My husband Adrian and I have a date night tonight at the Mission Inn. We have been together almost twenty years, but have only been married for a little less than three years. It took Adrian almost seventeen years to marry me. I call myself the patron saint of patience, but, in reality I was not patient at all.
We had been together twelve years when I moved to San Francisco to join Adrian in his second year of dental school at UCSF. I left my prestigious six figure law firm job in Houston for him and I didn't let him forget it. I bugged Adrian every day for two years to marry me. And, I do mean every day, sometimes twice a day.
In his third year of dental school, Adrian (finally) asked me to marry him. He proposed in Sonoma County by the ocean. His original plan was to ask me in a hot air balloon in Napa, but I nixed that idea quickly. "Are you fuckin crazy? I am scared to death of heights," I reminded him in a sharp voice. "Ummm, I guess I will cancel it," he told me in a sad little voice. "Damn right you will", I thought to myself.
And I wonder why it took him so long.
The proposal did not start out auspiciously. We were driving back home to San Francisco from the bed and breakfast that we stayed at in Mendicino and every time we stopped to look at the cliffside ocean views I tensed up thinking Adrian would ask. But he didn't.
About an hour into the drive, I had to go to the bathroom and we stopped at a beach. I used the portable restroom and came running out with my pants around my ankles chased by the bees that had reared their ugly heads when I opened up the toilet.
Shortly after I had pulled up my pants, Adrian decided that was the perfect moment and got down on a knee right there in the sand and told me he loved me and wanted to marry me. Even though I knew I had forced him to ask me through my persistent entreaties, I said, "yes".
It took Adrian another three years to marry me. It wasn't the wedding we had planned, but when I said my vows at the San Bernardino City Hall in front of Adrian's parents and my mom it was as if I was saying the words in a cathedral with vaulted ceilings. I could feel God's presence and the weight of my vows echoed in my head as I said them.
The only thing missing was my dad. Right before he died, my dad told Adrian that he knew he didn't have to worry about me because Adrian had always taken good care of me. On the day of my wedding, I know he was looking down at us from the big casino in the sky smiling.
After the civil ceremony, Adrian's dad Alberto, who died a little more than a year ago, took us all to lunch at the Mission Inn. I spilled salsa on my cream wedding suit and I remember Alberto shaking his head and laughing as he said in his Argentine accent, "Juanita, I love you."
Tonight at the Mission Inn, I will remember us all around the table as I raise my wine glass to the heavens.