During this time, I embarked upon what would become a protracted journey through bridesmaid's hell, where love hides, usually under yards upon yards of taffeta. Participating in the first wedding where I had to buy my own dress and matching shoes, I took my place next to the other eight best friends and bridesmaids, and I had an unexpected pang of beautiful memories and love lost when the preacher read from Corinthians. He also took the opportunity to invite anyone who had not been saved in his captive audience to come up and accept Jesus Christ as their saviour before the groom kissed the bride. I like a good "two for one" sale, but even I thought it was a bit cheap. About that time, I saw my father, who is a striking six foot one and easily agitated, stand up and walk out of the church to go have a smoke, while my beautiful mother stayed patiently in her seat. He was an agnostic, bordering on atheist, and unsavable, and she would never leave before the curtain call. After a few lost souls found their salvation as I did some knee bends to keep from fainting, the groom kissed the bride, the preacher read the famous verse, and I quietly wept, mourning the passing of my youthful first love, and wishing that one day I might have a wedding, without taffeta, but certainly with Corinthians. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
While I no longer consider myself a practicing Christian, I consider biblical teachings along with philosophical texts from antiquity's timeless studies of love as more of an open-ended question than an absolute fact, and I highly value them as I attempt to understand love's layers and complexities. With love there is no absolute. There are some very smart people out there who have studied this topic extensively. I'm certainly not a scholar of love, with minimal courses in philosophy at the University of North Texas under my belt. My understanding of love comes from the school of hard knocks. I speak from my own experiences of my heart opening and shattering from love fulfilled and unrequited, as do my fellow storytellers in this book.