There are so many ways to tell the story of this day, today. And in the shape of things or as some would put it: the bigger picture, it has played only a minor role. So minor that we usually forget it. Or we mention it as a by the way sort of funny anecdote to make people laugh. Which they usually do. And we smile and look at each other.
Of course it all began here, but the story of this day could also start with one over eager official at Dublin airport who stamped a three months visa into my passport despite or maybe because of my claims that I was not a tourist but already living in Ireland.
Or it could start with the young solicitor who told R that I would get my residence permit - no problem, mate! - if we would just write to the aliens (sic) registration office in Dublin that we were engaged to be married (which of course we were not).
Or it could start with us watching R's mum come running up the hill after a friend had accidently told her that I was pregnant (which of course in itself was not an accident and certainly no reason to get married).
In the end, three things happened:
- The good people at the aliens registration office (which by the way was in a crappy old caravan parked behind Dublin Castle and apart from myself, there were only three nuns from Zimbabwe applying for residency in a country with sky high emigration at the time) did not buy our story and in the most un-Irish stubbornness insisted on proof.
- After the initial shock to their Catholic hearts, R's parents transcended all limits of their faith and traditions and showered us with so much grace and delight and joy and support that we simply had to give something back.
- Our Kerry friend in London devised a
And so one clear and early morning we were walking along the seafront to Dun Laoghaire harbour to catch the morning ferry and by tea time we sat in Kerry friend's flat in London taking instructions while playing with little Kerry baby. There is no need to go into details here, no illegal money changed hands, it was mostly all above board. Let's just say that our version of certain events and addresses of residence in recent weeks differed slightly from the official point of view.
48 hours after our arrival, this happened:
The two London friends, who had generously agreed at short notice to witness the event, arrived on bicycle. On bicycle?! Of all the days in the year, all public transport in London was on strike. And we were late. And now illegal money did change hands as we had to bribe the driver of a black London taxi to let five adults and little Kerry baby and little Kerry baby's pushchair squeeze into his vehicle. But it was a waste of money because all of London was in gridlock. And we were late. And so we ran, five adults with a Kerry baby in a pushchair running down Marylebone Road and up the steps of the register office.
Where twenty minutes later we all stood, all five adults and one Kerry baby now asleep in a pushchair. Up there between the pillars, just like some other people and some of them even twice.
And two of this little group were now married. The bride wore her hair freshly washed and long and a blue Indian cotton dress with bells and tassels which she had purchased less than 24 hours beforehand at Portobello Road flea market. The groom looked extremely handsome with his dark beard, wearing a hand knitted
waistcoat sweater (must get it right) and an old pair of maroon leather pants. The male witness did a cartwheel and the female witness produced a small bottle of bubbly. Kerry friend took three pictures of the event, two of which have gone missing since. The remaining photo from my wedding (there, I said it) shows the pregnant bride with drink in one hand, while the other hand holds onto the pushchair with a sleeping Kerry baby.
The wedding party then proceeded on foot to Regent's Park for an impromptu dance on the empty band stand before continuing towards Queensway in search of a cheap Chinese meal, which the bride was unable to finish.
The honeymoon had to be postponed due to shortage of funds (until we were offered the job in paradise).
We would do it all over again, just like that.
But we don't need to now.
But we don't need to now.