marriage.
"i'm ready!" 10 year old sarah enthusiastically screamed across the backyard of her childhood home to her sister and the boy who lived next door. she stood at the end of floral sheet draped across the grass with a thick book in her tiny hands. in the real world, it was one of her mother's favorite romance novels, one she definitely should not have been able to get a hold of. in the paulson girl's fantasy backyard, it was the book she would make her sister the boy promise to love each other for life on. the two girls decided that today was the day they would throw a wedding just like the ones they had seen on tv and somehow they had managed to rope the boy into being the groom. liz, the lucky bride, wore a toilet paper veil on her head and sarah, the flower girl/bridesmaid/officiant tossed fruit loops instead of flowers down in front of her to mimic petals. when there was a sufficient amount of cereal spread across the sheet, she loudly began humming the wedding march, or what she could remember of it, and watched the bride and groom step-touch step-touch their way down the makeshift aisle. none of them had a clue what they were doing, and the only part any of them remembered was the good stuff, i dos. "do you guys take each other to be husband and wife forever and ever and ever?" she asked, when they reached the end of their march and stood in front of her. the two children both nodded at sarah, who was clearly a professional at the minister game, and exchanged toy rings the girls had from their jewelry boxes. "you may now kiss the bride!" they had all forgotten about the big kiss until that very moment. a few seconds of silence passed and sarah, who had already delevoped her dramatic personality, egged them on further. "go on. you have to do it or it's doomed." after an awkward stare down between them, the bride and groom leaned in closer but before their lips actually touched, all three children fell into a fit of giggles on the grass. looking over to liz, sarah took a piece of the toilet paper veil and put it on her head. "i can't wait to do this for real!"

sarah sat in a bar during happy hour with three of her girlfriends, one tequila shot and halfway into their second pitcher of the cheapest beer they could get. friend one had just gotten engaged and marriage was a hot topic between the ladies, more so than usual. of course, all of them wanted it and they all wanted it as soon as possible, all of them except sarah, that is. truthfully, she hadn't given it much thought in years. instead of dreaming of big white weddings like the rest of her friends, sarah's dreams were more focused on getting her life together and getting her career on track. she was in a relationship, sure, but they were young and what the fuck did two 21 year olds know about love and forever anyway? as they sat around the high top planning each of their future weddings, it was sarah's turn to share her ideas with the class. all sets of eyes closely watched her as she struggled to come up with answers for them. "i mean, i guess i want to get married. maybe? not really, though. i just feel like there are more important things for me to do..." her eyes shot around the table at each of her friends while they stared her down like she had just said the worst, most offensive thing anyone could say to them. "or not." awkwardly, she downed the rest of her cheap, hoping it would give her the strength to turn girl talk mode back on or that her chugging skill would distract them from the topic at hand. it didn't distract them, she could tell by the looks of judgement still being shot in her direction. "oh my god, just show me the ring again!"


the white house was lit up with the rainbow colors of the pride flag to celebrate the legalization of same sex marriage, and sarah and her new girlfriend sat watching hand in hand on the couch in the dark living room. "this is fucking incredible," she told the older woman with tears in her eyes. though she never truly had any intention of exercising this newly gifted right, it was still a moment and she would remember forever, a piece of history that she honestly never thought she would live to see. it, of course, prompted the two women to discuss the possibility of marriage and if it was something that would be in the future for them. the concept of forever and promising that to someone seemed outrageous to sarah now that she was into her 40's. she knew what kind of work forever would entail and if she ever did promise her life to someone, it was a promise she would take seriously and want to keep. quite frankly, she wasn't entirely sure loved Holland enough for her to be the one to make that promise to. she wasn't sure if she would ever love anyone enough to make it for that matter.

while stefani slept soundly next to her, sarah slipped out of bed and tip toed out of the room to the hallway with her phone in hand. over the course of around 48 hours, the two women had gone from wanting to elope in las vegas to possibly planning a big wedding complete with big white dresses to not getting married at all, at least not right now. it was a lot for sarah to process and she needed to talk it out with someone who wasn't directly involved if she ever wanted her brain to let her get some sleep. "what!!!" her sister shouted from the other end of the phone. she spent the next fifteen or so minutes continuously rolling her eyes while liz gave her a lecture all about how when you get married, you invite your sister. when she was finally finished driving her point home, she asked the question that sarah had been thinking about for days now. "so, ms. i-never-wanna-fucking-get-married, ms. who-cares-about-marriage, is this something you actually, truly, 100% want?" sarah stayed quiet for a moment and bit down on her bottom lip, taking her time to give her answer one last thorough thought. it was a good question. after all, this was something that she hadn't necessarily seen herself getting into since she was young and meant something completely different than it did now. it was something she was honestly a little bit afraid of. and it was something that her girlfriend had always been very vocal about wanting for as long as she could remember, so either answer she gave her sister would be a life changing one. she turned around to crack the bedroom door open, peeking inside to make sure liz the loudest hadn't woken her girlfriend up with all of her intense feelings on the subject. though sarah was sure that even the neighbors down the street heard just how liz felt, miraculously, she had managed to sleep through it all. before she closed the door again, she stopped for a second to watch her. with a smile spreading over her face, she knew she had her answer. she would marry stefani in a drive-thru chapel under the tacky neon lights of the vegas strip. she would marry stefani in a backyard in tampa, florida with fruit loops crunching under their feet on top of a floral bedsheet. she would marry stefani and do it the right way, the way she deserved, in a big white wedding dress with friends and family watching them cry their way through it. "i do, actually. i don't think i've ever wanted to do anything more in my entire life."