Tuesday, August 15, 2006

14 years

14 years ago today, I was in a small plain building that the muslim community of the University of Tulsa call a mosque. I was in a small partitioned room which the women used for prayers. My Burmese friend, Yu Yu, and her cousin, Thida, drove all the way from Urbana, Illinois to come and see me on my special day. They were the only ones who accompanied me in that room. I was wearing a purple baju kurung which a kind kakak in Champaign helped me sew from a McCall pattern I found at Dots. I even bought the materials for this dress, and another white dress, myself. With the leftover lining material, I made a simple scarf with beads on the edges.
I couldn’t hear what was said on the other side of the thin wall, but momentarily a man came to the small opening of the partition to ask me if I had agreed to Taufik’s proposal for marriage. I was then asked to sign some papers. The man left the women’s section, I heard more talking and finally a few grunts of what sounded like agreements. Then Taufik came into the partitioned area and put our wedding ring on my finger.

We were married.

We drove, for the first time as husband and wife, to the house the Malay students called Rumah Hitam, “The Black House”, because it was painted black by the owner. The house was rented out by a group of Malay boys. For months before the wedding, when we had announced our plan to some of our close friends, they had pestered us to hold the wedding celebrations there, and by the end of the Spring semester, we finally agreed. The days before the wedding was spent literally turning the house upside down and cleaning up all the books and magazines and cigarette buds in the living room , which had been used as a bedroom by a few of the guys. They pushed the sofa against the wall. The toppled a bookcase or something to make a makeshift dias. We bought a curtain from JC Penney to make a backdrop. The boys borrowed a pair of nice looking chairs and someone lent some flowers to liven up the room. The night before , while we were vacuuming and putting the finishing touches in the room, we heard them practicing songs in the basement of the house, as the smell of cooking wafted in from the kitchen.
When we arrived at the house, it was filled almost to the door by our friends in Tulsa, and also from other universities all over the united states. It being the summer holidays, they took the opportunity to drive to Oklahoma to attend our wedding. I will never forget that gesture.
The wedding, was as the melayus would say, meriah! (what would be an appropriate word in English?). The nasi minyak with ayam masak merah cooked by one of the guys (our resident chef) was excellent. After eating, I changed into my white outfit (wedding mah.. pakai lah white) and we took pictures on the dias. Seronot... macam kawin kat Malaysia....! (but I couldn’t beat my friend’s wedding in Kalamazoo. They even got to have a procession down their street to the house, with kompang (small drums) accompanying them!).
Before we ended the celebrations, the house band (read: the boys in the house who had been practicing in the basement) played a few songs, including November Rain… cewahh terasa macam Axl Rose dengan model lawa tu lah sekejap.( tapi ending dia lain yerk…?) .

14 years later, here we are, in another foreign country.
If someone were to ask me in that black house whether this was what I pictured our marriage to be, I would say no. I couldn’t even imagine what our marriage would be in the first 5 years. Because then I was a different person. A little na├»ve, and as I found out later in the marriage, a little distrustful of everybody, including my husband. But after going through 14 years of my life with Taufik, I could say that he is the person that I trust the most in my life. He is the one I would do anything for, just as he would do anything for me.
Throughout the 14 years, we’ve had our ups and downs. We’ve had arguments, accusations, blames, fights... but there were also moments of joy, pure bliss, quiet contentment and enough passionate sex to spawn four kids (and more!) . tee hee.
If I had to go through another 14 years of arguments, accusations, blames and fights to enjoy another 14 years of bliss, contentment and sex with Taufik, I say: bring it on..!

Happy 14th Anniversary, sayang .


Incidently, Izani also turned 4 months today!


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