My head felt funny when I stood up a moment ago, and I couldn’t tell if it was because I got up off the cream-colored, faux leather sofa too quickly or if it was because that cream-colored, faux leather sofa was on the 21st floor of a high-rise luxury apartment building. My head cleared before the answer came to matter. The views from 21 stories high are stunning. They’re breathtaking in the day, when the white wisps and globulous mounds of white foam clouds weave between the buildings in the skyline. When night comes, and the lights of the city flicker on one-by-one, the views through the floor-to-ceiling panoramic windows are doubly so. The vista then becomes a sort of find-it picture book where I could spend hours noticing tiny details. How many umbrellas are in the outside seating portion of a rooftop lounge? Probably 9 or so, I figured. What color is the Ferrari roaring through the midtown streets? Does the driver ever lament the fact that they could never go anywhere quietly? Well, I’m fairly sure the car was orange - though I admit that could be the street lights - and I bet the driver is too busy fucking supermodels to care.
The decor in this corner unit penthouse is drab. A thoroughly uninspired color palette of brown, cream, gray, and silver. Looking around at it now, I’m realizing that it’s perfectly down-the-middle for corporate guests or wanna-be bachelors from out of town. I’m neither of those. I’m not corporate, and as of this weekend I’m no longer a bachelor. Two days ago, I held hands with my now-wife and said “I do” under the flower-draped pergola her father built for us. Hours later, I was holding hands with her 80-something abuela and dancing to the best of my ability in despite a major language (and rhythm) barrier. We ate churros. We got weepy. We sang Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up.” It was, and I say this with as little doubt as I could reasonably expect, the best day of my life.
It’s written in sappy dime novels, into Hallmark movie scripts, and in cringy platitudes on Facebook posts, but my wedding day was the best day of my life. There’s more to that kind of day than roller coaster rides, good food, or good sex. The best day of my life is more of an existential status than any fleeting dopamine hit given by a theme park day. Attending our wedding was my oldest friend, Wesley, and he managed to capture it in the least sweaty way possible: “You did it, Graham.” And he’s right, I kind of fucking did. I managed to hit the escape velocity from a chapter of my life that I never thought I would. And it all happened in one day. In a single day, I wed the love of my life - the one who’s sleeping less than 5 feet away from me on this boring sofa - signed my way into a family who loves me, and accrued the final dollar figure needed to move 3,000 miles away from where I was born. I still don’t fully believe it’s real after writing it out like that. There must be something I’m missing.
In a lot of ways, Fia and I are still in the resolution of this chapter. The tension peaked, released, and is leveling off before it begins building again. In a story circle - mine, the one I came up with because I’m a genius - this stage is called “Reintegration.” I have ascertained my place in a world that I discovered; a world that would’ve existed with or without me joining it. I adapted to this world and grew as I figured out where I fit into it. Unfortunately for Fia’s family, that ‘fit’ is removing Fia from them. I wonder if they wish I wasn’t. She would tell me, had I just said what I wrote to her, that she would me adventuring regardless. She would’ve removed herself from them.
What comes next is scary for me. We have to make good on all those promises we made.