It was the start of the day you were dreading for months. You opened your eyes and saw the ray of sunlight shining through the window. You can also hear the birds singing their songs outside. What a cheerful day for a funeral.
They insisted that you dress up today. You couldn't care less; you just went through the motions and slipped the mournful dress over your shoulders. You told yourself not to worry while staring on your reflection in the floor-length mirror, you have a plan. You heard the door open and close and the sound of heels click-clacking on the wooden floor. You lowered your gaze and when you raised it you saw your mother standing behind you.
She whispered, "You look lovely, my dear." As if it was something that you didn't know already. With practiced stoicism and indifference, you maintained your façade and clipped on the diamond earrings he gave you. He always gave you gifts, to quell his guilty conscience you suppose.
"I'm going to check on the guests," your mother said. Her dress rustled while she kissed your cheek tenderly then walked out the door. You were left alone with your thoughts, with him dominating your reverie.
Don't think of him. Don't think of him. Don't think of him. You chanted inside your head, blocking all the emotions that wanted to pour out of your eyes at the thought of him.
The first time he slapped you was three months ago. You can still feel the pain reverberating on your cheek. It was a lovely afternoon, and you two were having a picnic by the lake. Until this day, you're still trying to figure out what you said at that exact moment before his eyes widened and his hand came up like a whip towards your left cheek. But the sting of the slap and his fervent apologies afterwards remain vivid in your memory.
You thought it was just an outburst, a spur-of-the-moment thing. You thought that there's nothing seriously alarming or wrong with him. But you were terribly mistaken. The second time was him pulling your hair until tears came out of your eyes. Your scalp screamed for reprieve, first you felt pain and then numbness. It was about some guy he was jealous of. The rage in his eyes terrified you, but when he trembled with regret on your lap, you forgave him. Because you loved him then.
The third, fourth, fifth, and so on times mashed together as a lengthy cycle of jealousy, suspicion, rage, pain, apologies and then forgiveness. His apologies, especially crafted to soothe your aching heart, followed by his gestures of atonement manipulated you into forgiveness. But you never forget. And he should've known that you're vindictive as hell. You just did not know where all that vindictiveness goes when he kneels in front of you, promising he would change. Then today came, it's your last chance for happiness and freedom from him if all goes according to the plan.
You did your makeup, grateful that there are no hideous bruises to conceal. You delicately applied your red lipstick, remembering his blood when you accidentally bashed his head on the bathroom sink. You smiled. Then the smile quickly faded, you pondered for a moment that you should at least feel remorse for what you did. Then there comes guilt for what you're about to do but they shouldn't suspect you, not today. They never knew that he was hurting you and you only did it for the abuse to stop.
They expected you to speak in front of him. You prepared a eulogy, alright. Your vow is to never be hurt by another man in the remaining years of your life. You will speak after all. You will tell the police everything; confess even though prison life would be the consequence.
You contemplated on wearing a veil. It's traditional but you believe it's just too much. You want them to see your face on the church doors. You want them to see that you're not the one who's guilty or at fault. It is his fault that you did what you had to do, he's a monster. So you tossed the veil on the floor, tradition be damned.
He shouldn't have been so confident on your love. Yesterday was the last time you spoke and he stubbornly refused to believe your words. And you intended to follow through with your threats. You heard the stories, and you're still hearing them so you went to action before you become just another story. Another woman who will be blamed because she said nothing and did nothing when the one who actually did something goes unpunished, blameless and sometimes, defended. You couldn't let it happen to you and while taking action with your own hands looks like the best solution, you still wanted to trust the authorities to help you.
After getting dressed, you exited the room and walked outside through the back door. After making sure no one noticed you, you hurriedly scrambled to your car and drove to the police station. They were shocked at your entrance; apparently, you're the first one to enter the building dressed to the nines. You managed to get the attention of the deputy and he invited you to talk in the room. Well there's no going back now, you took a deep breath and started telling him everything. It poured out of you easily, like honey dripping into tea and you felt relieved after all that happened and supposed to happen.
One hour. Two hours. Three hours. They should be wondering where you are by now. Let them wait, you think. The ceremony is never going to happen. Escorted by the police, you led them to the venue where he is. It's a relief you didn't wear a veil because it would have been a big inconvenience for the last three hours. You asked the policeman who rode shotgun, "Officer, what time is it?" He looked at his watch, shrugged and was about to answer when the ringing bells interrupted him. He looked at your dress and smiled softly, "I think someone's running late, eh?"
They were waiting for you inside the church. You can feel the anticipation and worried chatter of at least a hundred people. Soon, your friends, family, acquaintances will all wonder why the groom-to-be was arrested before the wedding.