Jan 22

The Wedding

The kettle whistled as my aunt slipped an apron over her shiny auburn hair. My mom twirled around the kitchen with my aunt like a pair of seasoned dancers. 
    “So, have you talked to that boy you like yet?” My aunt asked, her eyes glinting as she ducked behind the counter to grab a mixing bowl. 
    I rolled my eyes, “Seriously? Haven’t I told you to stop prying into my love life?” I replied, playfully glaring her down as she grinned at my mom. 
    “I’m not going to stop until you ask. The wedding’s the day after tomorrow and you can’t keep putting it off. Have a little fun! I want my niece to have someone she likes to dance with at my wedding! It is my day isn’t it?”
    “She’s not wrong Cara.” My mom chuckled, “As the maid of honor it is my noble duty to make sure she has the best wedding in all the land”, my mom announced, bowing deeply and sweeping her arm upwards.
    “What did I walk in on?” My dad puzzled, ruffling my hair as he strode over to the kettle. 
    “Just a typical morning of your wife and sister-in-law having way too much fun in the kitchen. Anyways, I’m gonna drive over to the library and return a few books.” I said, grabbing my keys from the bowl by the door.
“Have fun visiting the library boy!” My aunt hollered as I bounced out the door. 
*                                                           *                                                                    *
A blast of air conditioning ruffled my hair as I entered the Westfield Memorial Library, tucking my strawberry blonde curls behind my ears. 
    “Hey David!”, I called, waving the book in my right hand.
    “Hey, uhhh-,”
    “Cara” I said, plopping the books on the desk in front of him. 
    “Hey Cara, here to return some books?” He asked, reaching behind him for the return cart.
    “Yeah, but I also wanted to ask you something.” I paused, trying to put together the right words. “So my aunt’s wedding is this Saturday and she’s told me I could have a plus one and I was wondering if you’d like to go with me” I blurted, flicking my eyes up towards him. 
    “Uh, yeah sure” David replied, flashing me a small smile.
    “Okay, great! It’s by the fountain in Brightfield Park. The ceremony starts at 1 o’clock. I’ll um... I'll see you there then!” I smiled, striding out into the hot July air.
*                                                            *                                                                   * 
    A cool breeze blew into the bathroom from the open window as my aunt leaned over the sink adjusting her hair. 
    “Well? How do I look?” My aunt asked, tracing her fingers over the shamrocks and celtic knots patterned onto her dress. 
    “You look great,” I reassured, smiling. 
    “Yeah, but you’re missing something” My mom added, pulling a veil out from behind her. 
    “Wow, that’s so pretty,” I marveled, peering over her shoulder as she fastened it behind my aunt’s hair. 
    “It’s Irish lace,” she explained, “It was our mother’s.” 
    “Thanks Riona,” My aunt said, “We better get going if we’re going to pick up Ma on the way.” 
    “I can drive," I suggested, "It’s only a few minutes to Nana's. We'll make it to the park in plenty of time.” 
 I pulled the visor down and glanced at my blue bridesmaids dress as we pulled up my grandmother’s steep driveway. I turned off the car and hopped up to where my grandmother was sitting on a swing attached to the porch roof. 
    “Hey Nana!” 
    “Cara! Hello my dear, you look wonderful”, she stood, looking over my shoulder, “As do you Kayleigh, you are absolutely beautiful.” 
    “Thanks Ma, are you ready to go?” My aunt asked, opening the passenger door.
    “I am, but I have something for you,” My grandmother said, pulling a shiny silver coin the size of a nickel out from her purse. “This is a sixpence coin. It's traditional to put one in your right shoe for luck as you walk down the aisle.”
    “Thank you.” My aunt replied, grinning. 
*                                                                  *                                                                   *
    I took my place at the end of the aisle to the left my aunt’s fiance Sean, in between my mom and my aunt’s friend Sylvie. My eyes scanned the crowd for David as people sat down in chairs lining the path of grass cleared for the ceremony. My mom cocked her head at me, pointing to the empty seat in the second to last row saved for David. I shrugged my shoulders, a knot growing in my stomach. 
    Skipping up towards me, my cousin Abigail came beaming up the aisle, throwing flowers out of a basket held in her left hand. My aunt followed her, gliding down the aisle like a swan swimming across a pond. The feeling in my stomach faded slightly as I watched her come up beside Sean. 
    “Welcome,” a short man said, his eyes a deep chocolate brown, “We are gathered here today to celebrate a very special moment in the lives of Sean and Kayleigh. Today we celebrate the love that people can share, for not only have this couple found something that special, each and every one of you here today has. Whether that is with a special person of your own, or the love of your friends and family. Love is and will always be the strongest force a person can experience. And love is why we are all here today, and what will make today so special.”
    “We shall now pay witness to the special handfasting ritual, which commemorates the binding together of two lives and two souls into one living and loving marriage.” The officiant started wrapping a tan braided cord around Sean and my aunt’s hands. 
“The couple will now speak their vows.” The short man said, taking a step back.
“Kayleigh, ever since that day I saw you laughing with your sister just over there by the gazebo I knew I wanted to be with you. After I found the courage to talk to you and got to know you, I knew that I loved you. And now I know that I will love you and be there for you for the rest of my life.” Sean said, beads of tears forming in the corners of his eyes. 
“Sean, I have to tell you, before I came up here I wasn’t exactly sure what I was going to say. You all know me,” she said, smiling out at the crowd, “I’m not one to plan”. I grinned, chuckling along with a few others. “But now that I’m up here with you, I’m not worried anymore. You've had that effect on me since day one, you make me feel safe and loved and I am ready to say I’m your wife.”
The officiator unbound their hands, giving each a claddagh ring. “Do you Sean, take Kayleigh to be your lawfully wedded wife?”
“I do”.
“And do you Kayleigh, take Sean to be your lawfully wedded husband?”
“I do”.
“Then by the authority vested in me by the state of New Jersey I pronounce you husband and wife! You may kiss the bride!”
*                                                                  *                                                                   * 
Uilleann pipe players blared from the stage as people danced around, laughing and talking. I stood back from the party, my mind wandering back to David. The band stopped playing, taking a break to get some refreshments.
    “Alright Cara, you’re up!” My aunt yelled, beckoning me towards the stage and handing me my fiddle.
    “You brought my fiddle? You want me to play at your wedding?” I exclaimed, laughing with nervousness.
    “Of course! You’re a fantastic player, go up there and have some fun!” I climbed up the stairs, adjusting a music stand to my height and placing my bow atop my fiddle. Taking a breath, I started to play, gradually moving my arm faster and faster and getting lost in the music. Ending with a grand sweep of my arm I looked over the crowd and saw the faces of friends and family and all beaming and clapping. I felt a rush of happiness as the knot in my stomach fully drained away, just by taking in the sight of the people I loved and doing something I loved.
For the first time, I was beginning to understand what life is all about.
About the Author: Ariel186
Ava Blaisdell
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