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When life gets rocky, people often say, “The honeymoon is over.” When mine was over, I was secretly relieved. 

~ Guest Writer, Elin Hampton ~

My brand new husband and I arrived in Turkey half a day after vowing to stay together for better or worse. After a long flight, we boarded a local bus from the airport to Kusadasi. It was a dark night. The bumpy ride was thick with Turks and Turks who smoke. With a frozen smile, I tried to forget I was asthmatic and hoped that this unromantic beginning wasn’t a foreshadowing of a marriage headed for disaster.

Reeking of second-hand smoke, hours later, the bus dropped us off near our hotel and we climbed a hill to announce our arrival. We were escorted to a plain white room with narrow twin beds covered in dark brown blankets… some kind of a joke? As we pushed our two cots together, I once again ignored the obvious: that our union was surely doomed.

But the next morning, we awoke to the sun shining through our windows. Our tiny non- descript room felt magical, overlooking the exquisite Aegean Sea. Orchids were in bloom and the smell of jasmine perfumed the air. Maybe we weren’t headed for divorce just yet. Maybe our marriage was teaching us to just hang in there (no matter what lies ahead of us).

That first day, a guy whose name I’ve blocked out, picked us up, took us to the ruins of Ephesus, and then to a locals’ place, where we sipped tea from juice glasses, and sang songs with a guitar. They walked us to a rug factory, conveniently located a few feet away. Giddy from “connecting” with locals, we used all of our gift money (for richer, or for poorer) and purchased a one-of-a-kind rug for our new life together. The rug man didn’t accept Amex, but we were trusting newlyweds. We wrote a check, probably to cash, and happily gave him our address, for shipment.
A week into the trip, we migrated to Istanbul. The hotel’s shiny marble floor in the spa, was classy, if the floor hadn’t been wet and I hadn’t been wearing flip-flops. We spent the last night of our honeymoon in the Istanbul hospital as my arm was set in plaster (in sickness and in health).
As we flew back to California, my husband lovingly elevated my arm for fourteen hours (to comfort in times of distress). An American orthopedist confirmed that my elbow was broken and scheduled me for surgery later that day. When I woke up, he explained the bump under my stitches was a screw. He warned me not to bowl.

Uh oh. We had rented an adorable bowling alley for our west coast reception, planned for the very next day. A wedding cake, a DJ and 102 people were going to be there. I made an off-white chiffon sling to go with the gown that I was excited to wear again, so I decided to bowl with my other arm. What harm could that do? Now I know. My hand swelled so much that we rushed to the nearest hospital as soon as our last guest departed.

In ER, a gown and tuxedo opens doors. People in stretchers were pushed aside to make way for the bride and groom! My cast was sawed off and replaced with another… my third in a week. Had it been worth it? I had only bowled a seventy-two.

We got back to our apartment laden with gifts, only to realize with horror that neither of us had a key. Too tired to call a locksmith, my husband threw a rock, slipped his hand through the cracked glass and unlocked the window. As he hoisted me in my wedding dress through the window, I smiled. We made a pretty good team.

The rug never came. All of our wedding money was apparently donated to a guy whose name I don’t remember. We’re wiser and older now. We don’t pay cash for something that needs to be shipped. We’ve since then purchased other rugs and made a home for our three children and ourselves. We keep making memories. We still lock ourselves out. We’ve been married twenty-six years.

Elin Hampton

Elin Hampton is a produced and published screenwriter, lyricist, and playwright.  Some of the television shows she’s most proud of having written include Mad About You, Dream On, Rugrats, Pinky and The Brain, The Jackie Thomas Show, The Wild Thornberrys and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  She’s a member of Ensemble Studio Theatre-LA and performs with The Nine O’Clock Players.  This is her first blog post, as she’s still evolving.

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