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October 26, age 32
“Ooh you make me live/ Whatever this world can give to me/ It's you, you're all I see…/ Ooh you make me live/ Oh, you're the best friend that I ever had”
-- John Deacon
I convinced my entourage to give me a few minutes.
I’ve had to do a lot of convincing up until this moment: I would walk alone; I would have one bridesmaid; I would not wear white.
This isn’t the most important day of my life, but it is my day, damn it.
I smile at the reflection in the mirror. I do look rather pretty. My hand glides over the yards of navy blue velvet. The fabric makes a sleek silhouette down to the waist where it curtains out to reveal a gold underdress. The blue velvet embraces the length of my arms to the elbows where the sleeves drape into a bell displaying the inner gold lining. Upon my head where I let my hair fall free, a single layer of golden gauze washes down my back, held on by a circlet of golden leaves and some long pins. I lift my dress a little to glance at the soft leather shoes that clad my feet.
Sebastian’s sloppy, giddy smile shows through my mind’s eye -- that moment when his sights will rest on the vision of me.
Then my heart goes into palpitations. The aisle.
What was I thinking walking alone? Maybe I could talk Beth into sauntering in and distracting the attention of the masses while I casually slide up the aisle behind her.
I poke my head out of my “dressing room” and grab the woman leaning against the wall, bouquet of red roses dangling from one hand while the other deftly flips through social media postings on her phone. Beth cries out as I yank her into the room and shut the door.
Regaining her senses, Beth’s green eyes study my face.
“Woah,” she says holding out her arms. “You have crazy eyes. You aren’t nervous are you?”
“What do you think?” I say in a choked whisper.
“Okay. Easy. You’re marrying Sebastian. You love Sebastian, and he loves you. And you guys are so good together. It’s going to be fine. You’ll say ‘I do,’ and live mostly happily ever after.”
I cry an exclamation and throw my hands over my face. "That’s not why I’m freaking out!” I stomp around in a circle. “All those people. Look – look – I can’t do this.” I pace the length of the room, and then jerk to a stop because Beth takes a death-grip on my arms.
I death-grip Beth back, my fingers digging into her flesh so hard I can feel the bones. “Helena can go find Seb. We can go to the Justice of the Peace on Monday --.”
I freeze. Not one muscle twitches. Don’t even blink.
“Sebastian is already at the front of the church. And there are not ‘masses’ of people, only three rows on either side.”
I shake my head.
“No. Listen to me.”
Beth lets up on my arms though I’m sure it will be hours before the tattoo of rose stems from the bouquet she held between her hand and my arm vanish.
“Listen. Breathe in good air. Breathe out bad. Good. Now, here’s how it’s going to go down. Those doors are going to open. Music will be playing. A very pretty tune you picked out. You’re going to hear the chords of music.”
I nod still clinging to Beth’s gesturing arms.
“I’ll walk in first, and then when all the violins go big you’ll step – that’s walk, not sprint – down that aisle behind me. You just watch Seb and listen to the music. Seb will be the tall, dark and handsome bean pole up front wearing a ridiculous grin.”
My breathing picks up.
“Or, just this once, you can watch my butt.”
Ah, Beth. She gets me.
There is a barely audible knock on the door. Beth cracks it open and on the other side is William, one of Chris' cousins. It’s time.
William slips into the sanctuary. I stand to the side as Beth opens the double doors and places the doorstops. Beth poises herself. The pretty music begins, but what is about to happen is still surreal – the idea that it’s my time, and that I get the glorious privilege of being Sebastian Haepst’s wife. He picked me.
I step to Beth’s vacated spot. I feel the urge to look around, but I know I can’t. If I do, I will run the other way – not because I don’t want to do this but because I will need to find a toilet to puke in. The violins swell; I watch Beth’s butt swerve this way. I follow the – slightly exaggerated – swish of her tail end placing one foot in front of the other all the way until Seb’s hand comes into my line of vision. I take hold of the proffered, familiar hand and come back into myself.
Sebastion is wearing a sloppy grin, and that whisky smile burns my throat and warms my belly, the heat radiating outward until I can again sense feeling in all my extremities.Till death us do part.
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