Fort Williams Park was packed with visitors that Saturday morning. It was so packed that I almost backed out. I was so nervous and shy, my knees were shaking. But the nice warm day kept my anxiety at bay. The sun was so bright and looked happy like I could literally see its smiley face just how kids would usually draw it with two round eyes and arced one-liner brows, straight line nose, upright curved mouth and spiky sun rays sticking out around its perky face. The Park was sun-drenched, balmy and momentous. I could see the lighthouse standing proud and welcoming from the car park as we pulled over. It was so majestic in the real sense of the word. It was the perfect place on earth to have this moment I've waited for all my life. The ocean was calm and tamed. And the imposing rock foundation where the lighthouse was standing tall seemed to be strong and powerful. The seagulls were on holiday that day too and happily sun bathing amongst the huge rock formations facing the Atlantic Ocean. The lush garden was sprinkled with hundreds of flowers in different colors, sizes and species and offered a wonderful landscape for the well-manicured garden. People roamed around the park like no tomorrows… families, friends and lovers alike… were all pictures of a happy and harmonious well-being. And the Portland Head Light… was a fixed onlooker to all the goings-on that day.
I got out of the car, fixed and adjusted my nicely beaded beige corset as I simultaneously straightened my matching silky beige long back trailing georgette skirt and delicate ankle-length sequined tulle veil. My Knight on the other hand, was swarmed by his two lovely daughters Heather and Stephanie and mom Mary Ann struggling to pin that pink rose corsage on his equally nice and finely embroidered beige Barong Tagalog that I bought from Divisoria. After some few picture-takings together and with family and friends we walked down the hillside heading to the verdant garden near the light house.
People we passed by [in the moving cars, the walkways, the garden and the benches] greeted us with big smile and nod of approval. Some stopped to admire our matching outfits, others just gave us their sweetest smile and shown heartfelt appreciation, and few ones bravely came up to really congratulate us while a couple of Japanese tourists took pleasure in taking pictures and video coverage of the entire ceremony for their own personal memento. [“Huh? Are you serious?” was the question I thought you people reading this write-up would ask. “Well, yup!” is my answer. I was surprised too but what the heck? Obviously, those Japanese dudes appreciated the event themselves just as we did.] I was so carried away that I felt I was like a famous celebrity on red carpet during those premier nights waving, beaming and flashing smiles to all those fans and paparazzi, who literally were part and parcel of that special moment. I was an instant sensation.
As I prepared for my grand entrance, a sweet scent of happy memory hanged in the mild ocean breeze giving my cheeks the most natural blush that I wasn’t able to achieve from the most expensive make-up in the world. I was so happy and pleased with this new accomplishment of mine. But I know there was still something missing otherwise, everything was just faultlessly wonderful. It was not the right time to be sentimental because I didn’t want to ruin my most natural-young-virgin-bride-look make-up. But still I know at the back of my mind, this moment would have been more complete if only my brothers Japol and Gary were there. It would have been great if Cherry, the kids [Jade, Lara and Toby], my friends, and favorite relatives were there to share that moment [that they too were waiting all their lives] to happen to me. But as I have said, I can’t afford to be emotional. I needed to get it over and done with.
With Dad Alan on my side, that walk in the garden which my new American family, friends and strangers were witnessing and observing was the longest I ever taken. My Knight was just a few yards away amidst that nice flower bushes and light house backdrop. He was patiently waiting for me. The rite was instituted right on as soon as I approached him and took his hand. Gloria Warrick [my new acquired friend and a wife to one of my only two Pinoy friends in Maine, Kuya Danny] officiated and oversaw the rite. After she had delivered the most solidifying words that would eventually seal our everlasting undertaking, I heard my Knight saying – "I, Michael, take you, Ruthinian, as my friend and love, beside me and apart from me, in laughter and in tears, in conflict and tranquility, asking that you be no other than yourself, loving what I know of you, trusting what I do not know yet, in all the ways that life may find us."
Then, with the gold bond [which we chose and bought from Cross Jeweler in Portland] in his hand, he proceeded – "Ruthinian, I give you this ring as a symbol of my vow, and with all that I am, and all that I have, I honor you, in the name of God." As my Knight said those words, he never took his eyes off me. Looking into his eyes too, I was listening so attentively as if it was the first time I heard those words. Though I already knew what he was saying because we already rehearsed it, I was still surprised by the outpouring of emotion within me as I listened to his nervous narration. The impact of the words he was saying was so powerful, it almost blew me off. Then, it was my turn to do the same. I found myself looking into his hazel eyes too as if it was the first time I’ve ever looked at them. And as I said my vow, the words were echoing a tremendous sense of sentiment unknown to me. The moment was ceased for some seconds only God knew. It was magical.
Then Gloria continued… "With this statement made of love and trust, which we have just heard, I now wish you to greet Michael and Ruthinian, as husband and wife." “Wife… did she say wife?” I asked myself while batting my mascara-smeared eyelashes and looking around in amazement as if I was suddenly awaken from a deep sound sleep. “Finally”, I thought, “I am a wife!” And it was official too. Yehey!
And Gloria went on – "May this day shine eternally in your lives… May it add brilliance to every achievement and cast a divine light over any misfortune… May you care for each other in all sadness... May you give cheer to each other… May you give vitality to each other in all undertakings… May all that is virtuous, beautiful and honest, remain with you always."
(NOTE: Continued to the next post.)