Tonight We Dine Under The Plastic Crab.

by Serge Bielanko

Five years ago today me and Monica stood on a Q-tip of grass at the edge of the city. We were jittery. Getting hitched eight weeks after you first laid eyes on someone: it rattles the guts. Still, there we were, caddicorner to 7-11 and across the street from Starbucks and Subway. In the middle of America, in sight of the western Rockies AND every single thing I need to survive in this world (cigs, 12 inch hoagies, coffee, beer, Diet Coke, magazines, The NY Times, Payday bars, lighters with pictures of Pheasants or strippers on them, Ben and Jerry, toilet paper, and paper towels, and gasoline), I spit into the whimsical wind. We spit. Together.

We got married at a judge's house. I guess even judges like to pocket a spare chunk of change when its easy and fast. We didn't have a witness. The judge's wife got a neighbor to come over and watch the deed go down. Monica was adorably nervous. She gripped my hand so hard. Death grip/Life Grip. I haven't felt that particular grip again since. Even pushing out the baby didn't bring the emergency squeeze.

There is a picture of us standing on the judge's McMansion steps. There we are: smiling in a stranger's arched doorway, vines crawling up the walls around us. Monica is wrapped around me tight. I am wearing a pair of fancy pants that I paid too much for on The King's Road in London long ago. And a button up shirt that was too small. You can see my gut/my skin actually spilling out.

I like that. I like that our wedding photo album consists of maybe six pics tops. And that in the main one, the Just-Married-Newlyweds/Ain't-Love-Grand one, I show a bit of belly. Out of the billions of wedding photos on Earth, there can't be many in that category, huh?

After we were married we went to Red Lobster with a gift card I'd had burning a hole in my wallet long before I met Monica. I was waiting for the right moment, I guess. The right dinner date. The right Red Lobster.

Everything converged that evening.

And five years later: we're still converging. Still a little jittery. Still stood on a tiny island at the curb, ready to take wild leaps into the vast unknown.

Still loving really hard with these fierce and loyal hearts up in our chests.