It’s almost midnight three days before my wedding and I am re-reading Chapter 23 of Charles Baxter’s Feast of Love: the section where one of the novel’s main characters, Bradley, finally meets the women he’ll end the novel with. The chapter is brief and beautiful and Baxter’s account of Bradley’s feelings is one of the truest narrations I’ve read of the feeling of deep comfort I’ve discovered and held fast to in my partnership with Peter.
“Here’s a profundity, the best I can do: sometimes you just know… You just know when two people belong together. I had never really experienced that odd happenstance before, but this time, with her, I did. Before, I was always trying to make my relationships work by means of willpower and forced affability. This time I didn’t have to strive for anything. A quality of ease spread over us. Whatever I was, well, that was apparently what she wanted… To this day I don’t know exactly what she loves about me and that’s because I don’t have to know. She just does. It was the entire menu of myself. She ordered all of it.”― Charles Baxter, The Feast of Love
I love Baxter’s description of love because it’s so countercultural. It’s not about striving or sex or attaining the unattainable. It’s not about courting or proving your own worth through the status of a significant other. It’s about partnership. It’s about coziness and contentedness. It’s about finding the person whose presence comforts you and claiming them as home.
Friday, I’ll marry Peter–Peter: who shares my love of running and mountains, poetry and food, gardening and afternoons spent outdoors, Peter: who puts my heart at ease with his gentleness and kindness, Peter: whose curiosity fascinates me, Peter: whose energy motivates me, Peter: who has wanted me to be nothing but myself since the first days of our friendship. We’ll recite vows in front of our friends and family on the slope of a hill beside a Darrows Barn in Damariscotta, Maine. We’ll leave the ceremony hand-and-hand with our futures and our families legally and spiritually bound together. I’m so excited and so grateful.