This was supposed to be the happiest day of their lives, but as Michelle stared into the photo of her and Louis at the sunset on the beach that summer night that changed their lives, she wasn’t so sure she was ready to do this.
RING RING. She turned quickly to face her phone on the bed. She picked it up and answered it.
“Hello,” She said.
“Hi Michelle! Are you ready to go?” Melanie asked.
“Right,” She replied as she threw her coat on and slammed the door on her way out. She put on her shoes downstairs and ran out and into the warm summer morning. It had been about a year since Louis had proposed to her, and the wedding was only a few hours away. There was no time to waste.
BEEP BEEP. Melanie’s red Honda pulled up to the curb, and Michelle ran over to the passengers side and got in.
“So, are you ready for the big day??” She asked as she pulled away and started down the road.
“Yeah, of course,” Michelle lied through a fake smile.
As they made their way toward town, she felt more uncomfortable as she thought of all the times she and Louis had. Sharing ice cream, swinging on the swings at the playground, building snowmen, all those warm memories slammed into her like an 18-wheeler. But, with all those warm memories, she never felt the true happiness she should have. There was this empty void in their relationship that she knew was there but could never quite touch.
The little bell to the Ollie’s Flowershop dinged as Melanie and Michelle stepped in. Lillys, daffodils, roses, daisies, and much more surrounded them in the small store on the corner on Main and Rotz. Seeing all of the pretty flowers calmed Michelle’s nerves to a dull. They made there way up to the front desk where a middle-aged man with a beard and cap stood.
“Hi!” Melanie greeted him, “We are picking up for Grant.”
“Alrighty!” The man said as he went in back and came out with a huge bouquet of white and pink roses mixed with some daffodils.
“Wow!” Michelle exclaimed as she walked up and took it.
“Thank you so much!” Melanie thanked the man as they walked back out the door.
“Wait!” Michelle stopped and turned back around to face the man. “Can I take some daisies too?” She asked.
“Of course,” He replied as he retreated to the back again.
“For my mother,” She whispered to Melanie.
She didn’t reply, but gave an understanding nod and took a step back.
The man returned with a small handful of various daisies, and we thanked him as we made out way out the door.
“Congratulations!” He shouted back to us as the door shut tight.
“Ok. We’ve got a few minutes to spare before we need to be at the dressing room,” Melanie said as she took a sharp right and drove up a little hill. They took another right and pulled to the side of the road next to an iron gate. Michelle got out of the car, stretched, and they walked through the opening and onto the cobble path. They finally came across a gravestone decorated with a few candles and some wilted flowers. There on the stone was carved Greta Elizabeth Grant. Michelle knelt down, and took the old flowers out of the vase and replaced them with the daisies. She hung her head low, and muttered something under her breath. Melanie could see a tear in the corner of her eye. Michelle got up and dusted herself off as she smiled.
“Time to go,” She said as she started to walk off toward the car.
They got in, buckled up, and headed off toward town. When they were only a few blocks away, Michelle’s nerves bunched up again and she squeezed the stalks of the flowers tightly. Realizing that she was hurting them, she released her grip slightly. They pulled into the parking lot packed with cars. Michelle’s stomach dropped as she saw Louis leaning against the trunk of his. We took a parking space, and he walked over to meet us.
“Hey little lady!” He said as he leaned in for a kiss.
Michelle felt a little uncomfortable but returned it anyway. Melanie noticed instantly and shot her a questioning look. When Louis wasn’t looking, she gave a shrug.
“So, excited for today???” He asked with enthusiasm. “This is going to be the best day of our lives!”
He gave her another kiss and started to walk off toward the building.
“See you in there future Mrs. Levanski,” he shot a grin at her.
“Bye honey,” She replied.
Michelle straightened up instantly when Melanie pulled on the back of her dress. She felt hot with all the fluffy layers on top of her, kind of like cotton candy. Melanie dragged her over to a seat where a stylist started pulling and detangling her hair in an effort to get it up in time. Michelle was on the edge of her seat as she stared into the mirror and saw her reflection. Was she truly ready for this? Was this the right guy to spend the rest of her life with? Thoughts raced through her mind at lightning speed, threatening to make her scream. She could barely breath when-
RING RING RING.
She jumped quickly and a bobby pin scraped her scalp. She reached over to her phone with a shaking hand. Louis.
“Hi,” She started in a trembling voice.
“Michelle, are you ok? You don’t sound too good.”
“I’m fine, I guess it’s just a little bit of jitters,” She reassured him.
“Well what’s there to be afraid of? We were meant for each other ever since we laid eyes.”
“I guess,” She said.
“What do you mean you guess?” Panic arising in his voice. “Is there something you want to tell me, because I’m here.”
“I don’t know, it’s just that I don’t know if I’m ready, I’m not sure if I can do this,” She started to break down slowly.
“Wait, what!?” He asked, stunned.
“Michelle! Let’s go! It’s almost time!” Melanie shouted as she took the phone from her hand.
“She’ll see you down the aisle Louis. Bye.”
Michelle got up almost automatically, just following the flow of the bustling crowd around her.
Her thoughts raced even more. Why couldn’t she bring herself to just marry him? It had been a while they had known each other. Almost 6 years. He was the one she always turned to for advice and when she was upset and angry. He was the one who had driven 100 roses to her on Valentine’s day, he was the one who booked the fanciest restaurant in town for them to have dinner at, he was one who held the special place in her heart. But as she pulled her heels on and tucked the hair away from her face, she just didn’t know why she couldn’t do it. Then, her eyes landed on her rainbow anklet that her mother had given her for her 16th birthday. It still fit after all those years. She froze and a frog leaped up into her throat. She remembered the day that mom had died. She remembered it so vividly, she could still feel her and her father’s tears on her cheeks. She remembered bringing flowers to her grave once a week through the heat and cold for 13 years. She remembered how she felt so empty and alone, and how she would never lean on anyone for support for the rest of her life because she was afraid that they would be gone too. Then she remembered a few years later when she went to a restaurant to pick up her takeout when she bumped into Louis on the way out. His warm smile and charming features were still engraved in her mind. She remembered a weight lift from the deepest pit in her stomach, but a smaller weight replaced it. And suddenly it all came to her. She never wanted to lean on Louis for so much support all the years that they were together because she was afraid that one day it was going to end. That something would happen to him just like what happened to her mother. That he would move away one day. That he would leave her for someone else. But no one could ever prevent those things. Those things were just a part of life. Those things were something beyond anyone’s reach much rather control. She had to accept that and that it was a possibility that those things might happen. But she had to because she was missing out in life and the fun adventures she and Louis had. She couldn’t be stuck in the mindset of never getting hurt again. Things would happen. But that was life.
Michelle threw down her heels and raced out the door toward Louis’s changing room. She had to explain herself and the way she acted earlier before the wedding.
Melanie tried to run after her but tripped along the way and fell down into the bushes. When she tried to run toward the entrance of the parking lot to get across to him, she stopped and felt her heart drop in an instant. A black car was pulling out, and she saw Louis in the front seat of it.
“What!?” She squeaked in shock. She pulled out her phone and quickly started typing away.
Where are you going? I saw you leaving.
Then she got a reply that said,
I’m sorry, but it seems that this person does not have your contact information anymore.
Panic overwhelmed her, and she watched as the little car drove off onto the highway. By then it was too late.