With three days before the wedding, I’m faced with the choice of whether to spend this quiet 4:30am time finalizing the order of the dance music for the DJ, or coming here to the Archives.

I come here. Try to grab a few pieces of the swirl and thread them together.

“Yoga” comes to mind. The Sanskrit word meaning “yoke”, “to join”, “to unite”, or “to attach”.

It’s what this marriage business is all about, right?

These days, my physical yoga practice has dissipated just like my daily posts to the Archives. All things wedding have overtaken my life, as lists are written, then completed. I wade through ribbon and rose petals. House babies breath and mason jars. Ten-foot long tablecloths avoid wrinkles on the couch next to my grandmother’s bubble wrapped dishes.

This last week may not have seen me in shoulder stands but I’ve been practicing another kind of yoga, living the union of light and dark, hope and disappointment.

The Bohemian’s parents have arrived from Czech, open with smiles, though no shared language. We embrace each other often and hold to a few standards. They’ve got “ok”, “good” and “aloha.” I’ve got ano (yes), děkuji (thank you) and jak se máš (how are you?).

In the midst of meeting my new in-laws, I do a trial run on making my DIY (that’s “Do It Yourself”) bridal bouquet, wrapping flower stems with wire and floral tape. Run final errands on Black Friday weekend, inhaling a deep yoga breath, and aiming my cart through the throng of shoppers inside the big box store.

Trying to balance between the practicals and a little self-care (I am the bride, after all, right?) I treat myself to a facial for this once-in-a-lifetime occasion. I go to a trusted aesthetician. One who is well-aware that my wedding is in five days. But somewhere in the steam and exfoliant, she misjudges and my upper lip loses flesh. In this moment as I type, I feel the tingling sensation of the red scab which has formed just above the lip line. A nice half-inch wound that is everything but unnoticeable.

Case in point, when I see my mother-in-law-to-be for the first time after the incident, she looks at me, then the Bohemian, and gestures to her lip, asking in Czech, “what happened?”

It’s like that. Now, three days before my wedding.

I get together with my closest women friends for an intimate gathering. They bless me and my impending marriage with champagne, fresh-squeezed tangelo juice and chocolate. Very kindly, (as good girlfriends should) they each assure me that my lip is healing. It’ll be gone by Thursday they promise with all confidence. One, more realistic friend, affirms that my facial flaw is nothing Photoshop can’t handle.

I remind her that Photoshop doesn’t help in real life. And I’m haunted by the words of my no-nonsense friend from New York (herself, recently wed) who, prior to my lip wound, gave it to me straight.

Me: “I just don’t like people looking at me all that much. And at weddings, pretty much everyone is looking. Especially at the bride.”

No-Nonsense New Yorker: “Yes, everyone is looking at you on your wedding day. And no, they are not looking at the groom. They are looking at the bride. So prepare yourself now. All eyes will be on you.”

And now, all eyes will most likely notice my pre-Photoshop beauty mishap that looks like a large cold-sore break out.

Scabby lip and all, I find myself in the midst of a picturesque sunset with my girlfriends, sincerely giving thanks for all that has fallen into place around this wedding event. I am truly grateful for the friends and family that have gathered and the outpouring of love I have experienced with everyone so far.

I laugh and say, “Everything has gone so smoothly except for my dress and my face.”

(For those interested, you can read the post here about the seamstress who altered my wedding dress, forgetting to keep the back long. My train was cut and seven inches of fabric were permanently lost to her scrap bin.)

Yes, yoga. Union. Where duality meets to find oneness.

Life is full of shadows and light. And marriage, too, I hear.

So here’s to the real deal. Reality before Photoshop smooths the edges. Might as well embrace it now.

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