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The Day of the Wedding


“Rose has always been late. Why would this be any different?”

He heard the comment and wondered if Rose was being fashionably late, or if this was going to be a foreshadowing of something else.  


All the guests were sitting down, and looking busy as they perused the handout paper with the ceremony details, and softly spoke to each other. It was impossible to see outside from his vantage point.




The engagement


She typed his full name into the website, curious to see what he looked like after all these years. The engagement announcement looked classy on this site. As she saw his smiling face next to Rose, the long suppressed emotions welled up and she had a pang of longing. She began to reminisce at their times together. She couldn’t believe that she was feeling this way about a boyfriend from her distant past. She looked at her hand where his ring had once been, and another had taken its place. Somehow this new ring didn’t shine as bright.  


It had been more than five years, and though they were in the same city, their paths had never crossed. The one time she put his name in the website since they had separated, was just before he was going to get married. She wasn’t one to believe in signs, but if she did, she would call this a sign. As she stared at the page she saw the answer to her quandary. There were the details of his upcoming bachelor party. She looked behind her to see what her long term boyfriend, Kai was doing. Kai was sitting on the sofa, his nose deep in a book paying, her no mind.


“Public bar,” she thought to herself, “anyone could turn up.”


She had her answer, she knew what she was going to do. She logged out of the website, cleared the cache and closed the laptop.




The Bachelor Party


The party was going well. They had got over the shenanigans part of the party. Stupid costumes, and gag gifts. Now it was just a quiet get-together with a worn jukebox playing its tunes. He wondered what Rose was up to with her friends.  


He watched Lars struggling with the puzzle they had gotten him as a gift. 


“For your wedding night. In case you are done too quickly. You’ll have something to keep you busy.” The comedy duo of Jason and Robert had announced.


“Where are they?” He thought as he looked around the bar. He saw them along the wall, they were playing darts, slowly working on their beers. The others were splayed around the bar making conversation other people who came to the bar. Some were old friends, but the majority were just bar regulars.


As he looked around he saw her. She was standing by the small atrium looking around for someone. How long had it been since he had last seen her? Five years? Perhaps more. She was well wrapped up for the cold, and hadn’t yet removed her scarf that covered most of her face. But those were her eyes. He would recognise them anywhere.


Their eyes connected, and he saw recognition. He was the one she was looking for. He patted Lars’ shoulder and told him “I’ll be right back.”


Lars muttered something under his breath without looking up, still working on the puzzle.


Weaving his way through the cramped patron tables, he reached the atrium.


“You were the last person I expected to see here. How have you been?”


“Fine I guess.” She pulled down her scarf, her face just showing some signs of weathering. She was still the attractive woman that he had fallen in love with years before. She whispered, leaning in, though there was little chance of anybody overhearing them. “I came to stop you.”


He was confused. “What do you mean, stop me?”


“Stop you from making a mistake.” She paused, as if searching for words, and then giving up. “It should have been me.”


“What are you doing?” He wondered out loud to her. “It has been five years. You can’t come down to see me on the eve of my wedding, and waltz in expecting me to go off with you.”


She searched his eyes poignantly. “I didn’t take this lightly. I’ve been thinking about this since I saw the engagement announcement. I have been thinking about us, and how we drifted apart. And realised it wasn’t anything one or the other had done. Just life getting in the way.”


“You may feel that way, but I don’t.”


“Wait, let me finish.” She took his warm indoor hands into her freezing outdoor ones. “I’m saying that this is our chance to take life and make it go our way.” Her voice trembled as she said. “I’ve been fumbling with this thought for some time. I’ll be waiting at The Café on the 13th. If you are not there, I’ll know it is too late.”


She tenderly placed his right hand on her cheek and leaned into it. Winking at him before leaving the atrium she whispered. “I’ll be waiting for you.” She turned quickly and left into the evening.


Across the bar, a finger pressed stop on the record of the phone camera and put it quickly away.




