I stood in the dreary lobby, sweating in my poofy white dress. As I stared at my Maid of Honor’s retreating back, panicked thoughts darted through my brain.
“How much am I sweating? What if I pit out? Will it show in the pictures?”
“What if I trip? Will the photographer feel the need to document the moment? Can I kick her if she does?”
“Oh my God, I’m getting married. I’m getting married, I’m getting married, I’m getting fricking married!”
As the music swelled, my dad turned to me and smiled. “Here we go,” he said. “Are you ready?”
Suddenly, all the moisture disappeared from my mouth. I tasted dust. Swallowing hard, I nodded.
“As ready as I’ll ever be.”
He took my arm and guided me through the door.
I hesitated, uncomfortable under the scrutiny of the 100 pairs of eyes staring at me. My dad squeezed my hand reassuringly and I took my first step down the aisle.
Forgetting what the wedding planner had said about taking measured strides, I bolted for the altar. Only my dad’s gently restraining arm kept me from running.
Suddenly we were there. As I gazed up into Brian’s calmly radiant face, the outside world faded away. This man, my heart sang. This man is going to be yours forever. My hand found his and together we stepped up to the altar.
For what seemed like forever, the minister droned on. I tried to pay attention, to commit every second of the ceremony to memory, but I kept getting distracted. I heard the rustling of my bridesmaids’ skirts. I saw dust swirling joyfully in the ray of sun that lit up the altar. I smelled crushed flowers and heavy incense and waxy smoke.
Then my cousins began to sing, their voices winging my fondest wishes for our marriage straight up to the heavens.
“Share each day with me, each night, each morning
Say you feel the way I do
That’s all I ask of you
Anywhere you go, let me go too
Love me, that’s all I ask of you…”
“Amen,” I whispered, smiling at my soon-to-be husband.
Before I knew it, Brian was sliding the wedding band we had chosen on my finger.
Then the minister’s voice swirled out of the ether. “Do you take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband, to love him, comfort him, honor him and keep him for as long as you both shalt live?”
A lump formed in my throat as tears threatened to spill. I couldn’t speak. Couldn’t breathe.
The silence stretched interminably as I tried to find enough air to get the words out. Brian began to look panicked. The audience stirred restlessly.
Finally I managed to swallow.
The entire church heaved a relieved sigh.
“Then by the powers vested in me…I pronounce you man and wife!”
Wife! I was Brian’s wife! Joy zinged through my body and I grinned as he leaned down to kiss me.
“I thought you were having second thoughts for a minute there,” he whispered, lips inches from mine.
“I’ve never been so sure of anything in my life,” I said and kissed him for all I was worth.
This was written for the Red Dress Club’s Memoir Writing Tuesday. The prompt asked us to imagine what five minutes of our lives we’d want our children to experience after we’re gone. This is more than five minutes…but I want her to know she came from a place of love.