This afternoon, my dear friend Merida and I were driving around Seattle, finishing the last errands before the wedding. After all, the Chef’s family is arriving in town tomorrow morning. And after all this planning and anticipating and cleaning the house and running more errands, I am finally done.
Tomorrow morning, I surrender.
Thank you all for your comments and suggestions, bolstering me and sending me your good wishes. Truly, I realized after reading this dear community’s thoughts — wow, this has been an unusual time. Merida just returned from three weeks in Spain. The first night I saw her, she was as prickly as cactus, as removed as a faded recipe in an out-of-print book. Today, she told me, “God, I was really jet-lagged, and I wouldn’t admit it.” And that helped me to see, “Man, I am have been stressed, and somehow still a bride in spite of my wish to be different from everyone else’s example, and I couldn’t fully admit it.” But today, I realize how jet-lagged I have been.
I am home.
As we were driving around in the hazy sunshine, after a fitting for my wedding dress at the tailor’s, we were talking about what would happen on the day. I long ago decided to eschew most of the silly traditions. No damn garters. However, when I told Merida that we weren’t going to do a formal cake cutting ceremony, she gasped.
“You have to!” she said, clearly disapproving.
“Why?” I wondered.
“Because, that’s what you two do. You feed each other.”
As soon as she said it, I knew she was right. There are so many reasons why I am exultant and sure in my choice to marry the Chef. If you have been reading, you know. If not, it comes down to one word: yes.
But more than anything, the Chef feeds me. No one else has ever understood or accepted me as he has. No one else has ever made me laugh so hard. No one else has ever been as important to me. He is my partner, my best friend, and my true companion.
Tonight, I am making the first layer of the chocolate-banana cake we are making for our wedding. There are two more. After much discussion, we decided to create a three-tiered, real wedding cake. (We’re putting cardboard rounds between each layer, thanks to Tita’s sage advice.) Over the next few days, in the three minutes I have off among all the joyful activities of the weekend, I’ll be baking a gluten-free cake.
Let’s be honest. The night before, my dear friend Sharon (who is my maid of honor) is staying the night with me. (The Chef is staying with his parents, since he doesn’t want to see me until the moment I walk down the aisle.) Knowing us, and the way life is going, we’ll probably be up until one in the morning, baking cakes and laughing.
In the morning, the Chef will decorate the cake, with a chocolate ganache frosting, curlicues of dark chocolate, and fresh raspberries. (The picture you see above is a trial run.) He’ll need something to do with his hands in the morning. He’ll be teary and full of adrenaline. He is always soothed by putting his hands in the food.
How well I know him now.
And so, that cake cutting? Merida is right. It is one of the best evocations of who we are, our partnership and daring. A gluten-free wedding cake? What the hell. We’re not going to let anything stop us.
But we are not smooshing chocolate cake into each other’s faces.
Instead, we will feed each other, as we intend to do the rest of our lives.
This will be my last post for awhile. Starting tomorrow morning, I’ll be joyfully reveling in our real lives, not sharing them with the internet world. I’ll be silent here, probably for over a week. Eventually, I’ll return with photos and stories, recipes and remembrances.
And on Monday, July 16th, just after 3 pm, I’ll no longer be Shauna James. I’ll be Mrs. Shauna James Ahern.
Welcome, oh life. Here I come.