I took my shoes off once we were through the old concrete gun batteries, my toes sinking into the sand and kicking up grains into my dress. Gusts off wind off the Pacific, whipping up the cliffs, kept blowing up my long dress. Christine carried the orchids, McAlister the mostly-drunk bottle of champagne. (True to form, we started early.) I saw John from across the parking lot, his lean figure cutting through the blue and brown landscape in his James Bond suit and sunglasses.
I’m getting fucking married to that sharp son-of-a-bitch, I thought. (Just because I was getting married didn’t mean I was going to stop thinking and talking like a drunken sailor.)
Unbearably blue sky stretched for miles around and above us. Everyone said not to do it there since the fog would take over; it always did. But here we were, the sun a white spot, rays like spotlights; they casted long shadows on the sand, tinting us in Technicolor. The beach, our friends, the paragliders, the cliffs, the roaring ocean, the howling wind through the dunes–this was hyperreality.
Ten of us clustered in a carved-out cove in the cliffs, shielding us from the wind. Christine’s blue-and-green watercolored dress also was blown around by the wind; we unintentionally had matching sunglasses in different colors. Our friends stood near us, and Sue, John’s cousin who is a San Francisco judge, stood in front of us. We clasped hands. I started crying, gulping air and trying to say the words. The wind blew tears away, and Christine kept handing me tissues. John started crying, which he never does. We kissed.
After, our friends threw rose petals at us in the wind, some dodging us gracefully, others smacking us right in the face and sticking to still-damp cheeks. We opened another bottle of champagne and passed it around before signing our documents on the trunk of a car. The fog had not yet rolled in, and we left the sand dunes, the winds to our backs and sun in our faces, blue sky miles and miles above us.