Sunday, September 2, 2012

One of my oldest friends got married last weekend on Cannon Beach, Oregon to a beautiful woman who entered our lives five or so years ago. I've known B for 10 years, and he is the first of my high school friend group to get married, which is surprising for those of us who knew him then, but which is not surprising anymore as he has grown into a much kinder, gentler, more outwardly loving and mature man. I hesitate to even post that previous sentence on the internet as I am not one to reveal very private things in an anonymous public forum, but since I have chosen to stick with initials, I've decided that this post will be honest.

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I arrived in Portland last Thursday, and drove a lusciously green route west to Cannon Beach. Upon entering my adorable beach cottage hotel room, I found a frisbee filled with locally made taffy and chocolate wrapped up with blue and orange ribbon, complete with a thanks from the bride and groom and information about wedding activities. This couple managed to think of absolutely everything. Every detail of their wedding was planned and perfect.

I spent a lot of time in Oregon going to the beach, as it was walking distance from my hotel. I bought a stunt kite at a little store that I'd visited with my family when I was younger. I lay in the sand and flew the kite for a few hours, breathing in the sea air. As usual, I found many lovely things to photograph.
 

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My high school friend getting married meant that our whole high school group was in attendance at the wedding. This is something I had been dreading for the months leading up to the wedding. This is where being honest is going to hurt some people, but I have no reason to believe that those people will read this, and I have no desire to post anything about this wedding which does not take into account the following issues. 

Our friend group in high school was incredibly close. We were theater kids and we did absolutely everything together. We fought, too, but we were like family and always overcame the various catastrophes that lead us to not speak to each other for days, weeks, and once even months at a time. But not too long ago, about the time I was preparing to move from Colorado to Salt Lake City, I had a moment of clarity and I realized how dysfunctional we were and how broken we had become as a group. I made a decision, based on information I will not provide here, and I stepped away from those people. The only friends I'd ever really had up until that point. But the pain they caused me had outweighed the happiness for long enough, that I knew my ability to move forward with my life depended on leaving them behind. Soon after that, one of them took his life. Not because of my actions, not because of any of their actions, but because he chose to do so for reasons beyond our understanding. And briefly, we were reunited as a family. I felt compelled to call those I had left. It was an instinct I don't totally understand, as my intention was never to rekindle those friendships. I just needed to know they would be ok, that they would carry on, that we would all carry on, and then I intended to disappear again. Which I did. Some of them tried to remain in contact with me, and I do still remain in contact with my closest friend from the group, but nothing had changed in my mind, and the loss we suffered only scared me into cutting ties for good as I couldn't bare to face another loss that many of us know is bound to occur sooner or later. 

We haven't all been together since before we lost our friend. I can't remember the last time all of us were in the same room. But there we were, in Oregon, in a state completely untainted by our past, and things resumed as if they'd never stopped. The jokes resumed, but also the cruelty, the rudeness, the anger, and the resentment. It was difficult to be around. I managed to stick by the few people I still consider close friends, and I managed to enjoy an amazing wedding. I cried as the bride and groom said their vows and walked down the aisle together, married. I danced at the reception, ate the delicious food and the cake batter ice cream. Each night we spent in Cannon Beach, we had a beach bonfire. We roasted marshmallows and hotdogs. The bachelorette party was really fun. The girls and I wandered the beach at sunset, climbed rocks, drank sugary drinks, started a bonfire of our own, played truth or dare, which of course lead to me skinny dipping in the freezing Pacific Ocean near midnight. And ultimately, I enjoyed my time on the coast with people I still do love. And I did my best to let those I've let go of stand outside of my periphery. So the photos that follow are honest. I present no false smiles, no disguised discontent. I left those things out of my camera lens all together. Because it is 10 years later, one of us is married, I am an adult now, and I no longer feel the need to make concessions or to accommodate anyone else feelings if it means sacrificing my integrity or well being. 

The Bachelorette Party:

The wedding & reception:


The bride and groom made this amazing jam with marionberries they picked themselves. I've been eating it all week while dreaming of love.

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