Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Bride's Tears

Last week my refrigerator broke. Oy.

The only good that comes from a frig breaking is the opportunity to clean it out. If you're anything like me, your cold storage box is easily a place where things become hidden, hoarded, and forgotten.

I had let this bottle, for example, slip from memory. This beautiful glass jug, and its contents, is more than 14 years old. It is a liquor called Bruidstranen. I bought it while in Holland, on the threshold of my nuptials. Translated it means Bride's Tears and the Dutch often drink it while toasting a wedding. Can you see the gold flakes suspended in mid liquid? Those are the tears.

I remember the day we finally opened it. May 17, 1998. We had just come back from City Hall in Brooklyn where an official with a piercing Brooklyn twang told us that "by the power INvested" in him, we were now husband and wife. We quickly went back to our brownstone apartment, poured a shot of the Dutch treat and headed over the Brooklyn Bridge.

It was a beautiful morning. As we held hands, giddy from the mixture of alcohol and our new union, we realized we were the only ones on the bridge. No pedestrians en route to work, no bicyclists, no tourists. My brother took our picture, which ended up being the photo I used for our announcement.

Years later I saw what else was in that picture. It breaks me to look at it. So much hope and happiness in the foreground, so much heartache and loss in the background. One picture, two worlds.


The tears of a bride are supposed to be shed out of jubilation but when I look at this crystal carafe grief is revisited. The thing is, I can't throw it away. This bottle, that picture, those two buildings and what they held, all intertwine into one. It's a part of me now.

The refrigerator man has just left. All that was needed was a  new compressor, that's all. He tells me to wait 24 hours before using it. So, I sit and look at my bottle of tears. Tomorrow I plan on putting them back inside the freezer. Maybe this time, though, I'll keep them closer to the front. Some things deserve not to be overlooked. Some things deserve not to be forgot.


  1. MSB, what a beautiful post. Tears of happiness, tears of grief.

  2. "Tears of grief are salt, tears of joy are sweet. But they all come from the same well."

    ---someone wiser than I

  3. What a cool idea. And beautiful pictures. You're right, some things we need to put foremost in our memories to remind us of happiness when we are just buzzing through the day.

  4. Bride's tears. What a beautiful story.
    Life and death so interconnected, promise and pain.

    I wonder how many people look at that photo and miss it? At first when I saw the photo, I thought the flag on the bridge was a robin (I'm looking on my phone, so I don't have the clarity) and I immediately thought, your mom was there...
    Then I saw the towers.

  5. What a photo, MSB. Your joy in the foreground, future devastation in the background. So many tears ...

  6. I am deeply engrossed in The Road today. Some part of this is intertwined with that. Such sadness, yet the road goes on and on. . . .

  7. So amazing, MSB. As soon as you said, you walked over the Brooklyn Bridge, I just knew...

    Of course you can't throw that bottle (or those tears) away. It's all part of a story that's part of history now. Yours and your husband's, and the world's.

  8. I see proof that in the face of terror and destruction beauty can survive. If we let it.

  9. MSB, this post pricked me with goosebumps and a laugh, too (invested!). How poignant, and the bottle is so beautiful.

    Are you familiar with Jane Kenyon's "Twilight: After Haying"?
    "...the soul's bliss
    and suffering are bound together
    like the grasses..."

  10. Aside from you posts about your mother, this is my favorite of the ones you've written so far. It's truly beautiful.