Love, Loss, and Locations

Continued (page 2 of 2)

I couldn't write a check fast enough. We'd found it: not just a place to get married, but a place to build a life. We were overjoyed, even though buying it would take every cent we had.

We talked about it constantly. We planned every detail. We arranged the furniture in our heads countless times. We fell asleep talking about how cute the dogs would look playing in the pond and eating the koi.

And then, out of nowhere, the house fell out of escrow, and everything went to hell.

I became very depressed after that. I stopped looking for a venue. I stopped thinking about the wedding at all, to be honest. We both grew quiet, like we were mourning something. The loss and frustration had really taken their toll.

Finally, we pulled ourselves together and decided to get away for a few days. We learned about a beautiful Newport Beach hotel we'd never heard of, and just got in the car and drove. No wedding talk, no decisions, no figuring anything out. The only thing we were planning was to get drunk as soon as possible.

That evening, as we sat in the bar and watched the sun set over the ocean, we noticed an enormous structure in the middle of the golf course. It was probably 20 feet tall and open on all sides, with a round, glittering roof. We decided to go take a look at it, but couldn't figure out how to get there.

I summoned the bartender, who'd just introduced me to Long Island iced teas and was now one of my closest friends.

"How do I get over there to that building thing?" I asked.

"What building thing?"

"That round-looking thing out on the golf course."

"Oh," he said, "you mean the wedding rotunda."

It took us about two minutes to make our way through the beautiful grounds, over the hilly golf course, and to the rotunda, which was now taking on shades of pink and gold from the darkening sky. We stood beneath its dome wordlessly, looking out across the water and beyond.

"So, what do you think?" I asked.

John thought a moment. "I like it."

It seemed so ridiculous that, after so much thinking and worrying, we could have just accidentally wandered into the perfect spot. But then, the idea that we find anything by looking for it is pretty ridiculous all by itself.

We sat inside the rotunda, and I laid my head on John's shoulder. Suddenly, small gray bunnies began to appear in the grass. They hopped out onto the walkway and froze, waiting to see if we were going to do something scary.

And in a way, we were.

NEXT MONTH: Wait, how much?

April Winchell has been a talk radio host, a sitcom writer, an advertising executive and the voice of hundreds of animated Disney characters. In October of 2009, she created the hit website, which led to the publication of "Regretsy: Where DIY meets WTF" in April of 2010. Even though she has been writing professionally since 1989, she still finds talking about herself in the third person really uncomfortable.

April Winchell
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