17 Days In Utah

Posted by jeresk on January 19, 2014 in Personal |

This is a story I wrote for the site www.17daysinutah.com.  Our story is published here.

Our Utah Shotgun Wedding - Third Time's The Charm

Our Utah Shotgun Wedding – Third Time’s The Charm

Our story begins where I guess it’s not supposed to – online.  I was told that the only people online were freaks, so I knew right where I was going!  That is where after 2 years of bad, one-time dates I found mikeypoo18 (he’s going to kill me for telling anyone this).  He was an adorable little blonde that had a smile that could shame the sun.  In fact, I’m pretty sure that every year just before winter hits, he runs up to Alaska, gives that little smile and a wink, and hence the beginning of the months where the sun only dares to shine for moments a day.  It’s like solar-tag.

We chatted online for a few weeks and decided to meet.  I was trying to work around my school schedule and I said, “How about Thursday?”  He said, “That would be…  Uh…  wait… Are you available any other night?”  I said, “Well, I’m trying to work around my work and school schedule – are you already busy Thursday?”  He said, “Well…  The American Idol Finale is that night – it’s Justin and Kelly!!!”  I wasn’t sure whether I should laugh or cry.  Was I being spurned for effing American Idol?  Really?  Then he said, “What about after?  We could meet at like 9:30 – if you don’t mind being up a little late.”  Whew!  At least Justin and Kelly weren’t going to keep him all night.  I agreed.  I decided to figure out what the hell T9 was and started sending some of my very first texts, and sat down to watch American Idol for the first time, cheering on Kelly – at first because that’s who he liked and I didn’t want to immediately be at odds with him!  But after Justin took stage for the first time I decided I didn’t like his hair, so I was on Team Kelly all the way.

The end of the show came torturously slow, but when it was over, we decided to meet in the most romantic spot in the city.  The Smith’s parking lot.  He came and picked me up and we drove around the valley looking for a good place to have a cup of coffee and chat.  We kept getting sidetracked and finding places we wanted to go were closed.  We didn’t want to go to Denny’s for a first date – we needed somewhere really classy!  Like…  the Target parking lot.  We got out of the car and sat on the grassy median in front of Barnes & Nobel (which I didn’t know then, but I now blame for the book hoarding that has taken place in our home).  We started talking and it just flowed so naturally.  Anyone that knows me knows I can talk the rabbit ears off a TV set, but often I found myself stumped for conversation on dates, because many of the cute guys I met were…. Well, stumps…  But not this time.  It was like we were best friends that hadn’t seen each other for a few years and were just catching up since…  Well, birth.  In fact, our initial conversation never stopped.  Each time we see each other again, we just pick up where we’ve left off and it’s the best 12-year conversation I’ve ever had.  We talked until almost 5 am, and then headed to our respective homes to get ready for work.  I’ve never been so excited to be tired before!

In my teens to early twenties, I had gotten mixed up in meth.  With the help of my parents, I asked to go to rehab and spent over a year inpatient working on myself.  I was terrified when he found out my history he would run screaming.  But he told me how powerful he thought that was…  We went several other times, and spent a lot of weekends together.  I wasn’t yet sure this was going where I’d wanted it to.  We’d been out several times and so far it felt like he might only be interested in being just friends.  I was hoping for more, but knew that friends like that were hard to come by (and by “friends like that” I mean, people who will let me dominate a conversation for weeks on end).  But my sobriety anniversary was coming up, so I told him I was pretty sure it was federal law that I was required to be taken out on a date to celebrate being clean for 3 years.  He picked me up and took me to dinner and to see “Signs.”  All of a sudden in the car, he leaned over and kissed me for the first time.  I thought my heart was going never going to stop racing!  He said, “You really are amazing…  And a good kisser too!  Bonus!”

