Where was he? Dammit! She thought.
Of all days to be late, it had to be their wedding day. They were all at the church waiting and it was past time for the bride to walk down the aisle but their groom was missing.
Vera tried his number again and it was switched off. The idiot couldn’t do this to her! It would be the cliche of all cliches. She fumed.
When she saw her chief bridesmaid coming to her, she was hoping to hear any news. Any news but what her guts was telling her: that her groom had left her at the altar.
“He better be involved in an accident or stuck in traffic, even though the road is clear. I’m willing to overlook it…let him just show up.” She said to her best friend, Rita the chief bridesmaid.
The guy was a douche, he was only now showing his true colours, Rita thought.
She revealed the note she held, given to her by the coward’s friend. He couldn’t even say it to her friend’s face.
“I’m sorry. Nathaniel gave this to me just now to give to you.”
Vera looked flummoxed.
“It’s from Michael.” Rita added.
Vera grabbed the note and unfolded it. Her world was destroyed, hope dashed by a measly line: I’m sorry, I just can’t handle it.
She knew his writing so she knew no one was pulling her leg.
The bastard! She felt a scream clawing up, she almost let it out before she found the strength to push it back.
When she looked back at the note, she realised she’d already squeezed it. She could feel everyone’s gaze on her. Her bridal train and the groom’s men.
They were waiting to see her reaction, they were waiting to see her cry and rage but she wouldn’t give Michael that satisfaction, she wouldn’t lose it…..yet.
“I’m sorry.” Rita said again.
She moved to hug her best friend but Vera stepped back.
“It’s okay.” Vera said.
Seeing the disapproving glint in her friend’s eyes, she nodded.
“It’s far from okay, but it’s done and we can’t keep the guests waiting.”
Rita could see that her friend was already closing up, locking up whatever she was feeling.
“Vera-“, she started but was cut short by Vera’s mother.
The beautiful woman was looking extra delicious today, as her only daughter was getting married. She wouldn’t feel beautiful before the day was over, Rita thought.
Madam Eunice went to her daughter.
“Vera, where is Michael? Why isn’t he here? The pastor and the guests are waiting and there-“, she stopped, looked at her daughter very well and saw the signs that her daughter was not okay even though she tried to hide it.
“Vera, what is it?”
Immediately concerned, she felt her daughter’s forehead, took her in her arms.
“Tell me, what is it? Or has something happened to Michael? God will not let that happen to us on your wedding day.”
Vera looked at her mother with sad eyes. She kissed her cheek and handed her the note.
“I love you Mum.”
Then she turned to her best friend, “I’ll inform the guests.”
She headed for the door that would have signaled her grand entrance. Her message, she thought, was grand enough.
She refused the offer for someone else to make the announcement so she could leave quietly.
When she opened the door, the eyes that turned to watch her make her way to the altar, that moment, would be seared in her memory.
She gave a weak smile to some of her close friends and they gave theirs too, wondering what was going on. She reached the altar, made a quiet apology to the pastor who also wondered what was going on and turned to the audience of well wishers.
“Today was supposed to be one of the best days of my life”, a small gasp was heard, she gave an acknowledging nod.
“I won’t be getting married today. I’m sorry for wasting your time.” She looked at her father, saw the look in his eyes and shook her head. If she went to him now, she would break.
“Mum, I’m hungry.” She heard a child say and the shush that followed as his mother scolded him.
She smiled at the little boy and said for all to hear,
“The reception is still open. After all, food can’t go to waste and the caterers have put in their best efforts.”
The boy’s mother flushed with embarrassment and mouthed a ‘Thank you’. Vera smiled in acknowledgement and started her walk out of the church, where her mother waited at the entrance.
Dammit! They won’t see me cry. She thought to herself.
And for months to come, it would be told how she walked with her head up high.
Against the counsel of her loved ones, she went to the fancy beach resort that had been booked for their honeymoon. She’d spent her days crying and cursing Michael. By the time the two weeks was over, she’d been all cried out.
She’d gone home cold and sober and ready to take on work which she used as an escape.
And when she saw Michael again, she realised he’d done her a favour. The person who’d stood before her, stuttering and repeating himself, didn’t deserve her. To think she’d thought she was the problem.
Well, now she knew better.
It was time to move on for better, to better. And when she felt lost, the surprise that was life would pull her back.