“Listen, I asked Derek if he would do a recommitment ceremony for us. It’d be nice. We could even do it here.”

We were sitting on a bench at the botanical gardens watching bride after bride hustle by, guests in dresses with odd sashes and strappy sandals stopping at our intersection deciding which way to go to get to the white chairs set up on the lawn ready for the officiant to officiate.

I wish we’d had a wedding like that, I thought, instead of the tiny little ceremony in the judge’s chambers at the local courthouse. Part of me yearned for a fancy wedding in a botanical garden but I knew I couldn’t do strapless, I knew that for sure. Both girls who walked by me had strapless gowns on; it mystified me, how that works, what keeps the front from dropping from the weight unless, of course, you don’t have any weight, which is not my issue. I never got strapless bras. Like I never got window treatments or hors d’oeuvres. Some people have an extra gene, some are missing one. It’s amazing the ricocheting a person’s mind can do sitting quietly on a park bench.

This was fun so I persisted. “He even said he’d do it for free,” referring to the municipal court judge we both knew, a charismatic guy who performed dozens of weddings every year, the ‘Marrying Judge” we called him, he sat on my husband’s organization’s board of directors.

“Oh great, now he’ll bring it up at the next board meeting.” For a minute, I thought my husband of thirty years had bought it, that I’d actually pitched this idea to our friend, the judge.

We’d have a hundred chairs set up in a park. Someone would play the violin. We would walk down the aisle, my having found someone older than me to be my escort and to do the ceremonial ‘giving away.’ I had been given away, as it were, before, reluctantly by my father who murmured to me midway down the aisle at my first wedding “You don’t have to go through with this.” His words were like a gum-stuck nickel in my wallet for the rest of my life. Indeed, I think, I don’t.

The people in the chairs would wonder why we thought it necessary to renew our vows 30 years after the original promise-making but they would be looking forward to food following. So would we. It would be enough to divert us from this core question.

“What planet would I have to be living on for the past 100 years to return here to Earth and think that you would be willing to have a recommitment ceremony?” I asked my husband.

“I think it’s hokey,” he said, as if this was news to me, some secret he was sharing.

I laugh out loud. As if. As if we are so different, as if our opinions are so opposed, as if sacrifice of one’s instincts is required, as if to make one person happy the other has to pretend to be someone they’re not. As if.

We get up and walk down the path. The route I want to take goes behind the rows of white chairs where people in sashed dresses are gathering and a large woman in a turquoise suit is arranging papers on a podium. “I want to take a picture of a white chair,” I tell my husband. “So I can use it in my blog tonight.” But we realize there are too many dressed-up people for me to wander out of the trees with my IPhone to take a picture of a white chair.

So we walk down the alternate path and soon there is a small truck with a stack of chairs in the back. My husband waves at the driver and says, “Hey, could you stop for a minute? My wife needs to take a picture of your chairs.”

Who loves who and why?