Marriage ain’t what it used to be. And thank zod for that!
Personally, I have never felt the need or the urge for marriage. Like oysters, it’s something that other people enjoy. Marriage used to be cozy and vanilla and inextricably tied to the white picket fence and 2.2 snotty nosed children – and hey, I like my yards unfenced and children taste worse than oysters.
However, Alison Tyler’s new anthology, “With This Ring, I Thee Bed” is everything I do like about modern marriage: unconventional marriages of all sorts. Gay marriage. Poly marriage. And above all, smokin’ hot marriage.
So given my general unconcern about traditional marriage, it’s strange that my contribution to “With This Ring, I Thee Bed” does include a highly traditional young, squeaky clean heterosexual couple tying the knot. But my story isn’t really about them, it’s about the bride’s parents, Jonas and Penny, free-spirited hippies, living their own unconventional unmarried life and wondering in quiet bewilderment how they produced such a conventional daughter.
Even though Jonas and Penny never had a legal wedding, their love is enduring and true, solid as mahogany and yes, highly sexual.
I think that most people hope, when they marry, that their marriage will last, that they won’t become another divorce statistic. That they’ll be the snowy-haired couple rocking contentedly on the porch together. And that love and togetherness is something I do aspire to.
Here’s an excerpt from my story, “Mother of the Bride”.
As the younger people settled back in for another round of drinking and dancing, I slipped my hand into Jonas’. “Think we can leave now?”
He hummed in affirmation, and together we slipped out the door of the ballroom, down the long anonymous corridors of the hotel, up to our room on the third floor. The lights were off when we opened the door, but I’d left the drapes partially open. When I turned on the light, I saw the bouquet of flowers on the bed. Skye’s bridal bouquet. I picked it up, and turned it over in my hands. The only tradition she’d omitted was throwing her bouquet. Now I knew why.
Her note was simple and to the point. “Because I love you, and because you loved me enough to give me the wedding I wanted, not the one you wanted for me.”
Tears pricked at my eyes, and I handed the note to Jonas. “Obviously, we didn’t hide our feelings too well.”
“I doubt we could have kept them from her. She’s very astute.”
Carefully I set the bouquet on the bedside table and reached for my partner again.
His hands moved to the top button of my despised lilac and gray dress. Working swiftly, he slipped the buttons, pushing aside the cloth, moving it down my arms until I stood there in my simple cotton bra. Bending, he set his mouth to my nipple, warming it through the fabric. The dress pooled around my waist.
In a glissade of motion, we moved to the bed, dropping our clothes as we went. We’d moved like this a thousand times before. We knew each other so well. No need for a slow striptease that night, no need for the ritual undressing of each other. This time was all about us, and a celebration of our life together. And a celebration of Skye too; our daughter, made in love who today was leaving us for her own love and life.
We lay on the bed, facing each other. I stroked the long gray strands of his hair, reaching behind to release his ponytail, combing out his hair until it flowed free over his shoulders.
He growled at me, biting my nipple playfully. “I should let you be. Maybe I’ll go and have a drink at the bar. A fine bourbon… some good company…”
“You wouldn’t dare,” I said, and wound my fingers tightly into his hair, tugging as he tongued my breast.
I treasured these moments, lying together in bed. Whether it was the afterglow, or a slow buildup to intimacy — the warmth and the loving were the same. Even when we didn’t make love — when he couldn’t or I wasn’t interested — we still held each other, and stroked and played and cavorted like puppies, softly warm and playfully tender.
I haven’t received my contributor’s copies yet (a tiny woe of a peripatetic lifestyle) but I’m greatly looking forward to reading.
“With This Ring, I Thee Bed” edited by Alison Tyler and published by Spice is out now.