I spent most Francisco’s wedding party talking to one of my favorite people, a young woman who is a friend of my children. We are alike, my daughter says, because we are smart but have no common sense. I wondered if the fact that I shared my daughter’s observation with her was an example of having no common sense. At any rate, she told me that one time she was listening to a group of people talk and she could hear that each of them had one phrase they kept repeating in different ways. Each had their own phrase. One woman’s phrase was and I was a hero. Another’s phrase was and they were wrong.
Some books about writing say that we should be able to reduce each of our characters to a single phrase like this, a single motivation, one driving force, but it hadn’t occurred to me that it might be possible to reduce each of us, us real people, in this way.
At the wedding, the single phrase coming from each person would have been something different than these things. It would have been kind and sweet and hopeful. We never had weddings when I was young. Hippies, we rejected all that stuff. We didn’t understand how, for just a moment, a wedding can encapsulate the best of who we are.