Now, who is it that’s getting
married?” my husband whispered to me as we settled into
our pew after being led down the church aisle by a
solemn-faced young usher.
We’d had this
discussion at least three times. Once when I discovered
the calligraphied envelope buried under a pile of
discarded grocery flyers after he’d reached the mailbox
first. Another when he knocked the invitation off its
magnet on the refrigerator door—where I had mounted it
in plain view. And a few days earlier when I reminded
him we couldn’t go to the opening of an action flick
because we were going to the wedding of a teaching
colleague of mine.
Despite all this, I wasn’t
concerned he’d forgotten the names embossed on the
invitation. After twenty-six years of marriage, I’ve
learned that the mere mention of the word “wedding”
seems to trigger a memory lapse in my
So, as we took our seats, I calmly
whispered back, “The computer teacher and the Bible
“Sounds like the title of one of
those romance novels you read on the treadmill at the
gym,” he muttered and settled down, probably to count
the number of women sitting by themselves who had left
their lucky husbands behind.
The ringing chords
of the organ accompanied a lilting soprano and filled
the flower-scented air. It reminded me of my own wedding
day and the joy-tinged nervousness that made my stomach
dance with butterflies as I stood hidden from guests,
awaiting my cue. I wondered if the bride was calming her
own fluttering emotions.
I knew the groom was. He
was a quiet man who didn’t seek the limelight and for
whom, according to his mother, the anticipation of
standing to face 400 guests was daunting.
tuxedoed and handsome, he led his entourage to take
their places at the altar steps, I looked for signs of
distress. Fidgety hands. Sweating brow. Restless feet.
Instead, I saw the sweet smile of a happy man as he
anticipated the sweeping entry of the woman he loved.
And I didn’t need the strains of the “Trumpet Voluntary”
to know the bride was poised to enter. The groom’s face
reflected her presence.
As we rose in honor, I
felt a twinge of envy. It had been a long time since my
husband had looked at me with that kind of glow.
Maybe twenty-six years of marriage does that, I
thought. Maybe the day we said our vows, the day he
looked at me in my bridal white and his eyes said, “I
love you and you are beautiful” was the climax of our
own romantic saga, the best it was ever going to get.
And maybe our confidence in the first blush of love
became a memory buried under years of hard work to keep
our marriage going.
The last strains of music
faded and the bride’s glowing face, shadowed by layers
of pearl-encrusted tulle, turned from her father to her
groom. That’s when a little tear threatened to slip down
my cheek. In the candlelit softness, they did
look like a perfect couple from one of those romantic
novels I liked to sneak into the gym.
A tiny part
of me mourned the loss of my storybook-romance illusions
as the groom reached for his bride’s hand. I wanted to
be them again—partners facing a clean slate, oblivious
to all but their love. I wanted to steal a piece of the
mystical magic of new love and rediscover its feelings
of hope, promise and possibilities—the same fresh
feelings my husband and I shared on our own wedding
Suddenly, as if he knew my thoughts, my
husband turned to me and whispered, “I like the way you
look in that red dress, Kris.” His eyes filled with a
warmth that still melts my heart, and his thumb stroked
my palm like it did twenty-six years ago when we stood
in a rose-perfumed garden and he said, “I
Inching into the shelter of his encircling
arm, I remembered the long-ago wedding promises we made
and have honored over many good and some not-so-good
years. I thought of our mutual respect, of the love that
drew us together, of the sure foundation of trust and
commitment we continued to build on.
soon, the groom kissed his bride and, beaming, they
walked hand-in-hand down a petal-strewn aisle . . . into
a star-studded night.
As the bride left to face
her future, I wished her happiness. But I no longer
wanted to be her. I was glad I was right where I was.
With the man I love. Hand-in-hand, we followed the
newlyweds into the luminous night—and a beckoning future
Ross (c) 2001 from Chicken Soup for the Bride's Soul