[#1] Wedding Day
An unusual wedding is on the cards.
November. Misty winters. Murky breeze made everything seem still. Enveloped in the stillness, was a cathedral that was gushing with colorful flowers, happy chatters and smooth music. St Christopher’s Basilica was the only cathedral in the small town called Merrifort. It was fenced with meadows and trees on three sides. During snowfalls, the cathedral used to turn scenic.
That day, St Christopher’s Basilica was witnessing an unusual wedding. Peter Castillo, a young businessman, in his late twenties, was getting married to his childhood friend, Susan O’Dannell. The wedding was supposedly unusual because while almost every young and pretty woman in the town wanted to marry Peter, he chose to marry Susan, a girl who had lost her legs a few years earlier in an accident. That wedding, everyone believed, would become a local legend of how a man kept his word for the love.
The town was small and almost everyone knew everyone else. Most of the known faces of the town were present at the wedding. Peter was surrounded by his friends near the altar inside the cathedral. His parents, Mr and Mrs Castillo were talking in an animated manner with others of their age. The bride was yet to arrive.
“Here’s our man of the day — Peter,” said Scott, Peter’s best friend and his best man, laughingly. Scott had a chubby structure with a round face and curled brown hair.
Peter smirked. “Come on, guys! I am the last among all of us to get married. You had your days too.” Peter was tall, fair and handsome. He had sharp features, properly groomed eyebrows and a permanent furrow on his forehead.
Everyone laughed. Another friend took a quick look at his watch and said, “But where is our lady of the day?”
“Her dad called sometime back. They were about to leave from their place. Susan had a hard time putting on the ivory gown,” Peter told.
A relatively new friend of Peter, Billy, made a remark, “Yes, with that wheelchair of hers, she must have had hard time. Mr Romeo, had it ever occurred to you that you could marry someone else… Someone better… Someone complete…?”
Scott found the remark in bad taste. Not only the words were ugly, also the face that uttered those words was, he felt. Billy was a short man with rough hair and a patchy stubble. The dark circles under his eyes made him unattractive. In a cold voice, Scott put a full stop to the conversation, “Billy, no more talking.”
Peter held Scott’s arm and said in a casual tone, “It’s okay Scott. I think Billy is just curious. Today is my wedding. I do not want anything else except smiles today. Okay?”
He then turned towards Billy and replied, “Billy, ‘someone complete’?! Haha. Really, that’s your concern? She completes me, buddy. And I complete her. Anyway, she’ll be here anytime now. Her place is just ten minutes away.”
Billy put on a sly smile on his face. He tried to explain what he meant earlier, “Not just her legs, Peter. She doesn’t even have a mother. Even her family isn’t complete, you know.”
Peter was clearly disgusted with the choice of words that Billy made. And so was everyone else who heard the statement. Scott’s face wore an uninviting expression. A friend in the group understood if Billy wouldn’t keep his mouth shut, he would surely spoil the wedding. He held his arm and took him away from the group to help the groom keep his composure.
Sound of tyres screeching echoed in the cathedral. Everyone went silent. The bride’s car had arrived. Peter stood upright with his back straight. Scott stood behind him. Priest arrived just in time on the altar. The guests stood up at their seats. Everyone’s eyes were on the entrance — from where the bride and her father would enter and would walk up to the altar.
The orchestra started playing a tune that made everyone present at the wedding feel the hair at the back of their neck raised. The energy in the room was positive for every guest present there would be witnessing a wedding that they might never get a chance see such another such wedding in their lifetimes.
The music on its peak. The smiles on the faces extended to its limit. And a man in his late forties entered the cathedral. Peter recognised him as his would-be father in law. But something was not right. Peter’s eyebrows rose. Mr O’Dannell walked up to the altar in quick and small steps.
As he approached near Peter, he noticed that his eyes were red as if he had just stopped crying. Mr O’Dannell handed out a note to Peter. Peter opened it. It read:
I am sorry.
Peter looked at Mr O’Dannell waiting for him to explain what the note meant. The would-be father-in-law said, “I was waiting for her while she put on the gown. She was in her room with her friends. I went upstairs to get the ring from my room and when I came back down after sometime, she was gone. Along with Susan, all of her friends were gone too except one. She handed this note to me telling me that Susan never wanted this wedding. She told me that Susan had been crying everyday as she felt you deserved better. She couldn’t speak up earlier. She conspired with her friends to go missing on the wedding day. I am sorry, son. I am sorry. I had no clue about it.”
The man burst out crying. Peter hugged him, “Don’t worry, sir. It’ll be alright.”
The story continues:
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