Friday, November 05, 2010

This Day Forward

After the pre-arranged signal lets her know the wedding is ready to begin, the organist nods. Family and friends stand and turn toward the aisle. I smooth down the front of my dress shirt. Several pairs of eyes are focused on me and, for a moment, I consider leaving from the side door.

But, it's too late to run.

As the music begins, I look down the aisle and our eyes meet. She smiles and I can tell that, while undeniably happy, she understands how I feel today. I appreciate this acknowledgment. Her father looks at me and leans down to whisper into her ear, and she nods as they continue their measured steps toward the altar and away from me.

My friends laughed and called me a delusional romantic when first I told them I wanted to marry her after I returned from our third date. It did not take too long for her to know she did not feel the same. She became a good friend, though eventually it was a roommate who took my place in her wedding dreams.

The music fades and the organist folds her hands on her lap and watches along with us as the minister steps forward, ready to begin the ceremony. When he asks, “Who gives this woman to be married to this man?” I wait until I hear her father speak.

“Her mother and I do,” he says with firm voice.

“I do, too,” I whisper.

I promised I would stay, but I can't help it. I leave without looking back at her standing at the altar with her husband.

© 2010 Marisa Birns