The small hotel room was dark. The white walls stood bare, the only furniture in the room being the small bed that rested a few feet to my right. It was late at night, yet the sound of jazz from some celebration down the street was still audible, even thru our window on the third floor. I kept it open to allow the warm summer air to waft into the cool room, rustling the white curtains as it passed over the windowsill. Now as I stood in front of the large window with its panes handing ajar, I marveled at the city beneath me. It had been his idea to visit New Orleans in the summertime.
"It's beautiful," he had told me a month ago, when I had still been pushing for a trip to the New England area instead. "At night, after you would think everyone had gone to sleep, you can still hear the celebrations of one thing or another going on in the streets. And if you open the window, you can feel the warm summer breeze wrap around you like a blanket."
I think about his words even more now that I can actually see and hear and feel all that he had described. A month ago I had tried and tried to change his mind. For some reason, I had been dead-set on going to New England, though now I can't remember why. In this hotel room, with the summer breeze and the rustling white curtains, I can't possibly imagine ever wanting to be anywhere else.
In the quiet calm of the night, my thoughts glide to everything that had happened recently, and how quickly time had moved. It seemed only yesterday that we had met, yet now we were on our honeymoon. This was our fifth day in the city, and six days ago had been our wedding day. I can still remember it clearly in my mind; I forced myself to remember every detail so that I could replay it in my mind over and over for years to come.
It was the tiniest white chapel I had ever seen, yet he insisted on being married there. It was just one more thing he was right about. The quaint charm of the small chapel brought an air of perfect simplicity to the occasion, and it even seemed to have a calming effect on my nerves. And I was so nervous. I'd been preparing all month. For some reason, I was deathly afraid of forgetting what to say, saying it at the wrong time, or worse, not saying it at all. I practiced the words "I do" to my mirror so many times that the words actually began to feel comfortable in my mouth, as if I was always meant to say them. I suppose I was. I was so prepared and so nervous that the only things I could think about before walking down the aisle were what could go wrong.
But then I looked up.
I looked up and I saw his eyes, and he saw mine. And he was the only person in the room. My family, my friends, everyone who had come to see this occasion, none of them mattered at this moment. All that mattered was that he was here. And since he was here, everything would be fine.
I can't help but smile as I relive these memories. After all, it was the happiest moment of my life. It seems even happier now as I stand in perfect peace. My nightgown swirls around me, dancing with the shadows as it's swept by the summer breeze. I glance over at the sleeping face of my husband, smiling gently before returning my gaze to the living city outside.
I allow my thoughts to wander once again, shifting from the day we first met, to our first kiss, and finally to the events of the day. Today, just like every other day this week, was spent exploring the wonders of the town. And once again, we had risen early and slept late. But I couldn't sleep. Not tonight. At least once before this paradise ended I told myself I would stay up to see exactly what he had meant about the city at night.
And he was right. Once again, and as always, he was right about every detail, down to the last line. He was right about the noise and the air and the time. New Orleans at night was beautiful. Even so, a part of me felt that this was wrong, to gaze out at the city on a night that he had so perfectly described without him. But even as I thought this, I didn't hear the rustling of bed sheets or the padding of footsteps behind me. In fact, I didn't even realize he was there next to me until his arms wrapped around me, holding me gently to him as we watched the city together.