Love, or Something Like It
I got married the summer I turned five. It was a simple ceremony with a sloppy, wet kiss and no ring. I wore an itchy, pink nightgown and stood tall in the center of the garden on the soft, plush grass of the backyard. Dominik stood next to me, wearing a faded Batman shirt and black shorts. I still don’t know why I let him get away with that one. There’s a picture somewhere in a box that captured this image, us standing there in front of the flowers, his warm hand in mine and two pairs of squinted eyes looking into the sun.
We had three unruly children. Sometimes more if the kids down the street wanted to play too, but usually it was just the five of us. The basement in our home was transformed into the stage for which we played, and even my parents never rearranged our imaginary life. We started in the early morning after the three siblings got dropped off at our house, and continued after school until it was time to go home. Dominik was always the dad, I was always the mom, and the game never ended.
If I think back hard enough I can remember the grape kool-aid dripping slowly, sickly off the table and onto the tiled floor after it exited Dominik’s nose in a fitful of hysterical bellows. His two siblings, and my older brother roared with him as I had stood standing in the entryway of the kitchen, a firm pout planted on my face. I remember my mom sliding in easily next to me, catching the uproar with a puzzled expression.
“Mom,” I had started. “Dominik said I have a nice butt.” Hysterics unfolded all over again, but this time I couldn’t help but join in.
We moved eight hours away from our cushy cul-de-sac life the summer after I entered fourth grade. Dominik and his family drove those long eight hours more often than not, never letting distance hinder our chances of losing a lifetime friendship. We held hands under a blanket on a blue, tattered couch that nestled itself cozily under a wildlife print of a fox and her pups in my basement. Who grabbed whose I’m not quite sure, all I remember is that his hand was hot, not sweaty, but just right and I was positive I didn’t want to let it go.
I felt like a princess in that dress. It was yellow and strapless, and expanded at the waist like a ball gown, just like the one Belle wore in Beauty and The Beast. Dominik had stood at seemingly twice my height in a slate gray suit, which he knew he looked good in. He danced with all my friends, and waited while I took pictures with everyone from my class on the most perfect night of my life. He had a girlfriend at the time, but that didn’t keep him from accepting my invitation to prom my senior year of high school. We spent the entire weekend together after that night and I cried when he got on the plane to go back home.
The day I married Dominik in the backyard, under the hot sun, with silly, pink lace itching my wrists is one memory I will never misplace. That picture of the two of us in the backyard on our special day even made it to the fridge for a while before being packed into a box in preparation for another move. He was the first boy who ever held my hand, he was the first boy to ever give me a first kiss, and he was the first boy to ever tell me that I had a nice butt. Even now as we grow older, our visits with one another fewer and farer between, I never doubt for a second that we will lose each other. After all, we are still married.