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Chapter 17 - Give Me Forever


Soon after Reverend Lai stated “Speak now or forever hold your peace,” Fei and Kwan couldn’t keep their eyes off of each other as they were both trying to decipher what the other was thinking and feeling at this very precise moment.  However hard they tried to listen to the words being spoken by their marriage officiate, they really weren’t hearing much.  Perhaps the Reverend knew that beforehand and decided to keep his words few and sentences very short.  For soon after the few opening sentences, the couple was totally caught off guard when Reverend Lai announced it was time to exchange their vows.
“I, Tsui Fei, take Mo Chiu Kwan to be my wedded wife from this day forward.  I will be faithful to her as a husband and build a home with her until the end of time.”
Fei could hear the smile in Kwan’s voice as she repeated her vows after the reverend.  She had wanted to keep their vows simple, especially doing away with words that were considered taboos on their special day.  Words like sickness, poverty, bad, and definitely the big dark spirited word ‘death’.  He knew she was smiling now because he had chided her just two days ago for having fickle-minded beliefs that was more from superstitions than from her faith in God.  Knowing he was right, and that her stubbornness was based on media publicity and culture; she was willing to settle on the traditional marriage vows, the one with for better or for worst, in sickness or in health, and so on.  But she left the final decision to him.  Though he never told her the vows he had chosen for them, he could tell at this moment how pleased she was with his choice.
The other element of surprise was the ring exchange where the bride and groom had to come up with their own vows.  When Reverend Lai presented the ring to Fei, he took hold of Kwan’s left hand.  “With this ring I’m bound.  And I promise that I will never let you down.  To family, friends and God above, I swear I will be true to you, and give you my love forever.”
After he secured the ring on her fourth finger, he looked into her eyes and asked in his most gentle and sincere voice Kwan had ever heard.  “Kwan, will you give me forever?”
“I will!”  With a heart that was about to melt, Kwan quickly picked up the ring from Reverend Lai and took hold of Fei’s left hand.  “With forever, I give to you my heart and soul with a love that will never grow old.”  She slipped the ring onto his fourth finger and then looked into his eyes.  “With this ring, I am giving you my all.”
When the vows were all said and done, Reverend Lai proceeded to gather the witnesses to come onto the stage.  As the marriage papers were being signed, he could hear the audience softly mumbling in the background.  He could sense everyone was anxious to see the couple kiss and thought he had forgotten that part, even the couple themselves were wondering when that moment would be.  So after everything was completed, the marriage license signed and sealed, he turned and addressed the audience.  “I can see some of you are thinking I’m in this line of business for way too long and had forgotten one of the most important parts of the ceremony where the groom gets to kiss the bride!  It’s the main attraction for coming to a wedding, right?” 
The audience came alive with a thrust of lighthearted laughter.  Reverend Lai continued.  “I didn’t forget.  Just so you know, the other day when I asked Tsui Fei when he would like to kiss the bride, he told me he would rather kiss his wife!”
The audience laughed and Reverend Lai turned to the newlyweds.  “Mr. Tsui, she is officially your wife now!  So you may kiss her now!”  With the granted permission, Fei gave his wife a gentle peck on her cheek.  Some of the people in the audience shouted for a real kiss on the lips to which Fei responded cheekily.  “This wedding is rated General Admission, that kind of scenes have not been approved!” 
But when the audience urged on, Fei surprised everyone, even Kwan, by giving her the dipping kiss. 
As cheers and laughter broke out, Reverend Lai introduced the new couple.  “Ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to present to you, Mr. Tsui Fei and his wife, Mrs. Tsui!”
Joy and happiness sprung forth as everyone stood and clapped.  Piano and organ music filled the place of worship as the newlyweds walked down the aisle as husband and wife for the very first time.
Ending Song - Give Me Forever by John Tesh and James Ingram