The tests of a marriage come in all manner of shape and size. It is as if some supreme being created the institution of marriage as a supreme prank on the human species. "Here, see if you can handle this," I imagine Him saying, tossing marriage like a cancerous frisbee with a perverse twinkle in His eye. Then He lays back on the supreme La-Z-Boy and cracks open a Cold One.
Some tests of marriage are big: where will we live? What will our jobs be? Some are minute: we each bought a gallon of milk today! How will we drink all that milk before it expires? But a true test of a lasting marriage often comes from out of the blue. At least, it did for me. For me, the true test of my marriage came hours before my wedding ceremony.
My fiancee Isis and I traveled to the tiny mountain town of Telluride, Colorado to tie the knot. Telluride was formed as a mining town. Their city hall, where we procured our marriage license, has burned to the ground three times; each time it was rebuilt. In the struggle between law and chaos, Telluride has chosen law.
Besides having a city hall, being surrounded by pristine mountain wilderness, and having an awesome free gondola that you can ride all day long if you like, Telluride has recently become known for the celebrity couple living there.
Tom Cruise (renowned for his voiceover work and infomercials) and Katie Holmes (who stole the heart of Batman and Professor Grady Tripp), recently engaged at the time, bought a small house near downtown Telluride. This was big news; it was also worrying to Isis. What if the Hollywood couple chose to get married the same weekend we did? Would the town be transformed with the arrival of paparazzi, looky loos, and the "in" crowd?
Isis needn't have worried about it. Tom and Katie's marriage turned out to be much later than ours, and not even in Telluride. What she should have been worried about, however, was the unexpected meeting of Katie Holmes and her fiancee.
I was in the local wine shop with my brother. We wanted to stock up for the wedding party following the outdoor afternoon ceremony. With the help of the shopkeeper, we made informed choices suitable for the celebration (unlike my fellow blogger, we are not wine connoisseurs). As I was waiting for my brother to make his part of the purchase, Katie Holmes walked in.
Here's how it went down: I stood behind my brother. The counter was situated so that you walked right past it as you entered the store. There was a narrow walkway, so if someone were to enter the store as you were making your purchase, you'd have to step aside to let them pass. This is what happened with me and Katie Holmes. I heard the door open, looked over, and saw Katie. I smiled (my friends will attest: this is what I do with everybody) and stepped back to let her and her friend, an older woman with short blond hair, pass.
It happened so quickly I didn't really have time to process it. But once my brother and I were out of the shop, I stopped him.
"Katie Holmes is in the wine shop," I said to my brother. I had my hands on my knees, as if winded from a sprint. "Did you see her?"
"No," he said, clearly bummed out.
I had him go back inside on the pretense of looking at another bottle of wine. He came back out and said he wasn't able to get a good enough look at her. He did say he saw a young woman with the same length brown hair as Katie Holmes. But I, who had seen her straight on, knew the truth.
We went back to where we were staying and immediately told the first person we saw, Isis' brother. As other members of the wedding party got back, we told them too. None, except Isis' brother, believed me with as much certainty. My bride-to-be was especially skeptical. She stated that in no way could I have seen Katie Holmes. She was scared, I'm sure, but she needn't have been.
You see, dear readers: I met Katie Holmes and I still wanted to get married to Isis. Never, not once, from the moment I saw Katie return my smile with a look somewhere between avoidance and contempt to the moment I said "I do" to Isis later that day, did I entertain the thought of not going through with the marriage.
Does that make me stronger than Batman? Yes.
In spite of the fact that I could have easily wooed Mrs. Cruise in the wine shop, I never for one second asked to postpone the wedding. I never thought of going back, using my best pick-up line,* and running away with a Hollywood starlet. That should tell you the intensity of my commitment to the woman I was about to marry.
The future will bring many more tests of our marriage. We will weather them with aplomb. Ours is a strong union that no lightning with crack, no flood will breach. I know this because I met Katie Holmes.
*"Are you a model or something? Because you're pretty."