Zach and Kelly got married yesterday. They did the ceremony outdoors. Zach says the pollen was pretty bad.
The allergies have been rough in my area, too. I thought pollen season was finished, but there were huge yellow quilts of the stuff floating through the air, dusting my car, killing innocent woodland creatures, inducing mild hallucinations.
The first thing that happens to me during pollen season is that my right ear gets clogged and I am rendered almost completely deaf and can’t hear when my wife tells me to mow the lawn.
Anyway, Zach and Kelly have been together for five years. They have done everything together. From riding go-carts and eating nachos, to travelling through Europe and eating tapas in Spain. But they have never taken the plunge into holy matrimony.
Now, I know all you women out there are probably shaking your heads, saying, “Five years? Geez, Kelly. That’s way too long to wait.”
But all you men out there are nodding and sincerely thinking to yourselves: “What are tapas?”
Zach explains his position. “I guess I just didn’t want to give up my independent lifestyle and get married, maybe that was it.”
Maybe. Either way, Kelly never pushed him, even though her mother recommended putting on the pressure. Kelly simply waited and said to herself, “When he’s ready, he’s ready.”
This is exceptional on Kelly’s part. I am thinking here of my friend, Bradley, a musician who wasn’t sure if he wanted to get married until one day his girlfriend of 11 years tried to strangle him with his guitar strap until he proposed.
Zach says he doesn’t know why he didn’t propose. Maybe it was because his father left his mother and brother when he was still in the womb.
“I just never saw a good example of two married people being happy,” says Zach.
Kelly couldn’t have been any more perfect for him. A few weeks after Zach and Kelly’s first date, they were doing everything together. They were always seen together, hanging out at the movies, going hiking, and eating in restaurants while sitting on the same side of the booth.
They were the kind of cheesy couple you see out in public who rubs noses together, giggling. You know the sort of publicly affectionate couples I’m talking about. You can always spot the dating couples in restaurants.
Dating couples often have animated conversations, they talk loud, laugh wildly, and kiss between each bite. Whereas people who have been married for several years can literally go an entire evening out without even speaking to their waitress.
But getting back to the happy couple. Zach was out of town for work when the coronavirus pandemic hit. The company he worked for went into lockdown mode and kept him in Wisconsin for 10 weeks. He was in almost total isolation.
He and Kelly did video calls, they also texted like crazy, but it wasn’t enough. No matter how great technology is, it can never replace togetherness.
“I thought I was gonna die,” said Zach. “I almost quit my job several times just to be with her again.”
Then came the big moment. It happened on a Saturday. They were doing a video call, like usual, when Zach heard Kelly sneeze. He could tell that Kelly’s nose was stopped up. He asked if she was okay. She told him she felt tired and a little dizzy.
“This is a scary time, you know?” said Zach. “I was thinking the absolute worst.”
The next morning, Zach quit his job and drove several hours home. When he marched into Kelly’s apartment, he took a knee, and presented her with a small jewelry box. Kelly says that at the time she was still wearing her Scooby Doo pajamas and drinking coffee. She began to cry.
She says, “He told me that if I was going to get COVID, then he was going to get COVID with me. But I was like: ‘Wait, what? COVID? I’m not sick.”
Still, she accepted his proposal and decided not to tell him that her sniffles were just springtime allergies.
Their wedding was a simple affair as weddings go. They each invited a few people. Each guest recorded the ceremony with cell phones for absent family members.
“We could hear a protest going on down the street while we said our vows,” said Kelly.
The preacher wore a black mask, they all stood outside behind a local church. There was no reception, no party, no finger food, no cake, no wedding band consisting of four middle-aged guys, playing electric guitars, who still live with their mom. There was no chocolate fountain, no cheese fondue. Nobody made toasts, and nobody’s uncle danced the Electric Slide. What they did was go home.
“I made homemade ice cream for her,” said Zach. “That was kinda like our celebration.”
When he carried her over the threshold, they were welcomed home by the sound of a GE ice-cream maker, churning in the kitchen. They dished up bowls of vanilla peach ice cream, they watched television.
Zach fed her a spoonful. Kelly returned the favor by smearing a gob onto his face. They had a small food fight and their formal clothes were a sticky mess. They laughed. They cried. They rubbed noses. And they held each other until the sun went down.
Kelly says, “Sometimes you meet that person, and you just know that your life’s gonna suck without them.” She laughs. “It was all because I sneezed. I’ve never been so thankful for all this pollen.”
Speak for yourself, Kelly.