As per usual, I arrived in Miami with no prior arrangements for getting picked up. Daniel’s address in journal, I took a sequence of buses with extraordinarily kinds drivers to the nearest stop. My backpack strap had broken again somewhere between Chicago and New York, and this combined with hot Florida weather and a heavy, useless coat and hoodie left me rather burdened for the mile jaunt. Just as I debated which way to turn at a crossroads, however, Daniel’s brother, Josh, began to pass slowly in the back seat of a car full of people. I recognized him from our meeting in the Bass Library over a year ago and hailed the car – they were slowing to inquire at the same time.
And so began a weekend infused with peace, life, and above all love. Everything connived to work out beautifully, the guiding hand of God touching events and bringing people together, knitting two families together, laying calm on every mind, smiles of patience smoothing normal brows of worry. But first, the bachelor party. A tradition I never quite understood and continued to be perplexed by this night. We took a large limo around the city and alighted in a strangely dead “happening” center of town. Busking changed my eyes like rock climbing did, and my study of art. I saw every corner and awning as a possible busking locale, but after just a few minutes I knew the Miami vibe would quickly kill any busker’s spirit. Materialism beyond LA, alcohol, glitz, machismo, hilarious gender divisions. Much of the world I’d seen but never the closest big city, and now I saw no charm to bring me back.
The morning of Daniel’s wedding and the house filled with music. Brooke’s vocal warmups. Her rehearsals with Josh. David’s guitar and my irresistible draw to the keyboard. The wedding itself – the first I’ve attended as an adult, I’d say – easily the most beautiful ceremony. Daniel’s personality suffused everything. The two groups of groomsmen entered to lip synched song. An retooled Blower’s Daughter emotional from him as Patti strolled down the central aisle. Daniel and Patti singing an adapted Juno song together, blending a fruit, milk, and honey smoothie and drinking it in metaphor for their relationship. Josh and Brooke’s How He Loves Us, and a bilingual service presided over by Daniel’s father and a Brazilian pastor.
Daniel’s mother tasked me with filming the event, and I boldly wandered the church throughout, feeling awkward and paparazzi. She relieved me, thankfully, halfway through. A glorious reception highlighted by a break dance battle between the groom’s middle school aged cousin and the bride’s post college friend. An after party moved away from the drunk crowds of the original locale, Oppa, and onto a quiet beach kissed by shadow.
I returned to the beach the next morning with Daniel’s friends from home. The Yalie’s had already left. I felt comfortable with these kindly strong people. I brought my guitar, remembered Copenhagen, Hawai’i, Brighton Le-Sands, Williamstown, Vancouver. ___ requested I sing How Great is Our God and my voice rang strong. The perfect song for the moment. Other beachgoers turned to watch, eyes rapt, and clapped, thumbs upped, smiled, nodded. One nearby complimented me grandly and ___ responded “You should hear him play the piano!” and I smiled inside at the irony. Then Hello, basking in the sun, shirt on embarrassed with the atrophy of my once muscled form, with my mind in the Prague dusk.
We played soccer afterwards, on the beach. With the Brazilians on my team against a squad of Haitians, I found that I didn’t suck.
Earnings: $0.00, 30 minutes.
Song of the Day: How Great is Our God – Chris Tomlin