Today is our 34th wedding anniversary.
I have been in love with Karen since we were nine year-old children attending Yeshiva Flatbush elementary school in Brooklyn.
After the the wedding ceremony, Karen and I, and all Torah observant Jewish grooms and brides, immediately retire to a private room to be alone. This is called Yichud. In Hebrew it means union or joining.
There we eat in privacy. Jewish couples do not eat the day of the wedding because marriage represents a new beginning. It has become traditional to enter this new phase of life with fasting and prayers asking G-d to forgive past sins, much like Yom Kippur. Though fasting is not observed on Rosh Chodesh (The New Moon) Purim, Chanukah and several other minor holidays.
Yichud is a vestige of Jewish life of ancient times when the bride was brought to the groom’s house and there the marriage was consumated.
Karen and I are in Yichud.
I wipe silvery tears from my eyes. Stomach churning, I force myself to nibble food and drink water. Karen and I sit across from each other and, well, we just grin. I tell Karen that she is beautiful.
Karen lowers her eyes. Her lashes are so long they can catch rain drops. I have learned that beautiful women are never quite comfortable with their beauty.
“I can’t believe this,” I say.
“Believe it,” Karen says, always the steady one.
“You actually married me.”
“You married me too, Robert.”
I lean over and press Karen’s hand to my face. She smells of vanilla.
“We better go, they’re waiting for us,” says Karen.
I nod, take a deep breath. It is time to tell Karen—my wife!—the truth. Which might make her think that I’m not too normal. But she just has to know. Doesn’t she?
“I’ve been in love with you since the fourth grade,” I confess.
Karen rises, floats to the door in her wedding gown, a Jewish Vivien Leigh—but much prettier and of course wonderfully sane, unlike the bipolar movie star.
Karen looks over her shoulder at me. Her eyes are twinkling.
”Since fourth grade?”
“What took you so long?”
Fade to Black
Karen and I are in the process of editing, rewriting and polishing How I Married Karen. We are going to publish it as a Kindle Book. Stay tuned for the formal publication date.
Here’s the perfectly evocative cover designed by Offspring #2.