The Wedding – A Short Story

16 Aug

I stood in front of the old fashioned full length mirror in the back room of
the hall gazing at the stranger reflected back at me.  I had waited my whole
life for this moment right here, to be in love and loved in return, to be
dressed in the beautiful, expensive white gown preparing to pledge my love and
faithfulness to that one man….forever.  I never expected the rush of emotions
that would flood me when this day finally came, I had always thought that I
would be strong and proud but in reality I was scared, more scared than I think
I had ever been in my whole life.

I knew this was the man that I was suppose to share my life with, I knew that I loved him beyond a shadow of a doubt and at last I could say that I knew without doubt that he felt the same way about me, but I was still terrified. A thousand what ifs flooded my mind and I could feel the fluttering of the butterfly wings in my stomach. Outside the door I could here the faint strains of music coming from the gazebo; my bridesmaids were flitting around excitedly making last minute adjustments to their hair or makeup while I stood still in front of me mirror still in shock.

I could just make out the songs that were being played while our friends and
families found seats and caught up with each other.  I could tell that it was
almost time for me to take that next giant step in my life.  I had carefully
planed every detail of this wedding, down to the order in which the music was
played before the wedding, I wanted to make sure this was a day that I would
never forget.  My maid of honor walked up behind me and stood next to me with
the bouquet that I had made the night before so that it would be as fresh and
beautiful as possible.  She stood there while I gathered my courage, the fear
was visible in my eyes I was sure, but I took a deep breath, turned toward her
and smiled, my hand taking the satin wrapped bouquet of pale lavender and white
roses from her.

Everyone started for the door getting in the order they had praticed just
nights before at the rehersal and started slowly making their way out the door
toward the gazebo.  As I made it to the door of the room, my best friend and
honorary maid of honor bent down and took the train of my dress and with one
quick movement it layed on the floor perfectly behind me.  He had been there
with me every step of the way and as he stood up he smiled at me, took my hand
and squeezed reassuringly.  I could feel the tears beginning to form behind my
lashes and I blinked my eyes willing the tears back to where they came from.

Everyone had made their way out the door and slowly down the aisle to the
soft, melodic notes of “Clair de Lune”, my best friend had even snuck out the
door with out me seeing him go.  I stood still as a ghost in front of the door
that led the way to my future.  It was a future that I never thought would ever
come but somehow had.  I heard the opening cords of Canon in D flowing through
the air and the door in front of me opened.  The late afternoon sun was
strangely bright for early November, the outside air was crisp and cool and I
could feel the breeze touch my bare shoulders as I stepped out the door and made
my way to the edge of the building.

There were tall bushes the bordered both sides of the white archway and I
could barely make out the tiny white Christmas lights that were twinned around
the archway and the bushes.  I took another breath and followed the white runner
till I was standing squarely in the middle of the archway.  In front of me
everyone was standing and turned to watch me make my way down the aisle .  Rows
and rows of white folding chairs with silver organza roping off the end of the
rows at the aisle.  A sudden breeze caught my hair and gently blew a tendril of
my wavy auburn hair across my cheek and above all the music and murmurs of
voices I could hear a soft gasp.

My eyes met his and suddenly there was no one else there, just me and him and
the soft strains of the canon in D.  There was an awestruck look on his face,  a
look of amazement and bewilderment.  I knew in that instant that he felt the
same way.  I tried to calm the racing beat of my heart as I took my first step
toward the best thing that had ever happened to me.  I was so focused on him
that the short walk felt like it took forever to make, it was almost as if I was
going in slow motion while everything else around me was moving at a normal
pace.  I could tell that he wanted to come to me, to wrap his arms around me and
it was with a large amount of restraint that he allowed me to continue on my
journey to him alone.

