I thought it might be kind of fun to post a few excerpts from the NaNo here, since I have some people who have been asking to read it and it's not really ready for being read in full yet. So, here's the beginning. Constructive criticism is welcome, as it is a draft and a work in progress.
At ten o’clock in the morning on the day when my heart would later be stomped into a million irreparable pieces, I sat in my office facing one of those couples seated on my couch. You know the ones I mean: the fairy tale couples, the ones who sit practically on top of each other, who can’t stop touching each other, who are just so insistent on being blatantly In Love that they make any rational person want to vomit. That kind of couple.
Of course, at ten o’clock in the morning, I did not yet know that my heart was about to be stomped into a million irreparable pieces. I thought that I was quite happily in love myself. As people who think themselves in love often do, I found this so-very-happy couple to be absolutely delightful. A vision of what I would undoubtedly look like in a very short time, when my boyfriend Daniel popped the question and we became the ones discussing vows and unity candles while sitting practically on top of each other in the minister’s office.
But at ten o’clock in the morning, I was not one half of a happy couple. I was the minister. This is my job. I preach, teach Bible studies, lead Sunday school classes, the whole deal. I also meet with happy couples and ask them about their family histories, how they met, whether they want to promise each other “for better or for worse, in sickness and in health,” or “to join with you and share all that is to come.” I probe and pry into their most common fight topics and the things about marriage that scare them. I encourage them to share the things they enjoy doing together. And eventually we all stand in front of a church and I help them make the vows they’ve chosen.
Sometimes people are surprised that I do so many weddings. They question my ability to do this kind of work when I have never been married. Someday I’ll tell them to go ask a Catholic priest; they’ve been doing it for centuries.
That morning, I sat in my desk chair and watched as Jennifer and Michael awkwardly tried to flip through the book of vows and readings using one hand each, because their other hands were clasped tightly. No matter that it would have made things easier, it obviously never occurred to them to let go. I wondered whether they held onto each other so tightly because of how wonderful it felt to be joined, or because they were afraid of what would happen if they didn’t. I felt my own fingers flex and tighten with the desire to be held. I smiled in shared joy with the couple on the couch.
In that moment, we were conspirators in the plot to get fourteen attendants and three small children up and down the aisle without compromising the dignity of the occasion. My mind wandered idly toward how many bridesmaids I might have when the time came. I had never really thought of my own wedding, had never thought the time would come, which I suppose is peculiar given how many weddings I perform for other people. Suddenly I was thinking about it, and the thought made me smile.
I had no idea that this would be the day when my heart would be stomped into a million irreparable pieces.
This is the scene that comes to mind when people ask me, “Didn’t you see it coming?” Believe me, if I had, I would have been out of there like a flash. I am the Houdini of relationship escape artistry, and I cannot stand to be the last to know anything. I cannot stand to be the one who has something happen to me rather than being the one who causes it. I didn’t see it. I saw one of those fairy tale couples, sitting on a couch, hands clutched so firmly that they can’t bear to be separated, even when it would make things easier.
Ridiculously, stupidly, I thought that would be me. But this is not a fairy tale.