With This Ring…
This is chapter 32 of The Matriarchy, a serial fiction novel on FITK
“I’ll be with you in a minute,” shouted Edwin from his office after Mary, Sean, and Tina had entered his curio shop. A few minutes later he walked out, “My, Mary, you look stunning in that dress! Hello, Tina, you are looking fine today as well.”
“Hello, Edwin,” said Tina, curtly, “Come along now, it’s almost ten. And what have you there, in your hand?”
“I was wondering if you have need of some wedding rings,” Edwin said, opening a small box. “Emily gave them to me for safekeeping before she left.”
The rings were unadorned; one was larger than the other. Mary looked closely at the smaller one and tried it on.
“It fits, and it goes perfectly with Emily’s grandmother’s ring,” Mary said, holding her hand up. “Sean, how does the other one fit?”
“It’s a little loose, but should be fine. I hadn’t thought of getting a band. What can I give you for these?”
“You can give me what I paid for them—nothing. I’m thinking that Emily would want you two to have them.” said Edwin.
The courthouse was a short walk from Edwin’s shop. Once inside, they found the Judge’s office. His secretary greeted them.
“You can go in now,” she said, motioning toward the door of the Judge’s chambers. “He’s expecting you.”
The judge was older than Mary had expected and possessed a gravitas suitable to the occasion. Mary could tell by his smile that he knew both Tina and Edwin, as well as their histories. He shook hands with everybody. After exchanging pleasantries and giving the couple copies of their vows, he positioned the group and began:
“Welcome to family and friends. We are here to participate in a wedding. By this act, we unite Sean Carroll and Mary Robinson as husband and wife. What we do today is done in conformity with the laws of the state of Iowa, and in the tradition of all places and times. Sean and Mary, you stand before me having requested that I marry you to each other. Do you both do this of your own free will, with no pressure upon you from other persons?”
Mary, looking at Sean, thought about how they had come to be together—almost effortlessly—as natural as any relationship could be. Sean, looking at Mary, was struck with an awareness of the totality her being; his love for her was almost overwhelming.
“Do any of the witnesses know of any reason why we may not legally continue with this wedding?”
Tina glanced quickly at Edwin and, seeing him looking at her, quickly looked away.
“Edwin is a decent enough man, even though he has gotten a bit dotty, no worse than the rest of us, I suppose," she thought.
Edwin had been looking at Tina since they entered the chambers. He thought: "Tina still looks pretty good for her age, better than most of them. Of course, most of them are dead."
“We do not,” said Tina and Edwin, reading from their script.
“Then let us continue. Sean, if it is your desire to become the husband of Mary, then repeat after me: I, Sean, take you, Mary, to be my wife. In this moment, I promise before these witnesses to love you and care for you all of our days. I accept you with your faults and your strengths, even as I offer myself with my faults and strengths. I promise to support you when you need support and to turn to you when I need support. I choose you as the one with whom I will spend my life.”
As Sean recited his vows, he thought that whoever wrote them had a good idea of makes a relationship work. Mary had already supported and cared for him far beyond what he could have imagined when he first met her.
“I, Mary, take you, Sean, to be my husband. In this moment, I promise before these witnesses to love you and care for you all of our days. I accept you with your faults and your strengths, even as I offer myself with my faults and strengths. I promise to support you when you need support and to turn to you when I need support. I choose you as the one with whom I will spend my life.”
As Mary read the vows she thought of Sean's selflessness in his support of her, in her business, and now in this dual adventure: Her pregnancy and Emily’s appearances. “Is Emily going to become a pregnancy complication?” she thought.
“Sean and Mary, you have shared promises in our presence. Do you have a token or symbol which you wish to exchange?”
“Sean, give your token to Mary and repeat these words:”
"I, Sean Allen Carroll, give you, Mary Wilma Robinson, this ring as a constant reminder of the promises we exchanged today. As you receive it, receive my promise of faithfulness to you.”
Sean placed the ring on Mary's finger. It might have been the light, but he thought he could see a faint aura around the band as it settled into place.
“Mary, give your token to Sean and repeat these words:”
"I, Mary Wilma Robinson, give you, Sean Allen Carroll, this ring as a constant reminder of the promises we exchanged today. As you receive this ring, receive my promise of faithfulness to you.”
Mary could sense Sean's overall aura brighten as she placed the ring on his finger. She definitely saw an aura form around his wedding band, “These are no ordinary rings,” she thought.
“Sean and Mary, you have exchanged your promises and given and received tokens in my presence. By these acts, you have become husband and wife. According to the laws of the state of Iowa, I hereby pronounce you are husband and wife. You may seal your promise with a kiss.”
As Sean and Mary embraced, Edwin gently clasped Tina’s hand.
Tina did not pull it away.