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Mixing the magic with the mundane

One year ago this weekend, I was in a small town called Elba, Alabama about to serve as a groomsman in the wedding of my closest friend in the world and the girl foolish enough to hitch her wagon to him.

I was grumpy from the drive, the fact that I was about to be in a wedding and the fact that I had to wear a tux to be in said wedding.

But it was there at the rehearsal dinner where I met a friend of the bride who was directing the wedding.

I interacted with her here and there. I made her laugh some. And before the weekend was over, I firmly believed I had met the girl I was going to marry.

We live in a society that is romantic in a lot of ways. From the unbelievable success of dating Websites to the popularity of romantic comedies to inexplicable cultural phenomena like Twilight, love and the pursuit of it permeates much of our culture.

And, despite the incredibly high divorce rate and constant frustrations surrounding romantic relationships, many of us hold onto the romanticized, Hollywood view of love.

Far too often we seek the cinematic magic our society shells out billions of dollars to witness fictional characters enjoy.

In my house, we always just thought that you would know when you know.

My parents met on a blind date. My dad proposed the next day. They met in August. They married in December. Thirty years later, they are still together.

Yes, they fight. Yes, they bicker. No, they do not always treat one another the way either of them should. But they love one another. It is an active love that sometimes does nothing more than keep either of them from quitting on the other.

I am a romantic of sorts. I don’t necessarily believe in magic and I certainly do not believe in meant to be. But I do believe in the serendipitous.

I encountered the serendipitous a year ago this weekend. With that girl that was directing my good friend’s wedding.

She is back home in Florida this weekend meeting with a caterer or a florist or something. This time, she is getting ready for our wedding. I knew I was going to marry her.

But the thing about believing in the fairy tale is that you have to believe in everything between the end of the plot and the happily ever after. What happens when the sleeping princess wakes up or the girl with the missing glass slipper moves into the palace? That is the part that is important for us to believe in. That is the part that matters.

I welcomed the serendipitous. But it is not some magical notion that popped into my head that first weekend that will keep me with the girl that was directing the wedding. It is the lessons I have learned over 30 years of watching my parents. Not how they fight, but how they overcome. Not how they live, but how they love.

So now I sit three months away from my own wedding, comfortable in the knowledge that I have found someone willing to make the same commitment to the space between the falling action and the ever after. Willing to commit to what puts the “happily” in the time that follows the story.

Because that’s what really matters when the moment seems less magical and the characters are more than fictional figures.

Jeremy D. Smith is the community editor of The Demopolis Times.