I sit in the church hall, listening. The soloist is singing over the hum of chattering guests: “Ave Maria…gratia plena…”
My heart is racing like the staccato beat of a metronome. But it’s not from nerves; my day has finally arrived.
I close my eyes and take in a long, deep breath. The scent of wild flowers woven through my hair fills my nostrils.
A choir joins the soloist and I open my eyes, blinking back the brightness of the day.
Linda hands me my glass of champagne. “One more sip for luck!”
I take a gulp and the bubbles fizz on my tongue.
“Are you ready?” Dad asks. He holds out an arm and I take it, pulling myself up and giggling.
“As I’ll ever be,” I say with a wink. He guides me to the huge wooden doors and they open with a percussive bang. And as the Wedding March begins I see my Jonathon turn, and a warm, happy smile spreads across his face.
Married… My goodness. Married! Well if that doesn’t draw a line under things, I don’t know what will.
I had allowed myself one final glance at her before Sarah arrived. One peep. Imagined it was her walking up the aisle. That it would be her wrapped in my arms tonight. She was wearing scarlet lipstick – she knew I loved that. And a dress that fit her curves so snugly I had to avert my eyes, for fear I might give myself away.
The choir was silenced and the organist began to play the Wedding March. Sarah looked beautiful, of course. But it was never her looks that I objected to.
She just…wasn’t Isobel.
I got through the vows, a Cheshire cat grin plastered across my face. You proposed, I remind myself. You set all this in motion.
I remember her face when I told her. Remember the blink of surprise and then the smile, all teeth and red, juicy lips.
“I hope you have a very happy life together,” she had said, without a hint of hurt, regret, or anything to suggest she didn’t mean exactly what she said.
So that is what I plan to do.
The crescendo of the babbling guests is broken when my husband stands to deliver the Groom’s speech and the best man tings on a glass with a teaspoon.
“Thank you all for coming today, to join my wife (ha ha!) and I on this very special day. Those of you who know us well know we met studying music at Nottingham Uni. Those of you who know me well know singing is my strength; speeches have never really been my forte (ha ha!) Probably because my jokes always fall flat (ha ha!)…”
Jonathon’s face is the picture of happiness. I hope when we have children they favour him in looks; his smiling eyes, his square jawline and his wide, handsome grin.
When the speeches and wedding breakfast is over, he pulls me from my chair to cut the cake with him. His eyes glisten as he places his hand over mine around the handle of the knife.
And then it’s time for the first dance. My friend, Maya, sings ‘The way you look tonight’. Jonathon chose it. Said it would describe how he knew he was going to feel on the day; that I would be beautiful. Hand in hand, we glide towards the stage and begin our slow dance. The pools of his deep brown eyes lock on my own and I feel as though I am the only person in the world that matters to him.
“I love you,” I say, and he kisses me softly and slowly on the lips. Our guests cheer wildly, dragging me back to the moment.
In music, there is a term ‘da capo’ that means ‘from the beginning.’ It is written as a directive to return the musician to the start of the score and repeat what he has just played.
If this day was a piece of music, I would write da capo here.