I revealed my marital status to a new friend. It had become so awkward, all those silences, the gaps from my side of the conversation. The last couple of times we've talked, it's sounded like I'm divorced, so that was weird. Not saying something was awkward. Saying something also felt awkward - not exactly a small-talk comment to just drop in casually. Revealing something like this can go so badly, can divert even the most normal of conversations into strained territory. But today, the awkward scale tipped, and I went with the awkwardness of saying "my husband died" rather than just feel like an idiot. If a relationship is going to continue, I can't keep evading such a large part of who I am. At some point, things get stuck and can go no further without feeling false. So there was that.
I told my new friend about my marital status because we were discussing my upcoming delivery of wedding cupcakes to city hall this evening, in honor of the equal marriage legislation that went into effect at 12:01 on the 29th. City Hall was open for marriage licenses and weddings. Some friends of mine were giving out free boutonnieres. I, of course, made cupcakes.
Not just any cupcakes. I baked for a few days, and C. and I spent the afternoon frosting. 10 dozen pretty wedding cupcakes, infused with the blessings of widows. It's late and I'm tired, but I really like the blessing of widows, and I got to silently give it a bunch of times tonight. I got to say it out loud once when asked why I was there. The blessing of widows is a little like the 13th guest in a fairy tale, the guest who wants to give an uncomfortable beauty:
Tonight, we're bringing wedding cupcakes to honor your wedding.
We hope you have a very long life together.
And when one of you does die, we are so glad
that you will be legally honored as widowed.
Because to be widowed is hard enough.
To be widowed and given no legal or social
acknowledgment is unconscionable.
Congratulations. Sorry it took so long.
We wish you long life and good deaths,
with the ones you love beside you.
Not wanting to be a downer on other peoples' wedding day, I didn't wander around repeating the whole blessing out loud. The closest I came (except for the time I was asked) was when I offered cupcakes to a couple who asked what they could give me in return:
You can have a long, happy life together. A very long life.
And on that note, I need to get to sleep. It is way, way past my bedtime.