The sky rumbles. Villainous chuckles of fate superceding dreams, as I waited, willing the sky to cooperate but grateful for the taught canvas above my head.
The tent had meant borrowing against my 401k, but I’d been unable, or more unwilling to deny her the dream her first husband and lack of parents had refused her. A wedding, after all, is the most important day in a woman’s life.
One of them, I hoped.
It was an impressive sight. Forty feet wide and twice as long. Stillwater was the tent style. Or manufacture. I hadn’t been privy to all the details, only the rental invoice. I remember my stomach lurching when the pretty, strawberry blond printed our final order in the glamorous two story rental showroom after an hour of picking our tent, lighting package, table shapes and sizes, chairs and dishes and fabrics and colors. My head was still swimming, seven months later.
But rain did mean the garden ceremony would be moved into the house.
Thunder might mean we shouldn’t be under the massive tent as well. The installers had provided some warnings.
I ignored the memory prickling in the back of my mind.
Nothing would stop this day.
My phone buzzed, and as I fished it from the inside pocket of my tux, a second message was coming through.
I have handled the disjointed frustration of my mother who had wanted a doctor, but had raised an accountant. I’d dealt with the sadness of my college sweetheart when I’d said I didn’t want to marry her. I’d even muscled through the violent hatred of my first fiance when I realized she was never going to be mother material.
But Jenna’s disappointment was something I knew would crush me.
Please save the peonies
We could line the hearth, couldn’t we?
My smile made my eyes close. I loved this women with a fury that caused a simple text about flowers to give me a hard on.
The flowers had been the only thing she could pay for, and she’d made every penny count. I didn’t get the fuss, but the way her face had lit up when we walked into that florist made understanding a frivolous thing.
It took the wedding planner all of twenty seconds to come up with a plan for them, and as she took them from my sweaty hands, I glanced around for what catastrophe I might stave of next.
It’s truly amazing how dark the world can become with heavy cloud cover. A summer storm is not an odd thing in July. And even as the wind picked up, I refused to worry.
Jenna was the most beautiful bride I’d ever been privy to see. Even as she bent over my punctured chest, rain smudged and tear stained, the shimmery white fabric of her dress wicking blood from the wound like tissue paper absorbing watercolors. She was exquisite.
I stood and watched her, rain pelting in from the side of the splintered tent.
I didn’t feel the lightening strike. I didn’t hear the snap of the pole at my back. I didn’t understand what had made my knees buckle as I turned around and watched myself fall.
I just kept practicing those vows we’d written.
Nothing would stop this day.