We decided to move in and a few months later we bought a house in Sugarhouse.  After being there for a little over a year, he kept telling me he hoped someday we could have a wedding.  He knew it wasn’t a legal thing, but really wanted to have a wedding.  All I could think was I didn’t want to do it until it was recognized by law.  But it was so important to him.  I’ll admit it sounded like a big hassle to me, but how could I deny him anything.  A few days before Christmas, I talked to his dad and asked him permission to marry his son.  Mike, coming from a very traditionally LDS family, and his father being a very faithful member, I wasn’t sure how he was going to react.  He looked a little confused at first, but then said, “I think that’s really nice.  Of course.”  I proposed to Mike on Christmas and started getting ready.  I think there was a really “guy” part of me that just wasn’t initially big on the whole wedding thing, but as we started planning things and talking about dates I started getting more and more excited!

I asked him what date he wanted to pick.  He said, “Well, you took your life back on 9/10 – so then we had our first kiss on 9/10, 3 years later.  It’s now 3 years after our first kiss, so let’s keep the anniversaries the same!  We decided to marry on 9/10.  We had a beautiful wedding with friends and family – speeches and readings – rings and stomping glasses – food and dancing – everything either of us had ever wanted!

3 years later they announced that California had just legalized gay marriage.  Mike happened to be at training in California for work.  I was supposed to be going to Chicago for my job in a few days, so I changed my ticket to fly out of LAX instead of Salt Lake and bought a one-way ticket right away to LA.  And there on the first day a gay couple could get married without having to be a resident of the state, we were married in shorts and t-shirts and the dumpiest little wedding chapel in LA, with the sweetest minister who was overjoyed to be marrying his first gay couple!

This last year, in 2013 I came back from a work Christmas party and was perusing Facebook when I saw the post that Utah had just… Wait, what?  No…  Yup!  They did it.  They are issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples in… Where?  Oh yeah, Utah!  I ran down to pick up Mike, it was about 4:30 and we were in North Salt Lake.  I said, “Mike?  You want to get married here in our home state?  Would you marry me again?”  My incredibly long lashes, that have got me a lot in life, hypnotizing him into submission.  He looked tenderly at me and said, “Can we do it Monday?”  He obviously was not paying attention to my lashes.  I mean seriously, they go on for days.  I batted a little faster.  He said, “Honestly, I just don’t think we’ll make it!  We can’t just do it Monday?”  I said, “Actually, I don’t know.  We might not.  Let’s run down!  It’s spontaneous!  If it’s too late, we can celebrate with others that were able to marry today!  We have to be there!”  He must have finally started nodding off to the metronoming rhythm of the lashes of destiny because he finally said; “I’ll leave it up to you.”  OH JOY!  Whoever says romance never dies was…  Well…  Let’s just say they never got married 3 times.

Once we got to the courthouse, we got in line and he started to get more excited knowing they were going to stay open for a little longer!  We made it through the line, and our friend Connie was there to marry us!  I called my friend Jaymi and asked if she could come down and be a witness.  We had lost touch before our first wedding and she wasn’t able to be there.  She and her daughter rushed down and we got married!  In Utah!  When Connie asked if I would take Mike, to be my husband – I blurted out, “THREE TIMES!”  Before we knew it – we were married again – but this time, in our home.

We had our kiss on my 3rd anniversary.  We had our wedding on our 3rd anniversary.   3 years later, we were married legally.  In 2013 we were married for the 3rd time.  Without even trying, our magic number is 3.  And Mike hates that I tell everyone his reaction to my asking him to marry me again on Dec. 20th, 2013.  But I remind him, I had near the same reaction for our first wedding – this is how I know it’s the last one we’ll ever need.

We are both from Utah.  We were raised to value family, and love.  And raised that when you love someone, you marry them, and create a whole new family.  We didn’t get married for political reasons, or just for tax protections.  We got married because we have many of the values that being raised in Utah were instilled within us – even if it isn’t exactly how many people saw those values being upheld.  We are celebrating 12 years this September 10th.  Not just 12 years of being together – but 12 years of the continuing conversation that I’m certain will last 3 lifetimes.

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