derek powazek

Heather and I are lost in the refrigerated rows of the San Francisco Flower Market with our friends, Janice and Judith. They both have lots of experience with flowers, and seem to tolerate our wedding craziness with style, so they’ve kindly volunteered to do the flower arrangements for our wedding.

We wander the stalls looking at flowers. Heather doesn’t like yellow or tulips. I like pretty much anything that’s purple. Much serious debate takes place over the relative merits of roses vs. orchids for boutonnieres.

And then it hits me. I am picking the flowers I’ll stick with a pin to my suit jacket. And to my father’s suit jacket. And to my best-friend-since-high-school’s suit jacket. And we’re all going to wear these flowers as we stand on a hill in San Francisco and I marry Heather.

The wedding has been this future thing for so long. And now suddenly it’s next week.

{ wrestling with an angel } by derek powazek

All the color drained out of the flowers and swirled around me. I thought I was going to fall over. My eyes scanned the surroundings for help. Heather was on the phone with her sister, discussing bouquets. Janice was entertaining her 2 year-old son, Evan, who came along to see the flowers. And Judith was discussing Peonies with the flower guy. And all around me were colors. More colors that should ever be in one place at one time.

Then my eyes fell on a man. He was in his fifties and had grey hair and round glasses. He was wearing a suit. And when our eyes met, he said, “getting married?”

“Yeah,” I said, trying not to look too freaked-out about it.

“You sure you wanna go through with it?” he asked without smiling.

This is not a question you should ever ask someone in the midst of a crushing wedding planning stress moment.

“Oh, you,” I said, wagging my finger at him like it was a joke. But I had to wonder to myself, was there something about me that looked like I needed a stranger to question my intentions? Was I sure?