Then Father Time
won’t you do your best
A broken heart
Excerpt from my journal:
October 5, 2004
I, Monica Danielle Butler, at 27 years old, married Serge Christopher Bielanko yesterday at 5:30 in the evening. Nobody knows about it except for us.
He flew out here Monday September 27th. We had a beautiful week. And yesterday, we woke up, went down to Crossroads Mall to return some pants Serge had bought earlier this week. After that, we started looking at rings at this kiosk. We bought two silver bands for ten bucks apiece.
Then we drove to the Salt Lake County building to see about a marriage license. To get married at the county building was a two week wait. They gave us a list of retired judges who still perform weddings. We went outside, about 3:30 on a warm, fall day, sat on the freshly cut lawn and talked about what we wanted to do.
For me, despite how rushed and ridiculous it sounds, marrying Serge Bielanko is what I was born to do. Nothing I've ever done in my life has felt more right. We made an appointment for 5:30 with a judge in the city of Sandy, went back in and bought a marriage license.
Then we drove to Sugar House (a Salt Lake City neighborhood), Serge bought a coffee, we walked around a bit, talking, full of adrenaline. Then we drove home and changed our clothes. I put on a sundress and put on Max's collar as a garter. We drove to Rite Aid and bought a disposable camera and three postcards. One for Serge's Mom, his Dad and Dave.
We drove to the judge's house in Sandy. Beautiful evening, along the rim of the valley, autumn leaves on fire. The judge's house was this beautiful cottage type with ivy crawling up the sides. We went inside, the judge was there along with his wife and a neighbor, who were our witnesses. We signed the certificate and the ceremony began
It was better than anything I imagined. I was afraid and shaking but Serge kept his arm around me, kept squeezing my hand. Then the judge told us to face each other. As soon as I could look Serge in the eyes I felt okay.
We took our vows, for richer or poorer, in sickness and health, then exchanged rings. "With this ring, I thee wed". The judge said you may kiss the bride in French, which is interesting because Serge's dad is from France. We kissed, my blood racing through my veins and it was over.
I hugged the judge and the witnesses, we took some pictures and off we drove. We put on Marah, Phantom Eyes. Serge's brother Dave wrote it, and it was our way of having him there. Plus it's one of my favorite Marah songs.
We both just kept staring at each other.
"You're my wife!"
"You're my husband!".
We stopped and took some more pictures then came home and changed. We went out to dinner at Red Lobster (Serge had a gift certificate, ha!) then we came home, made love for the first time as man and wife... and went to bed. AND I WOULDN'T CHANGE A THING!
I will write more tomorrow. I just wanted to write about the actual events while they are still fresh in my mind. Serge is gone, back to his tour... America, Europe. I won't see him for a month. More tomorrow.
I am Monica Bielanko! And nobody but Serge and I know...
Oh My God.
Why did we keep it a secret? We simply wanted to own the knowledge ourselves for a bit. We wanted to bask in our marriedness without the judgement of brothers, mothers and ex-lovers. On paper it seems hasty and impulsive but it felt anything but. I felt as if I had spent my life preparing for that moment. Both of us, from the night we met, knew this was what we wanted. We knew what we were doing and we didn't want anyone ruining our happiness with their skepticism.
So we got married and we kept it to ourselves. Because it wasn't about anyone else but us. And we wanted it to stay that way until those close to us became accustomed to our relationship. We didn't feel as if we owed anyone the news until we were ready to share it. And when we did share it - family and close friends were at the top of the list.
Getting married is one of the biggest steps a human being can take. The amount of time Serge and I knew each other before tying the knot is no reflection upon how seriously we did (and do!) take our vows. In short; this marriage wasn't a lark. We didn't get hitched for kicks. We were serious about our love and our new life together. The past was where the past belongs; behind us. Ahead of us stretched an exciting new future. Together.
Regardless of our excitement at finding each other against all odds, we knew those around us may be concerned with such a seemingly rash decision. So we planned on keeping our secret until we were settled in New York City. We thought it would be a kick to throw a housewarming party in Brooklyn and then, during the toast, casually mention that oh, hey, by the way, we got married six months ago.
We should've known...It wouldn't turn out like that.