Parking Lot

 






Robin went into Jimmy’s arms. He picked her up and swung her in a circle. Not too shabby for a fifty-five-year-old and her a bit chubby, fifty-one-year-old. They did the deed. Held a contract to prove it.

Not a romantic spot. In the crowded parking lot, no one paid attention to the lovebirds. They had their own agenda—paying tickets, renewing vehicle registration, meeting a lawyer, or hurrying in for a court appearance.

This middle-aged couple eloped that warm July. Alone, they arrived early to put their name into the queue. She wore a pretty sheath dress in a flower print and he dressed in a shirt and jeans. Opposites do attract.

The number called, they stepped to the cubicle. The sterile atmosphere would’ve given Robin pause—if she didn’t know, in her heart, this man was the one. She reminded herself that the after-party would be in October when more of the families could attend. They planned to host a reception and declare their vows to the Lord and before witnesses. A fancy dress, flowers, cake, music, a photographer—the whole wedding scene, only later, much later. Three months.

She focused. Smiled into the eyes of this man she’d only known existed for seven months. Whirlwind courtship? Too soon? No. God had eased her worries and given her peace. No doubts clouded her clear mind. Some thought them silly to be engaged so quickly. Those people didn’t know the heartache in the couples’ individual pasts. The tough questions each needed to answer for the other. The long-distance intimate talks. They lived two hundred miles apart and took advantage of the long Fourth of July weekend to get married.

The lady clerk showed them where to sign.

Each of them scrawled their names on the lines.

The lady picked up her notary stamp.  

Ignoring the clerk, Jimmy took Robin’s cool hand and without being asked the normal questions, said, “I do.”

Robin’s smile quivered as tears stung the back of her eyes. “I do.”

 A seal pressed onto the document. The whole thing took under ten minutes. That was it. Finished.

Married. Officially, husband and wife.

No questions asked. All so impersonal. Not in front of a judge. Instead, a clerk with no expression.

Surreal. Should they have waited? Had a big wedding?

No. The couple wanted to get on with life. Life was uncertain. She had buried a husband a few years before. She loved this man who now led her out of the busy room of long lines and mumbled chatter.

Back at their car, in front of harried witnesses, Jimmy took her in his arms and kissed her. They told what their hearts knew. “I love you and promise to stand by your side through sickness and health, till death do us part.”

On their tenth anniversary, Robin’s thoughts go back to that day. She can’t remember the clerk nor much about the room. The parking lot is most vivid because that’s where the magic happened. Standing on concrete, the two people pledged their lives and love to each other. Love, stronger than the cement under their feet, budded and grew. Impetuous, some thought. In reality, commitment bonded them that day. Steadfast and deep abiding love was vowed in a parking lot and will be lived until their last breath. 


Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the Most High. (Psalm 50:14) 



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