Love Story

My beloved friend Lucy honored me by asking me to help officiate her wedding to Kris. I’m still reeling from what this all meant to me, but one of the amazing things she asked me to do in the service was to tell Kris’s and her love story through an enchanted narrative. Kris and Lucy have always been recognizable for the pirate and mermaid they are, so it seemed only fitting to tell the truth about them. The following story is taken from stories I got from each of them separately, things I knew on my own, and a number of stories that I prefer not to think of as fantasy, but as more than true.

Kris & Lucy, I will never forget a moment of standing with you at the start of your marriage. Thank you.

Magical things happen to all of us on our way through life without our noticing for a time they have happened. “Surely it has been there all along,” you think. “Surely I have always loved him.” “She has always been mine,” you tell yourself. And of course, being magic, it is all true, even when it is still only becoming so.

And so it was for the pirate and the mermaid who fell in love.

This mermaid of whom I speak was not unlike a certain Wendy of whom I’m sure you all have heard, who always knew just when to sit thoughtfully at a window and when to step to the window’s edge and take flight toward the stars. The pirate was not unlike Peter Pan, who, despite choosing never to grow up, knew all the best pathways through enchanted woods, which only the wisest of adults know. But above all, the mermaid and the pirate were not unlike each other, for while both delighted in the kind of solitary escapades that can only be undertaken in secret, they each separately believed that true adventure, is best when undertaken with a friend; For adventures are always sweetest when you can see in another’s smile, that Yes, this is an unforgettable moment.

Both the pirate and the mermaid were frequenters of a certain lagoon, nestled in a corner of a much-loved island. Though both spent many days and nights and weeks throughout the years enjoying the lagoon, they both thought of it as their own, and rarely, at least in the beginning, noticed that anyone other soul besides themself kept is as a home away from home.

For the mermaid, naturally, lived at the edge of the sea. On evenings when the sunset promised to be dazzling, the young mermaid would climb to a secret spot on the cliff overlooking the ocean to watch the sun settle down to bed in the deeper sea beyond her reach.

To the south, in an isolated patch of woods, the young pirate enjoyed the solitude offered by tall trees and disguised hideouts. Even as a boy, the pirate was a superb swordsman and parried with dazzling rapidity against imaginary foes.

And while the years passed, we would be mistaken if we thought the pirate and mermaid never noticed one another or spoke, for to be sure, it was not a very large lagoon they frequented. But did they recognize each other? Not quite. “How can this be,” you ask, “if they shared a home away from home.”

Some would say it was because the pirate and the mermaid had seen each other so often in their dreams, they did not know the other was real. I’m inclined to agree with those that say so.

And this would explain how one night, when both the pirate and the mermaid were invited to the same banquet, they fell into conversation so easily.

The mermaid thought herself dreaming, though wide awake, when she noticed a rakish-looking man in a well-haberdashered suit and fine boots. The mermaid said to herself, “Here’s a flashy fellow, but not in the artificial way of bobs and bangles. No, his is a flash like sunset beams on the water, natural and luminous.”

The pirate recognized the mermaid from across the room. “I have seen her before” he thought, “ seen her standing on the shore in a bright dress with her hair dancing in the wind, have seen her facing the rain on a hillside, bundled against the storm yet eager for more. Have these things happened already or are they about to?” He wondered.

And it seemed only natural that he should cross the room to her and speak.

“I know you,” he said. “I know who you are.”
“You know me?” said she, “Well, I am not hard to find. Many know my name.”
“But I know who you are. You are a mermaid.”

She was taken aback. For though she had recognized him, she did not expect him to recognize her.
“What you say is true,” said the mermaid. “But how did you know?”
The pirate replied, “There is a certain lagoon I’ve had reason to visit often. I’ve seen you there laughing with your sisters, and teaching the little fishes new games to play.”

“And I recognize you,” admitted the mermaid. “But maybe I mistook you for a fish. I see now I must have been mistaken. You are a pirate, aren’t you?” she said.
He smiled his ‘Yes.’
“Do you pillage and plunder for treasure”
“Certainly not. I design treasures and share them. What treasure do you seek?”
“Well” said the mermaid, “I should like something to keep me warm on my windy walks on the shore.”

