But this was different.

She was still interested in me, even after all of this time. Even after all of the time she spent away, with other people, interested in other boys, at work and at school. In another city, in another state.

I was different. She was the same. She still had that naïve high school crush, that wildfire enthusiasm.

If I went along, everyone would look at us and laugh and tell me that they knew this was going to happen years ago. Everyone would tell me that we’d liked each other since high school, and that they always knew we’d be together. And if they ever said those things to me, I’d force a smile, pretend to laugh, and thank them for coming to the wedding.

But none of that was going to happen. There’s a vein of rebellious response in me that doesn’t allow me to follow what everyone else thinks I should do. And so I let her move out of state, again, this time to the West coast. Another year passed, another, another, and another. If I saw her at all, it was because I accidentally saw her when we both went back to visit our folks for Christmas.

No one will ever be able to tell me that they knew what was going to happen in my life. No one will ever be able to say: “I knew you two were meant for each other.”

What do newlywed couples whisper to each other when they dance for the first time?

I don’t know.