He Married Me Twice
By Linda O'Connell
Most brides-to-be plan every detail of their weddings and consider their grooms their “prize.” I didn’t have to plan a single thing because I won the grand prize! On a whim, I entered my favorite local radio station’s Valentine’s Day contest. I penned new lyrics to an old song about my fiancé. Two weeks after sending my entry off, I tuned in as I headed to work and listened to the disc jockey announce the winners.
I screamed when I heard my name announced. The driver next to me yelled too and asked if I needed help. I shook my head and laughed hysterically. The poor woman must have thought I was a lunatic not a bride-to-be. I arrived at school with my mascara running from tears of joy. I took the steps two at a time and ran into my classroom. I frightened my students when I hockey-yelled to my teacher’s aide, “Guess what? I’m getting married!”
“I know,” she said, and reminded me that my wedding was still two months away.
“No, you don’t understand. I just won a contest. I won a complete wedding package.”
“Does Bill know?” she asked.
“Well, he knows we have a small wedding and reception planned in April. I guess I should tell him that we’re moving the date up, and there will be a few more people on the guest list.” I shuffle-danced and giggled nervously. Then I telephoned my intended at work.
“Honey, take off early and meet me at home. We have to get to the court house before five o’clock.”
“Why? What happened?” He was genuinely confused.
“We need to apply for our marriage license.” I was so giddy he could hear it in my voice.
“Honey, calm down, we have plenty of time, two months.”
“Hurry home; we don’t have as much time as you think. We’re getting married next week! So tell your boss you need Valentine’s Day off. I just won a complete wedding package from our local radio station.”
I listed all the things I’d won: matching wedding bands, his tuxedo, my flowers, a complete reception and hotel room. “And honey, we’re getting married on the air.”
“In the air? What do you mean? You want to get married in a hot air balloon? Where did you win this wedding?”
“Not IN the air, ON the air. It will be a huge media event.” Once again, I told him about all of the things I had won. What I didn’t tell him was that ninety-seven other couples also won the exact same wedding package, and our mass marriage was going to be aired in its entirety on the radio station, the one that had “98” in its call letters.
Late that afternoon, we drove to the county court house. I sang my winning ditty to my honey as he weaved his way through rush hour traffic. I don’t know if it was the lyrics, my singing would make Simon Cowell cringe, or the lack of a nearby parking space that made him frown.
On the way home, with our wedding license in hand, I asked if he was happy about getting married again, since we’d both been in previous long term marriages and divorced for a few years. He assured me he was thrilled and mentioned that he hoped our marriage would be the final one. Then it hit him. “Uh, you don’t mean, we’ll have to do this again in April as planned?” I smiled sweetly and shook my head affirmatively.
Imagine ninety-eight happy-beyond-belief brides of all ages in gowns and as many harried tuxedoed grooms standing side by side at 9 am on February 14th in a grand ballroom. Simultaneously we spoke our vows, too blinded by news cameras to see our partner’s eyes. At the conclusion of the ceremony and the traditional kiss, grooms wrapped their brides in their arms and we swayed to “our” wedding song.
My step-daughter videotaped the event from a balcony with a very shaky hand. Later as family members gathered to view it, my four year old granddaughter tilted her head this way and that as she watched the jerky film. She said, “Wow, Nana, I did not know that there was an earthquake at your wedding.”
The earth did move for me and ninety-seven other couples that day, and I have been dancing with my big guy ever since. At age forty-four I married my best friend, a man who taught me in middle age how to dance, love completely, and trust at long last. And two months later, we repeated our vows in a small ceremony before family and friends. He married me twice.
About this writer
- Linda O’Connell is a seasoned preschool teacher and award-winning freelance writer from St. Louis, Missouri. Her prose and poetry have appeared in books, magazines and anthologies. As Linda waltzed through the decades, she discovered her age of elegance was in her forties, but she isn’t complaining. Life has been an adventure. Linda resides in the Midwest but her heart and soul hang out at the beach.
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