On 9 january, I woke up in my white pajamas with the frogs on them and ‘princess’ written strategically between the frogs. Since the top was my only button-down shirt I decided to wear it to the hair dresser. The pixie-to-bride transformation began at 10am. Yaakov, my hair guru, worked his curling madness on every strand of hair and fastened it up with bobby pins and pearls. Linda, my make-up mistress, turned me into a porcelain doll. I hardly recognized myself. Diana was my stress calmer… I would loook at her and make an accelerating sound and I’d be pacified for a few moments til I accelerated again. There were hyper monkies with long tails swinging from surreal branches in my mind. I looked like and felt like a bride… one last thing…my dress…. Lynda pulled the drapes and I dressed myself almost all the way. Diana laughed at me as I put my underwear on all screwy. She helped me put my shoes on and fastened the back of my dress. Seffi, the photographer, showed up and snapped away. I was worried how everything would come together, how so much last-minute planning would work out. Inside, I knew it would all be fine, but I was skiddish until evening.
Tsafi came and we met and the 3 of us, seffi tsafi and me, headed out for a photo shoot. First stop, the grassy cliff where parachuters jump off. We used the decorated car as a prop and posed around it as it was parked on the grass. It was his parents’ white car and dana had decorated it with purple ribbons and balloons that said ‘I love you’. They soon popped and the ribbons came undone but we got some good photos before that happened. We drove next to this pond with picnic tables that tsafi and I sometimes used to visit. We took some portraits next to trees and the reality of the day crept into both of us. We then traveled to caesarea where we posed next to roman ruins and walked along the shore on seashells .
Returning back to safta’s, I wrapped myself in a robe and ate with tsafi, seffi and tomer, our video guy. Dad came to me with a selection of shirts and ties and asked me to pick out what he should wear for my wedding. Just as he used to do when I was in high school and he’d turn on the hallway light asking me what matched more accurately. But this time he had a preference and so I encouraged it. We all dressed and went to meet mom and Diana at the beauty place. They both looked beautiful. We drove together to the wedding garden and my acceleration sounds became more frequent. Diana was quick to calm me. When we pulled up outside minchat ein vered, di and I utterly lost it and started singing a song from grease as dad and tsafi arranged the ribbons so that we could open the doors.
I entered the orange grove and let my skirt down, fixed my bra and stepped through the cave into the most perfect bridal pixie wonderland ever!!! Candles from all directions, colored lights highlighting the stones. The chuppah though… the aisle was ASTROTURF!! Oh no! uh uh…. Green horrible plastic yuk! I asked the owner to change it and after some struggle, he did. He covered it with white fabric and flower petals like I imagined… I walked through another cave to the main hall. It was breathtaking! Perfect and then some! Mom and di’s faces were mirroring my feelings. We set up in the private room. Diana was in charge of ‘THE bag’ and she organized it according to level of emergency…straws for drinking, cameras, lipstick, q-tips, any thing we’d need, none of which we used, except of course the straws…
Tsafi and I drank from our arrival until the fat lady sang. Guests started to arrive. I believed anything anyone told me forgetting that it’s customary to bestow compliments at weddings. I felt beautiful. I felt charged, in love, happy, grateful, boundless, ecstatic! Tsafi and I mingled at cocktail hour. Everyone was impressed with the place. It was neat to see people’s reactions when they stepped through the cave entrance. We had full security. Armed guards, patrolling guards throughout the grove. Family members tried to tell me where to stand and how to greet guests but I snuck away from their controlling intentions and greeted everyone as instincts dictated.
A check on the time sent my heart racing… 8:30pm… the rabbi arrived. It was meira, tsafi’s female reform rabbi, a pushy yet feminist rabbi. We grabbed anat and gil from the other room and asked them to be our witnesses. We sat at the table in the big hall…me, tsafi, meira, gil and anat, mom, Diana, dad, itzik, and shoshe. We first selected a ketubah..purple, of course. It was more equally worded than the religious ceremony of 9 december. Meira had translated it into English so that I would agree into this with an open heart. Dad tucked the translation into his pocket and meira explained traditions to us. We all signed the ketubah and then the table was taken away.
