I was home again this weekend and my dad and I decided to check out my hometown's main street festival - The Taste of Cambridge. Naturally, we ran into about a bagillion people we knew, mostly old ladies who said such things as, "Oh I've known your dad for years, but I haven't seen you since you were THIS [ ] big!!!"
Through the booths of local restaurants passing out steaming bowls of crab dip, make-shift ice cream stands and local artisan tables, Dad stood proudly as I repeated the same story many times over to our neighbors: "Yes, well I just graduated from the University of Maryland. Yes, renting a house on the Western Shore (only Eastern Shore natives understand that term). Yes, got a job. Yes, it's very cool. Loving it. No, I haven't met Mike Rowe. It's nice to see you too."
The one question that was continually thrown at me and caught me off guard every time was, "Still with the same boy? Are you two going to get married?" or "When are you and Tad getting married? I surely expect to be invited to the wedding."
Married? I just paid my first water bill. I just became able to check the "independent" box on my tax forms. Was I already an old maid who had been left out to dry here in 2008 at age 22? I was stunned.
It's no matter in a small town for it seems the obvious next step after school when you've been with the same person for so long is to say "I Do" and most of the kids from my class have followed suit. Some didn't even wait that long!
From what I've picked-up through the local grapevines, between friends I made through childhood and those I met at college, nine are married, 14 are engaged and three have children. While they've been picking out locations for rehearsal dinners and bridesmaid colors (or buying diapers), I've been going to 21st birthday and college graduation parties. I thought life had been moving in a fairly normal fashion, yet I now feel worlds apart from those who ignored Billy Joel's advice as more and more albums on Facebook pop up with titles like "Just Married" and "WWWEEEDDDDING!!!!!!".
Married? That seems like such an adult thing to do and I'm just getting my feet wet. But yet here I was, getting the question and sitting in the chair at a hair salon flipping though photos of my childhood friend Angela in her wedding gown. Angela, weren't we just complaining how it was too hot for soccer practice and struggling through Mr. Becker's AP Chem homework, like, yesterday?
Well, Vienna is going to have to wait for me.
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