Here come the brides
The experience of seeing two of my friends being married is made all the sweeter by the fact that they are both brides
She was right, of course, it wasn’t the end, only the beginning. It was the beginning of so many things – a love that has taken me to New York, to a new life, or a new version of my old life. Of digging deeper than I’d ever dug before, to find a courage I didn’t know I had, to tell the people I loved, the people who thought they knew me, that there was something they didn’t know, something I’d hidden away so deep I’d hardly known it myself.
After the ceremony, there are canapes and music, and before we sit down to eat, by a roaring fire, the speeches begin. As the wind throws rain at the windows, we listen to a father, a mother, two brothers and a bride speak about journeys, about courage, about the commitment to being yourself. They talk about all of those things, and I reach for my tissues more than once. But mostly, they talk about love.
The people whom I love, who loved me before, still love me now. Maybe they love me more, even. I think I love them more, now that they know fully who I am; now that I know fully who I am.
Over dinner, I try to explain it to my best friend, a friend who has known me for more than 20 years, the friend who was the first one I summoned up the courage to tell, more than four years ago. She nods and says she can imagine how it must feel to see them get married, but I don’t think she can.
So I ask her to picture a world where she’d been going to gay weddings for her whole life, that they were the norm and that one day that changed – that she walked into a wedding and there were a bride and groom on top of the cake. As I explain, she nods, and something in her face changes. This time, when she says she gets it, I know she does.
Later, when the brides throw the bouquets, I end up with one, and people say “you’ll be next”, and I laugh because this time it could be true, and they know it, too.
And later still, climbing to the top of the old wooden staircase to try to get a signal to call my girlfriend, to tell her about the day and how much I love her, and how I wish she could’ve been there, I know if anyone spots me, I won’t need to make up an excuse about who I’m calling. That the worst that would happen is that I’d be slagged, just like anyone would be slagged, the ultimate Irish acknowledgement that things are okay, that you are one of us.
Like the new Mrs and Mrs who are downstairs on the dancefloor, holding hands and dancing in a circle of parents and aunties and sister-in-laws and friends, there is no need to hide any more.
Not for them. Not for me.
Not for any of us.
Yvonne Cassidy’s latest novel is What Might Have Been Me . yvonnecassidy.com