The old green vega heaved and rattled, finally starting up as we headed down the hill. He jumped in and grabbed the wheel. It had taken us many places but always needed extra care, oil and fluids.”Are you sure” he glanced my direction spitting these words out in his thick broken accent. His eyes crinkled and the line that traced his lower lid now made a crease as he nervously mustered a grin. His long slender fingers reached over and cupped my hand, sending an electric wave of heat and devotion down my spine. I sat pensively, drying my hands on the tattered seat covers trying to replace anxiety and worry with elegance and grace. My white dress had been purchased by mom for special occasions. A ruffle ended at the waist and the filmy material flowed and dipped as I moved.
It seemed as if a dare had been laid out and now it’s cycle could not be obstructed. We wound our way through the Palouse where waving wheat no longer rolled like a grand carpet of green, amber and tan. Fall had settled in,the golden hour moved closer each evening casting shadows on red leaves that crunched underfoot.
Tractors, trucks and fields gave way to pine trees and greenery marking the entrance into a tiny town, St. Maries Idaho. I had never seen him nervous, he was in control and composed under all circumstances. The old green vega stopped in traffic at every inopportune moment, he had little money to make ends meet and his language impeded him in Engineering classes, yet he never wavered or showed a temper.
We entered the county court house and looked for the appropriate place to obtain a marriage certificate. He stuttered and stammered, failing to remember simple details such as how to spell his middle name and his birth date. The clerk smiled and joked with us about our little adventure, asking if this was planned or a spur of the moment decision. All inquiries were avoided and when we exited the office he reminded me that no one was to know about this secret rendezvous. It was now he and I, abiding love and loyalty would span 30 years, intertwining my heart, soul, mind and body, giving away the most precious parts of me. We signed our names, paid our fees and vowed to love one another forever.