I see her, the beautiful bride, walking towards me. Her face is hidden by a mask of white, but you can tell she’s smiling. Nothing could hide her vibrant merry eyes. Her lilywhite dress swishes and sways as she moves toward me, in her arms is a bouquet filled with pink and orange and happiness. She smiles sadly, as if she knows. Because she does. She’s not a little girl anymore. She’s a beautiful young lady.
Her eyes soften as she sees me, and she puts her hand on my cheek, “Aw, daddy.” Her whispers are soft with warmth. And then she kisses my cheek.
“I don’t want you to leave me.” I whisper back, trying to keep the tears in my eyes.
“I’m not going anywhere. Don’t you worry. Someday you’ll be begging to get rid of me, and YOU’LL be the one to move away.” She forced a laugh, but I saw tears in her eyes. Suddenly she was in my arms. I was careful not to move too much so that her makeup wouldn’t rub off onto my suit. “I’m scared.” She whispers into my ear. “What if he’s different on the other side of the aisle?”
“The truth is, he might be. But listen, no matter what, all he wants is your love. And it’s your choice. But love conquers all. Love isn’t an emotion-it’s a choice. So, you can choose to love him no matter what, or you can run back into my arms. And no matter what, there’ll be no judgement.”
“I’m gonna miss you.” She says softly wiping away the tears.
“Like you said, we’re not going anywhere.” I laughed softly, and kissed her forehead. “Now I think there’s a young man waiting for you down there.”
She squeezes me one last time, and slips her arm through mine, and we start down the aisle, the flower girls tossing petals before us, and the maid of honor carrying her train. And all that is running through my mind at that moment, is the thought of how beautiful my princess looks. How wonderfully beautiful she is.
We reach the end of the aisle and I squeeze her hand firmly one last time, as if reminding her that she doesn’t have to let go. But of course, she does. I watch as she stands next to her partner in crime, my new son. But I have to let her go. Because I’ll do anything for her.
Annabelle looks beautiful in her white dress, the colorful flowers in her hand are so much like her. Cheery and beautiful and soft. I would know this. Once upon a time, I was the strong arms that held her tight, whispering how I loved her into her ear. Telling her I would never leave her. Feeling her lips against mine.
Then one day that all changed. We were getting serious. I was going to purchase the ring later that week. That was when Andrew showed up. He was a friend of Annabelle’s brother, and he was hot. And apparently, he was kind, and wonderful, and everything I wasn’t. Because later that week she left me for him.
I guess it wasn’t totally her fault. There had been fights for a while. Horrible fights, that ended with one person’s emotions bloody on the floor. I said she was stupid. She said I was selfish. I said she was ugly, she said I was worse. And on and on the insults were fired, until we couldn’t take it anymore. It was a war that accomplished nothing but destruction and pain.
And now I was invited here. As if she was mocking me. Telling me I would never be hers. She looks like a princess. A beautiful, wonderful princess. But more than that. She’s always been a princess. At this moment, right now, she looks like a queen. She looks confident and happy and fearless. The way that she looked at him, it made my heart break all over again.
I don’t know what I was thinking, coming here. I don’t know why I thought she might change her mind. Because deep down, I knew she wasn’t the one for me. I’ve already begun to move on, and if I really cared for her, I would have tried so much harder to get her back. So much harder. I would have given anything for her.
I pull at my suit, while her brother laughs at me. “Relax Andrew. It won’t matter if you have a single hair out of place. I personally know that my sister loves my bedhead.”
I know he’s teasing me, so I just smile at him, and face down the aisle. Never have I felt so scared in my life. I close my eyes, and count to ten. Then I feel a jab in my side. Opening up my eyes, I see Annabelle’s brother nodding down the aisle. “Better open up, or you might miss the show.”
I catch my breath. There she is. My princess. My queen. Coming for me. Her dress sways slightly, the song on the piano beautiful and light and merry to match her mood. Her dad is staring knives into me, making me uncomfortable again, but I try to remember to focus on her.
She comes up to me, and smiles in my direction. Her dad squeezes her hand so hard that his knuckles turn white, and she kisses him on the cheek. To say goodbye. Then I realize that she’s leaving everything she knows and cherishes just to be with me.
She walks to my side, and holds her bouquet and whispers just for me to hear. “Andy, promise you’ll be there for me no matter what.”
“I promise.” I whisper back, and reach over to squeeze her hand.
“Me too. I’ll never leave you till death do us part.”
“Okay silly.” I whisper back, “Time to say the real vows.”
“That one was real!” She whispered back, trying not to laugh.
“Yeah, it was. But listen. Here’s your whole future. Are you ready?”
“No. But it doesn’t matter, because I want it anyways.”
And then I realized I would do anything for her. And she would do anything for me.
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