I met Sarah when I was only a few years old. It was in gymnastics class. I was a shy toddler with a head of bright red curls; Sarah was outgoing and blond. My mom, who immediately hit it off with her mom, has told me the story many times. I don’t remember a thing.
But I was probably drawn to her then for much the same reasons as I am today: Sarah’s vivacity has always been coupled with as much grace as goofiness. And she sings a mean rendition of "Memory."
Since then, Sarah has always been present in my life. We navigated the halls of elementary, junior high, and high school together. For years I helped to decorate her Christmas tree. We spent many an afternoon in her backyard, pretending to be characters from Andrew Lloyd Weber musicals, and there were countless weekends with our families skiing in Vermont. We marched together, wearing suspenders and plumed hats for four years of band.
My childhood is laced with the dull scent of leather from her family’s living room chairs. It is filled with the aromas of wood and paint from the playhouse her father built in their backyard. It sounds of Christmas carols, of Ace of Base and Enya. It feels of steam from mugs of hot chocolate at her family’s home in Vermont and the cold metal mouthpiece of our flutes during shared lessons. There was our first sip of alcohol, in a friend’s kitchen a few weeks after my parents divorced. There was the fuzzy sound of her voice, simultaneously worried and cheerful, when I was recovering from a car accident three years ago.
I thought about all these things as I watched her walk down the aisle this past weekend, glowing in her white gown and veil. I sat between my mom and my brother, wearing a bright yellow dress, and thought of the weddings we had once set up for members of our Barbie doll collections.
Sarah married Joe, who is perfect for her in every way. Their wedding, which was elegant and merry, was rife with both memory and fun. It was almost as if the church carried the faint scent of leather; the dance floor, perched under a tent in rural Vermont, smelled of wood and paint.