This morning I hand my cane to a security officer at the Lucas County courthouse in Toledo and hobble across the threshhold of the metal detector. "Can you make it through without your cane?" he asks.
"Don't touch the sides of the scanner ma'am," his buddy cautions. Steadying myself with a handy wall is always my first impulse, but I successfully restrain myself and pass the wand scan with nary a beep. Close behind are my fiance, Mark, my mother, and Barb, a close family friend. Everyone glides through except my 78-year-old mother, who spends minutes beeping and getting frisked at all sorts of odd angles. "Do you carry a knife, ma'am?" the security guy asks mom. She doesn't remember. After emptying her purse, they confiscate a yellow swiss army knife and drop it into a plastic bag.
"I guess I do carry a knife," she tells me as we walk to the Marriage License office.
The office is empty. Tuesday, Mark points out, is a very good day to get married in Toledo. It takes just fifteen minutes and fifty dollars in cash to get the license. "Do you plan on getting married today?" the clerk asks. "If you are, the ministers are located to the left of the elevators." We head to the elevator but see no office with ministers there. Just a man in a black suit holding a book.
"I'm guessing the guy holding the bible is the minister," Mark says. We walk up to him and he glances at us tentatively. "Are you getting married today?" he asks. When we make clear that it is our intention, he relaxes and ushers us over to a square of indoor/outdoor carpeting for the ceremony.
"Do you have a ring for the bride?" he asks in the midst of our vows. It is already on my finger, a diamond bridal set from J.C. Penney purchased last Friday at 60 percent off, a too-small ring that the local jeweler resized for me yesterday for a small fortune. I haven't taken it off since. "I now pronounce you Mr. and Mrs. Huff, congratulations," the minister tells us. It is over in less than three minutes.
On our way out the door, mom stops at the security desk to pick up her knife. She shakes her head at it. "Didn't know I had a knife. Glad I do, though." Outside, Barb takes out a small bag and throws handfuls of rice at us. "Thanks," jokes Mark, "I'll be picking rice out of my butt crack later tonight."
It is a blustery, twenty-degree day with a stiff wind blowing down our necks. The walk to the car is blissfully short. We drive to Olive Garden and get seated while Mark parks the car.
"Will you be expecting anyone else?" the hostess asks me. I've lived with Mark for four years, first calling him my boyfriend, then this past year, my partner.
"Yes," I say, "My husband."