I organized who walked first down the aisle, second, third and so on but nothing prepared me for the first notes of enya’s song ‘flora’s secret’ that we had chosen as our song for walking to the chuppah. I gasped..one long inhale and held it. Dad laughed and grabbed my elbow. Safta lea and safta kati headed out first down the aisle. I went numb, ecstatic, nervous. I kissed tsafi itzik and shoshe and psyched myself up. ‘let’s do this’ Diana, ron and Diana headed out next. Then tsafi, itzik and shoshe went… and then… with right foot first for good luck I walked arm in arm with my parents to the chuppah…
A social rite, the heart’s acknowledgement, a bit of a show, trying not to trip… my parents brought me to the foot of the stone steps. Tsafi walked towards me and covered my face with the veil. I joined him and our parents stood beside us. We held hands and the ceremony began. Meira spoke in Hebrew and English. Our fathers read the seven blessings in Hebrew. Tsafi and I both exchanged rings. He stamped the glass and ‘U2’s Pride in the name of love’ blasted out. Everyone rushed the chuppah and we were showered with hugs and kisses from everyone.
Guests made their way into the big hall where they began eating. Tsafi and I climbed onto the back of a bicycle and jinji, the owner of the place, the farmer of the orange grove, put on a wide straw hat, blew a long horn and pedaled us around the dancefloor. He came around and took my hand and we mingled with guests and hit the dancefloor. We didn’t stop dancing all night. We drank anything offered and drank each other like never before. Bubbles and a spotlight like the sun and we danced to our song ‘all I want is you’.
The dj was incredible. The food, we were told, was great. We couldn’t eat anything, too excited. The place was perfect, the photo/video guys seemed to be non-stop filming. Everything was just PERFECT!
Tsafi and I flirted and danced with reckless abandon. All our friends were dressed so kewl and joy abounded. At 1am, the party ended. My family was around me, our friends, we took photos and packed to leave. Mom had booked us a honeymoon suite at the hotel. There was champagne and fruit in the room. We couldn’t touch any of it. We enjoyed each other and collapsed like pretzels to face a new eternity upon awaking.
With a hangover, sore feet and hungry, we headed down to breakfast at 7am and restless, we headed to his parents house. We sat at the kitchen table and read the cards and collected the checks. Some people just wrote their names on used envelopes and put a few 100 shekel bills in them. Others wrote us beautiful cards. Everyone was very generous. We’d open envelopes and just stare at each other. Gil and anat, tsafi’s aunt, his grandmother… we went right to the bank to deposit them. We arrived back home in the late morning with a mess of a dress to contend with, glittered hair, glued-in pearls, make-up stuck to the bends of my face and just a post party high. And so began a series of family gatherings where both our families mingled and ate too much. Tsafi and I would swear we’d never eat again. Safta cooked with happy purpose and Diana and I set the table. Everyone was so loose and casual and happy that I felt such love and happiness and gratefulness. It’s as if they came to take me home.
For, after all of the wedding excitement, the reality to follow was that we were leaving Israel…the best wedding gift ever… a life I’ll understand. So immediately from the bank began the gathering of loose ends. A frenzy of packing and suitcase rationing. Canceling of health insurance, my bank account, internet connection. I welcomes this disconnect gladly.; ‘take it! Take it all! Just get me home!’
Towards the end, I was throwing my most precious things like photo negatives into easily-stealable, possibly-burstable, overly-stuffed luggage and throwing it towards the door. OUT OUT OUT! I left my faerie posters in a tube for tsafi to bring back with him when he visits in march. That and my yoga mat. Everything else fit into 8 suitcases to be shipped as baggage with all our luggage allowances this week. The rest are still held captive on the roof of his parents house, possibly to endure another infestation of maggots and pigeon remains. I leave it up to luck that it will stay safe and clean until it all gets freight shipped by boat to los angeles. What plans we have! So many amazing things to come! But first this unglue period, this realignment, adjustment, a deep breath and then we plunge into our future like the characters in ‘far and away’ racing west to plant our flag…