And just like that, the mermaid found herself wrapped in the warmth sown by this pirate, her friend.
“You made this just for me?” she inquired.
“Truth be told, I made it for myself, but thought it would suit you better.”
“Then I like it all the more. What else can you do?” asked the mermaid.

The pirate leaned in so that only the mermaid could hear, and said, “I can fill a single day with one thousand adventures. I can make wearing a tie look fun. I can walk in the wind and the rain and snow so long as it’s a new place to go.”

The mermaid smiled, put her hands on her hips and winked up at him. “Well, sir pirate. I shall put you to the test.”

And she did. For if you cannot already tell, both the mermaid and the pirate had lion courage. Neither was tame, but both were good. From that day forward, adventures were of daily occurrence. The difficulty is which one to choose to close our tale. Should we follow them snowshoeing up the frozen volcano? That is a pretty story and shows how brave both can be when the other is there to encourage them. Or we could join them at their favorite talking spot and eavesdrop on their secrets.

But since our time is short, I think the best story would be the adventure of the sunken treasure. For, after years of many mini-adventures, the pirate and mermaid decided that to live together would be an awfully big adventure.

“Now forever more, I will call you ‘my pirate,’” said the mermaid. “What now will you call me?”
Her pirate replied, “I will call you Lucy, for your own name is the sound I like most of all.”

And hearing this, she took him by the hand, leapt into the surf, and led him swimming to a place she’d always wanted to explore, but had not yet had reason to. There, glittering under the water, hidden by undersea caves was a pirate ship, not ravaged by wreck, but in perfect condition, as if its crew decided to put it to there to sleep after a long day afloat. And as the mermaid began to unroll slippery maps on the captain’s table, the pirate waved her over to a small bronze chest whose lock was broken. Eager to see what was inside, the pirate and the mermaid opened the case together and what do you think they found inside, but two golden rings, studded with sapphires.

“They match,” said the mermaid to the pirate once they were back on shore.
“And so do we,” said the pirate.

It will come to no surprise to any of you here to learn that not long after this, the mermaid and the pirate invited all their friends together to a beautiful spot, not far from their lagoon, so they could give these rings to one another.

And if you are a lucky one, on a day such as this, if you happen to wander onto a certain island, you might, just as the sun is setting and the stars are beginning to wake, see a mermaid and a pirate dancing to the rhythm of the sea, as the night sings “This is love, this is love, this is love, that we’re feeling.”

If you see this, you will have no doubt that, Yes, this is an unforgettable moment.

*wedding photos stolen from Facebook friends

Posted on Sun, Apr 29th, 2012 at 8:03 pm
Filed under Art, Books, Bravery, History, intertextuality, Seattle, theology.

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Comments: 8

  1. 1 | Jonathan Edmund

    April 29th, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    I am SOBBING! OH MY GOD, KJ! Consider yourself hired to preside over my wedding. Hoooooly mother of God.

  2. 2 | Kj

    April 29th, 2012 at 8:15 pm

    Oh Joanthan, that would be a dream come true! I love you so

  3. 3 | Maryann

    April 29th, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    re-read. eat something. re-read. check my-e-mail. re-read. go the bathroom. re-read.

  4. 4 | chasten

    April 29th, 2012 at 11:02 pm

    Beautiful, Kj.

  5. 5 | Jonathan Edmund

    April 29th, 2012 at 11:35 pm

    I love you too!!!! <3

  6. 6 | David Spiro

    April 30th, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    I am at the clinic…reading and welling up with tears.

  7. 7 | Linda P.

    May 1st, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    Every time I visit your blog, I know that I am reading the words of someone who is going to become BIG. I can see it so clearly- whether you become a best selling writer, a reknowned public speaker, a genius in your field of study, etc, I’ll get to say that I knew about you back when you were blogging. And I’ll be able to tell people “Oh yeah, you could see even then that she had a lot of brilliant ideas and a really captivating way of expressing them. I always knew she’d make it big.”

  8. 8 | Kj

    May 1st, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    You’re so kind!

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