License to Wed

Andy and I spent a long weekend in Boston, MA, where we applied for our wedding license. En route to the paperwork, we passed by this auspicious sign:

Neither of us was quite sure what to expect as far as obtaining a wedding license went, particularly as we approached the monolithic cement structure of City Hall. I’ve passed it a zillion times but never entered.

We made our way to the Marriage counter, where we stood in line behind a friendly lesbian couple from New York City. (The state of New York ended up losing out on $100. in paperwork during the brief five minutes of our application process, which we were all too happy to give to a neighboring state that supports our right to marry.)

After the quick and painless procedure, we made our way to Quincy Market for lunch.

The snowdrops were just beginning to bloom, and we managed to avoid rain for the entire day and night.

To celebrate, we had dinner at the Top of the Hub. Neither of us had ever been to this Boston mainstay, but it was well worth the unintentional wait, and after sampling what they had to offer, we agreed that it would be  ideal location for our wedding rehearsal dinner. I started off with the Level 52 (a martini named for the restaurant’s location on the 52nd floor of the Prudential Building, and its use of Level vodka).

Shortly after we were seated, a couple sat down at the table next to us. The girl was nicely turned out in a simple black dress, and a silver peace-sign ring on one hand betraying her age. Her companion was in a rumpled dress shirt one size too big for him, and hair in need of a little more product. I looked at Andy and asked, “Are these two people…”

“Twelve?” he finished.

Okay, they weren’t twelve, but they were not a day over eighteen years old. However, they were very well behaved, and I found it reassuring when the girl unabashedly ate three pieces of bread slathered in butter – date be damned.

On the other side of our table was a couple from Austria, who began with champagne and then had their red wine decanted by candlelight. (Among the three tables, there were three distinct levels of sophistication – and we were right smack dib in the middle.) As we finished up our dinner (swordfish for me, seared tuna for Andy), the waiter asked if we were celebrating any special event and we explained that we had just registered for our wedding license. He congratulated us both and returned with our dessert menus.

In what may have been the sweetest and most hopeful moment of the evening, the young woman next to us looked our way and offered her congratulations.

“Well, we’ve been together for nine years, so it’s really just a formality,” I said. “But thank you.”

“Even so, that’s great,” her companion said. Andy and I thanked them again.

High above Boston, the future sounded bright and simple in the eyes of a couple of kids half my age, whose poise and grace and unquestioning acceptance moved me immensely, and whose silly jewelry and wrinkled shirt would be ironed out in the next few years.

On the way out, one of my favorite flowers – the gloriosa lily – stood in a tall vase before the elevators as Andy got our coats. A glorious ending to a perfect weekend.

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