As I reached the end of my walk he stepped forward and reached out for my
hand, our gaze never left each others as our hands found their way together and
as we touched there was a calm that over took me.  He saw the nervousness in my
eyes and he softly whispered, “Forever” with his cocky smile.  We turned to face
the minister as everyone sat back down.  The minister started with a prayer, I
tried hard to focus on his words willing my nervousness to go away, I dare not
close my eyes knowing that I might wake up and it all been a dream.

“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here to rejoice in the union of this man and
this woman in holy matrimony.  This is a union that is not to be entered into
lightly and having met for several weeks now with this young couple I know the
strength and commitment of the bond they both share for each other, if ever
there was a couple ready to face life’s ups and downs together it is Ben and
Shelli.”

“At this time, the couple have written vows that they wish to share with each
other, Shelli?”  The minister looked at me and smiled that I should proceed and
I turned to my maid of honor and handed her my bouquet.  I turned and Ben took
both my hands in his, I smiled at him, “I knew I loved you the minute that I met
you.  In that moment I knew that my life had changed in ways that I never knew
it could.  Every thought of what I wanted in my life changed in that moment.
Since then every day has made me stronger and happier, every day holds some new
surprise that I would never had thought possible.  It sounds cliche but you
saved me, not from the world but from myself.  I am blessed to know you and love
you.  You are my fairy tale come true”

“Shell, you are my heart, my reason for being.  I always thought I knew what
it meant to be a man, my dad had always been in my life and had raised me to be
a gentleman, to treat others with respect and consideration.  But you, Baby, I
had no idea what a real man was till I met you.  I want to make you proud of me
and proud to be with me, so, here is my pledge to you.  I know that you have
been hurt in the past in unspeakable ways and although I can not honestly
promise that I will never hurt you I promise that you will never want for
anything, if it is within my power it will be done, I promise to think of you
before I do stupid things, I promise to try to never do anything to hurt you, I
promise to always love you and always protect you.  You are my gift from God, my
angel, you own my heart and all of my love.  Forever.”

He raised my trembling hand and gently kissed the back of it before the
minister began to speak again, “Shelli, do take this man, to have and to hold,
for better or worse, in sickness and health till death you do part?”

I looked up in Ben’s eyes and smiled, “I do.”

“And do you Ben take this woman, to have and to hold, for better or worse, in
sickness and health till death you do part?”

“I absolutely do.” he loudly proclaimed and there was a laugh from the
audience.

“The rings” he said calmly and we each turned to take the rings being handed
us.

“Shelli, repeat after me, ‘With this ring as a token of my love and
affection, I thee wed'”

I took his strong calloused hand in both of mine and as I slipped the simple
band on I repeated the minister.

“Ben, repeat after me, ‘With this ring as a token of my love and affection, I
thee wed'”

He took my hand and repeated as he slipped the beautiful diamond and sapphire
ring on the important third finger of my left hand.

Our fingers intertwined together as the minister proclaimed, “I now pronounce
you man and wife.  What God has brought together, let no man pull asunder, Ben,
you may now kiss your bride.”

As the applause began, he pulled me closer to him and bent his head closer to
mine, one hand still wrapped around mine and the other caressing my cheek his
lips met mine and we kissed.  It was a simple and sweet kiss, so unlike some of
the more passionate ones we had shared over the months and weeks since we met
but despite its simplicity, there underneath it all were the sparks that flew
whenever our lips met.  I felt my hand being guided behind me as he wrapped his
arm around my waist and pulled me closer to him and a rush of something
inexplicable over came me and  I felt my knees grow weak but sensing my
instability his grip on me tightened and he helped to support me as we turned to
face the sea of our loved ones.

There was so much love in this small area, it was almost overwhelming, he
bent down and whispered in my ear, “You are more beautiful today that I ever
thought possible.”  I looked up at him and he smiled, “Didn’t you know?  I
already thought you were the most beautiful creature I had ever seen, but
today….today, you are more beautiful than ever.”

And then he guided me down the steps of the white gazebo by the lake and into
our own perfect piece of forever.

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