The Isuzu Sidekick got married last weekend. In true form her nuptials took place not in a chapel or backyard, but on a cliff overlooking a dizzying expanse of red rock cut by a winding Green River. Guests off-roaded it in their Sunday’s finest to sit on boulders and a few scattered lawn chairs under blue sky and an all-too-present sun and witness a commitment of love. It was perfect.
We then headed to the reception where I offered a toast. I’ve never given a wedding speech so I didn’t realize the key is to make them laugh, offer the groom some pointers and maybe celebrate the new couple. I probably should have Googled something before reading this:
I had been wandering in the desert for years. It was harrowing. When the wind blew, sand clouded my vision and parched my tongue. There were no living creatures except those meant to sting or bite for their own survival. This arid wasteland, also known as high school, was inhospitable to anything that was not the same. Years of torment lead me to believe that perhaps, this was all life was – loneliness, desolation and struggle. Angst punctuated by angst.
Things were almost critical, when I spotted her. She was a sparkling magnificence full of piss and vinegar and she taunted the barren landscape. Her being was alive and unrepentant.
What kind of creature was this?
She danced, sang and fearlessly impersonated Linda Blair
She cut her hair scandalously short on a whim
Made her home in a hobbit hole under her family’s stairs and proudly showcased her inspirations: Lucille Ball, Marilyn Monroe, Drew Barrymore and Jewel.
And dressed in black but wore high-heel wedges like tennis shoes
I was in awe.
For most of junior high and high school, I had been focused on being good, fitting in, wearing the right clothes, saying the funniest things and attracting the jockiest boys. When I met Kristie she said, screw that, let’s have fun. So we did.
Those first years we were inseparable:
The Yang to my Yin.
The cream cheese frosting to my carrot cake
The slap to my booty shake
Me became we.
Got pierced — twice, once in rebellion and once in Vegas. I have no recollection (or know the location) of the second piercing.
Choreographed dances and without shame performed them at Area 51.
Engaged in the ultimate Utah rebellion – wearing a cross and drinking coffee – to proclaiming our indifference to desert customs. Screw this place! We had each other now.
Stayed up all night planning our lives, calling forth lovers and reading salacious books discovered in my basement. You wanted to travel. I wanted a boyfriend.
We joked that if we were still single when we turned 30, we would marry each other. Naturally, that age had to be amended when 30 came way too soon.
Though time has led us down our own unique paths and we are no longer ditching school to look for prom dresses, our connection remains strong. When we talk it is as if you are still just a block away.
You’re still exactly the same … but more. Being with you is like jumping into a fresh mountain spring, or eating a really spicy delicious pepper. You’re so alive, so vibrant, it’s unclear if you can be handled. And you can’t, but then we can’t help but go back for more.
You continue to grab life by the balls and say, “how do you like that?”
And those around you are pushed, sometimes literally up snowy mountains, to experience more, see more and be more.
I’ve realized that perhaps I’ve had such difficulty finding my match because the bar is set impossibly high. What other relationship could possibly be as playful, nurturing and freeing as this one as been? How many oases can one expect to encounter in lifetime?
In many ways, I think you are my soul mate, and I don’t know how I got so lucky to deserve a friendship like this in this life. Such a thing is truly rare.
So Chad, I know you know you’re a lucky guy. But I see that with you my friend’s sparkling magnificence is even brighter. So, thank you.
Kristie, if it doesn’t work out. I’ll be here.
Honestly, it is an incredible honor to offer a toast to Kristie and Chad. May your union be blessed with support, empathy, kindness, respect, love and a little piss and vinegar.