The Bride

crazybrideShe stood silently outside the grand, ornate doors, waiting for the music to begin. Her long white gown billowed to the floor, in row upon row of Italian lace. The intricate bead work, of thousands of tiny pearls, had been hand sewn by her ancestors, some two hundred years before. Her long black hair was pulled back from her face, to best display her high cheek bones, yet, cascaded freely down her back in heavy, satin ringlets. Her full lips, which seldom wore lipstick, had been painted dark red for the occasion. Her midnight blue eyes, with thick black lashes, were hidden from view by the full lace veil which imprisoned her.
She held the bouquet of fresh cut red roses in her trembling hands, twisting the lace and ribbons that held the stems together, feverishly around her fingers. Her carefully manicured nails dug into her palms, drawing blood. What was she doing here? With college behind her- having finished at the top of her class- her dream of becoming a lawyer had materialized. At the age of twenty-eight, she’d opened her own law practice – success beckoned at every turn.
Traveling had become her passion. She found the fine restaurants, luxurious hotel rooms and quiet wanderings through fascinating museums exhilarating. She had many friends, some single, others not. Although her married friends were happy, many seemed to have lost their identity. What if the same fate awaited her? Was she to lose her freedom? Her independence over her own future?
She could feel panic coursing through her veins. Her heart began beating faster. She was having difficulty breathing. It was as though a pair of invisible hands were slowly, relentlessly tightening around her throat. On the other side of the doors was her fiancé, the man she had promised to marry. The man she believed she loved. Yet, somehow, she felt as though she were teetering on the edge of a cliff, the ground breaking away beneath her feet.
Her life flashed before her – just as she had heard happened to those about to die. Dreams and goals, all of her yesterdays and all of her tomorrows, came together in an instant, then disappeared like wisps of smoke swallowed by the night. Why was everyone so happy for her? Why had she been coaxed, encouraged, cultivated, to give up everything she had worked so hard for? Suddenly she felt betrayed. After all her hard work, what would become of her? She had been mislead into believing her life was her own, only to have each of her ambitions dashed with the speaking of two little words: ‘I do.’
It occurred to her that she had been brainwashed. They had been preparing her for this her entire life. Television, newspaper articles, movies, magazines, her own family, and friends, expected, anticipated, and patiently counted on this very moment of surrender! God, there were even magazines aimed at woman like her, teetering on the threshold of marriage, magazines called Bride and Your Special Day. It was rather puzzling, that there weren’t any glossy-paged publications, bearing glassy-eyed models, called Groom!
Music began to float through the closed doors. She knew at any moment, the doors would be pulled open for her grand entrance; so why did she feel as though she was standing on a gallows, the noose drawn taut around her neck, waiting for the tripping of the gate beneath her feet? She had only known her fiancé for two years, what did she really know of him? She bit her bottom lip. This must be how a condemned man feels before he dies, she thought. She could feel the bile rise up in her throat, choking her. The blood was pounding in her head. This was not the way it was supposed to be! She felt as though she was at her own funeral. She could almost hear the hollow thud of the first shovel of dirt being thrown upon her casket. She clawed at the veil, which suffocated her, trying to dig her way out.
The doors swung open, everyone in the church turned to watch the bride come down the aisle in all her glory. The petal-strewn aisle remained empty. The music stopped, then, started again, in hope that the blushing bride had simply missed her cue. Family and friends began to whisper and mumble in their designated places in the pews.
Finally, on watery legs, the groom walked hesitantly, fearfully down the aisle and through the open doorway. The crowd’s questioning murmurs seemed to tighten his tie-laced collar. The hall was empty, save for a hand-written note lying in the middle of the floor. Unfolding the note and reading it, the groom could feel the bile rise up in his throat, choking him. Simply stated, the note read:
I’m too young to die!

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