The Day of the Wedding


He struggled to feel comfortable in his suit standing at the altar. He whispered to Lars, “I feel naked without my phone. We shouldn’t have left them at the suite like you said. I just don’t know what to do with my hands.”


“She is less than 15 mins late.” Lars fumbled through his pockets. “Rose has always been late. Why would this be any different?”


Lars put the bachelor party’s puzzle into his hands. “Here, this will keep your hands out of trouble.”


On the beside table of the suite a couple of blocks away, a face down phone vibrated with an incoming message.

  

She was sitting in The Café looking hopefully outside to the incoming cars. Glancing at her phone every so often. Watching the clock on its face tick away. The evening settles in. She moved her cold coffee mug away from her, put her phone away in her bag and made her way out of The Café.




The Wedding Reception


Kai slowly pulls out her love letter to him. He folds it diagonally to make a square and methodically rips the pink paper on the bottom to make a straight edge. He carefully folds it diagonally again to creates an X across his square pink love letter paper.


Going through the motions, he builds an origami crane. This fills Kai’s the time as he waits for her to get home. Kai realises that this love letter, though filled with beautiful words to him, is actually a letter that was meant for someone else. The images from the video filled his head as he waited, folding page after page.


She comes through the door of the apartment in such a whirlwind that she doesn’t notice the small roll on suitcase standing by the door.


“You have no idea what traffic was like.” She rushes to the kitchen. “As I was driving here, Astrid calls me up claiming that she had an emergency at work that needed to be dealt with immediately. So I had to stop at the side of the road to deal with her.” She begins taking the shopping out of the bag, rattling on. “After solving Astrid’s so-called emergency, as I tried to move out, this moron cuts me off and nearly causes an accident. I mean what was his hurry, it’s not like the jam was really going anywhere.” She continues her monologue as she takes groceries out of the bags.


Kai looks at her from the hallway that leads to the kitchen as he searched for the words to say what he feels. Her voice just a far off radio that he isn’t listening to any more. Kai pulls out his phone and forwards the message to her. A tear rolls down his cheek as he sadly walks to the front door, reaching for his suitcase, he opens it and walks out.


Her phone pings with a new message. She looks up from the kitchen counter and sees the myriad of origami cranes splayed on the dining room table. All made from past love letters. She can see her handwriting, and coloured pages. Confused she looks around for Kai as she glances at the incoming message.  


It’s from Kai. She opens the message, the video begins playing. Quiet bar music is the background to a closeup of her left hand putting his hand to her cheek in the atrium of the bachelor party. 


“Wait.”


But Kai is already gone, he is no longer waiting for her.

May 21, 2020 19:26

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5 comments

Heather Laaman
02:03 May 28, 2020

I really like the way you paced this. It had just the right amount of controlled emotion. Also, you didn't go into a lot of detail but I felt like I knew the characters.

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Sean Roulet
12:09 May 28, 2020

Thank you, in a way I was approaching it as one would telling an anecdote. Just enough details about a character to identify them, without going into too much exposition that didn't add to moving plot.

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Kathleen March
01:26 May 28, 2020

Very nicely created to make waiting everything that matters in the story. Until it doesn.t. Controlled style works perfectly.

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Sean Roulet
12:06 May 28, 2020

Thank you, given that it was clear where the end was going, (from the prompt), I was trying to find a way to keep the reader guessing. Having many characters that could possibly be waiting. I have always been curious about the "could have beens" of a person's life. The road not taken, so to speak. And what the consequences could be of trying to go back. The difficult part was finding a way to keep the main characters as "He" and "She" without making it too confusing to the reader. Especially as every other character is named.

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Kathleen March
14:37 May 28, 2020

The things you refer to get easier as we write sometimes by expanding on what's already written. I looked back at some older writing of mine and could see lots of new ways to take it. I am learning to tighten up my writing even now, after years of reading and writing about ficction. It's very different when we're writing our own pieces. I work differently - I often take a memory snatched from oblivion and roll it out. Surprises happen that way.

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