And the Bride Wore Black
Part 1 out of 2 Parts
“What a scandal,” they’d whisper on the streets. The priest who performed at his funeral, the weeping mother of the unlucky boy, murmurs of the townspeople gathered around the City Square. “Poor, poor girl.”
So, was this how it ended? The mother wept, the father remembering, acquaintances patted backs and extended condolences. We’re so sorry for your loss, the words seemed to hold some sort of snicker. And the bride said nothing.
Odd, how many people look so deeply into the end, as if they forgot the beginning. So we look at a life, as ragged and despairing as it may seem, that collapsed- lost all emotion, any feeling, the element of surprise…gone.
“He loves me,” she giggled, holding up her ring finger. “He loves me sooo much.” The diamond splendor glittered in the pale moonlight, sparkled in what light the burning lantern offered.
“He sure does,” I agreed in monotone. 10 times in a row…and counting.
“Did I tell you? When he proposed, it was like…” she started excitedly, beaming down at the engagement ring.
“You already told me,” I said flatly, interrupting her in an energetic retelling of how clean his shirt was, how elegantly the cake was placed in front of her dinner plate, the exact spot where that ring- that ring, that ring- was nestled into leaves of Godiva- “Godiva! Godiva, Becca!”- and any other detail that simply required explanation.
She stopped abruptly.
Her voice trailed off. She looked absolutely crestfallen.
The quiet moment was long. I did nothing to stop it. I stood up.
“I have to go now.”
She looked up at me. “All right.”
There was something about that dead voice, dead tone, dead whatever that tugged at my heart long after I had left. She was so weak, I was supposed to be so strong. To not crumble at every despairing critique- unlike her. To be able to shrug off the twitters, the stares, the pointing- unlike her. I was power. She was not.
So how the hell did she get engaged before me? Before me, of all peoples?
She had always worn this hideous conch shell necklace, the same vomit-green turtleneck sweater. No makeup whatsoever was dabbed on her blemishes, the unmistakable shame of adolescence. It was worse during lunch, so distracting to carry on a decent conversation with a whitehead-covered countenance, where my eyes strayed to constantly.
No wonder she was so elated when Brendon Parker asked her out.
At first, I didn’t think much of it. What was one boy, one geeky boy worth compared to my pile of football players, basketball players, hell, even the track boys- all the males of my choice. It didn’t matter who I dated in the end. I dated them all.
Except for one.
He was the typical “emo-hottie”, one who carried himself with the air of an “undateable” self. Sure, he had the typical future-prostitutes draping themselves over him, but he sort of swatted them away.
I knew. I used to be one of those girls.
I knew the heartbreaking line of, “Let’s just be friends.”
She would be sitting with me, and I would be minding my own business at lunch. He’d catch my eye, raise one finger for me to come to him…
“Go,” she’d say through her mouthful of ham-and-cheese, 500 calorie sandwhich. “Just go ahead.”
And it always happened the same way: me shooting her an apologetic smile, then when I looked back at her from my new spot by him, she wouldn’t be there anymore. I’d feel a twinge of guilt in my chest, which would be quickly forgotten in a record of 6 seconds.
“If you had a second chance for anything, what would you spend it on?” he’d ask during one of our random ‘talks’.
I was itching to say, “You,” but, instead I’d answer with something like, “Her,” and I’d guesture vaguely where she had been sitting.
“her?” he’d repeat. And I’d nod.
So, day after day, lunch always passed like that. My interrogation time.
Soon, the ache of my heart, the illusion that I could have anyone I wanted (shattered), eventually stopped throbbing so wretchedly. It still hurt, but not as much.
I guess everything came as a surprise when out of the blue, she sprung back into my life and blurted out, “Brendon asked me to marry him.”
The tear in my heart severed the more.
“You’re kidding me,” I said faintly, hearing my own voice echo in my ears, my heart stopping. Or pounding.
Whatever it was, it hurt.
“Yeah, we were outside at this coffee shop-“ her chatter kept spilling out in breathless spurts, as if she couldn’t handle her inhaling-exhaling just yet. “-and I leaned forward and he leaned forward and then I looked down since I heard something clink against my plate, and…” she beamed. So proudly, like a mother watching her toddler finally flair and spalsh across the swimming pool, “…and, well, that’s when he asked me to marry him.”
I nodded vaguely. I had stopped listening after “Yeah.” It was like my mind had just automatically shut down, refused to allow comprehension, that dark bubble of dread welling up from the pits of m blackened heart. I swallowed hard. I should be happy for her. Right?
“Becca? Becca? Beeeehhhhcccaa.”
I rose up slowly, gripping the edge of my chair. I couldn’t trust myself to not fall. No one would be there to catch me. “I…I have to go now. Umm….I’ll tell everyone about you two. I’m so happy for you.” As I stood up, the last words rushing out of my mouth, adrenaline seemed to trickle into my veins. My legs stood more firmly, my resolve strengthened. I was preparing to run.
But I was already running. I was flying, fleeing from truth, fleeing from the brutality of a broken, crumpled heart, the stitches torn again- fleeing from reality.
Thank you for taking your time to read this. Feedback and other such comments are appreciated. Again, this is part one out of the two parts (simply because I didn't have the time to type it all up >.<). I hope you all enjoyed this.
(Also, this has been moved from the other fiction thread. Hehe. Enjoy.)