It as mathematical, marriage, not, as one might expect, additional; it was exponential. This one man, nervous in a suite a size too small for his long, lean self, this woman, in a green lace dress cut to the upper thigh, with a white rose behind her ear. Christ, so young. The woman before them was a unitarian minister and on her buzzed scalp, the grey hairs shone in a swab of sun through the lace in the window. Outside, Poughkeepsie was waking. Behind them, a man in a custodian's uniform cried softly beside a man in pajamas with a Dachshund, their witnesses, a shine in everyone's eye. One could taste the love on the air, or maybe that was sex, or maybe that was all the same then.'I do,' she said.'I do,' he said.They did. They would. Our children will be so fucking beautiful, he thought, looking at her. Home, she thought, looking at him. 'You may kiss,' said the officiant. They did, would. Now they thanked everyone and laughed and papers were signed and congratulations offered and all stood for a moment, unwilling to leave this gentile living room where there was such softness. The newlyweds thanked everyone again, shyly and went out the door into the cool morning. They laughed, rosy. In they'd come integers, out they came, squared. Her life, in the window, the parakeet, scrap of blue midday in the London dusk, ages away from what had been most deeply lived. Day on a rocky beach, creatures in the tide pool. All those ordinary afternoons, listening to footsteps in the beams of the house and knowing the feeling behind them. Because it was so true, more than the highlights and the bright events, it was in the daily where she'd found life. The hundreds of time she'd dug in her garden, each time the satisfying chew of spade through soil, so often that this action, the pressure and release and rich dirt smell delineated the warmth she'd felt in the cherry orchard. Or this, each day they woke in the same place, her husband waking her with a cup of coffee, the cream still swirling into the black. Almost unremarked upon this kindness, he would kiss her on the crown of her head before leaving and she'd feel something in her rising in her body to meet him. These silent intimacies made their marriage, not the ceremonies or parties or opening nights or occasions, or spectacular fucks. Anyway, that part was finished. A pity...
Lauren Groff