Two years ago, I ran away with you.
Two years ago, I said I would cherish you forever.
Two years ago, we stole away from the world and began something together.
We did a Romeo and Juliet, without the dying part.
Two years later, the rest of our families finally know that we ran away just weeks after our engagement and married in a registry, with our witnesses sworn to secrecy. I wore my favourite jeans and a t-shirt plastered with sheep. I woke with the feeling the nervousness and flutter that I think every bride does. You were your normal, charming self, though you might have been pondering what our parents would think. My hands were clammy, my face flushed. You smiled, and it was ok.
We told ourselves we weren’t getting “married-married”.
It’s not real; it’s just a piece of paper.
I still had to sign on the line that said “bride”.
The funny thing is, that the more we told ourselves it was just for the paper, the less it seemed that way. It wasn’t a piece of paper. It was a secret and a binding promise that held us together. It was our weapon against a world that might kick us down. It made us stronger.
Sometimes it was fun playing with the word “husband” and “wife”, once we had arrived in Dubai. My favourite part was championing the holiday tour bus introductions with, “Hi, my name’s Kristy. I got married and I haven’t told my parents yet.” Everyone wants to have dinner with you after that. It was nice to say “my husband” and not be seen as the single, white woman among my colleagues.
However, there was not being able to tell those nearest and dearest to us. The ones we loved and cared about most were the ones we had to leave out of our secrets and whispers of marital bliss, dodging questions about paperwork, visas and the laws of the Middle East. Yes, we knew them well. That’s why we did it. You wanted to keep me safe, care for me and cherish me. And you did.
I didn’t want a white dress anyway.
I don’t like all that attention.
It suited me fine.
I was happy.
I still am.
Happy anniversary, my love. I can’t wait to enjoy the first one we can actually celebrate together, and although there might be some traditionally suitable cotton gift tied in a Harvey Nichols box in our wardrobe, the greatest gift is many more years like these two we’ve just done.