I can still remember that day.
It was a beautiful wedding. Well, aren’t they all?
However, unlike other weddings, it was one that I would never forget.
I remember sitting at the front pew and watching the bride dance her way to her groom. I couldn’t stop looking at her, not because of her dance moves but because of the smile on her face. She looked so gorgeous and even behind her veil, you could still see the white flash of her smile. Her parents walked beside her on each arm but this bride was special. She was still swaying side to side at the entrance music. She was so happy that it was impossible to hide it. I also thought that she was walking just a tad faster than other brides do. She couldn’t wait to get married! I smiled as I watched her and tried to guess what was going through her mind.
Everyone knows that the best part in any wedding is watching the groom’s face as the bride makes her way into the church. I quickly turned from the dancing bride and looked at him and there he was, smiling and crying all at the same time. He couldn’t take his eyes off his bride. If love was physically visible then I guess that is what I saw right then. The church was full but at that moment, it seemed as if the two were lost in their own private world.
I love being a witness to love and think that weddings are great, the glamorous clothes, the music and dancing, the food, the joy all around and of course the love. I simply love weddings and maybe that is why I always got picked to be a bridesmaid.
However, as much as I loved to share in other people’s joy, there was always certain heartache at watching other brides. Their happiest day reminded me just how alone I was. Being in my late thirty’s and still unmarried was not where I wanted to be. I had everything, a good career, a lovely home, a cute cat, my two degree but I really wanted to meet someone, fall in love and spend the rest of my life with him. I wanted a fairy tale with my very own prince charming where we lived happily ever after.
I looked forward to the day that I would be the one to walk down the aisle. I wanted to see my groom someday watching me as I made my entrance to the church. I couldn’t wait to be the one in that white flowing gown with my friends and family there to witness to my happiest day. I knew that I would probably be too excited and end up running down the aisle. I just couldn’t wait!
Anyway, on that day, the wedding went well. The vows were sweet and so perfect that they brought a tear to my eyes. I wished the couple well as they started their forever together. At that back of my mind, I said a silent prayer. I asked God to send a good man my way soon. I wanted to find love but had to trust that His timing was the perfect timing and so even with my advanced age, I just knew it. I was going to fall in love someday.
Soon, I forgot my own loneliness and focused on my friend’s happiness. Her special day was crowned with perfect weather, great music and clearly love was in the air. I really enjoyed the wedding.
At the evening party, there was a lot of dancing and merriment all around me. The bridesmaids were outdoing themselves on the dance floor as they occasionally burst out laughing. Soon, the slow music started playing and people started dancing as couples.
I sat down watching the dancing couples. Once again, the heartache came back. It seemed as if everyone else was falling in love around me while I sat alone. I could see old couples dancing, holding each other and smiling lovingly as they stared into each others eyes. I loved watching old couples since they gave me hope about love. I saw one such couple who were quite elderly; they kept whispering to each other and I could have given anything just to know what they were talking about. It must be wonderful being with someone for so long and still having a lot to talk about. They looked so lost in their own world. It was beautiful just to watch them.
On the other hand, I saw the bride and groom dancing in each others arms with their happiness so evident. They were talking and laughing. They held each other tightly and looked into each others eyes. It was great to see them next to the old couple. I sent them a prayer that they would one day be that old couple.
“Why aren’t you dancing?” I heard a voice ask from behind me breaking my chain of thoughts.
I turned around and there he was. He was tall, dark and handsome, just as they describe the prince in romantic novels. His eyes were gorgeous, they were intense and looking into them, I got completely taken in and lost in his world. I must have looked confused just staring at him that I had even forgotten what he asked me.
“Cat got your tongue?” he asked again teasingly.
“Dear God, please help me find my words and stop acting like a fool in front of this handsome man,” I silently prayed.
“I was wondering why you aren’t on the dance floor like all the other bridesmaids,” he stated again, this time taking a seat next to me. I could feel my heart beating so loudly that I thought he could hear it.
“Oh I am not…um…you know…much of a dancer,” I mumbled wondering what was happening to my voice. Actually, what was going on with me? I have always been described as a ‘talker’ but right then finding English words and putting them together in a sentence was becoming extremely difficult.
“I bet you can dance a little though,” he said again smiling. His smile was dazzling. It was almost perfect with his teeth all white and looking good. In addition, he smiled with his eyes.
What was happening to me? I tried hard to find something witty to say but suddenly, my tongue felt so dry and so once again I found myself just staring at him.
“You don’t talk much, do you?” he asked again.
“Please God, work with me here or I will end up boring this man,” once again I went back to my silent prayers.
“My name is Mike, and you are?”
“Monica…I am Monica,” I replied feeling very proud of myself. At least my voice was back.
“So who do you know between the bride and the groom?” I asked him. My voice sounded alien to me. What was wrong with me!
“Actually no one, I was just driving by when I heard all the noise and decided to check it out. I am glad I did, the food was great and free,” he said looking so serious.
I was tongue-tied and my heart dropped. How did I end up with a gate crusher? He could be anyone, a stalker, a mad man, oh boy! This wasn’t going well.
“I am just messing with you,” he added again much to my relief.
Mh, he was a funny man.
“The groom is my workmate.”
We spoke for a little while. He was funny and interesting. I found out that he worked in an IT company, a smart man. I also found out that he worshipped in one of the Baptist churches in my area. The fact that he was a Christian was a definite plus. We spoke and laughed the night away. Soon, the music stopped, the guests started leaving but Mike and I stayed behind and talked the night away.
We talked about our childhoods, careers and goals. Talking to Mike felt like talking to an old friend. It was fun and easy. We realized that we liked the same old movies, country music and art. We talked about our families and friends.
The sun came up but Mike and I still kept talking. It was almost like we were making up for lost time. I had never before anyone who made me laugh with so much ease. He made me feel comfortable and once again, I silently thanked God for bring him my way.
I’ll never forget that night and tonight, it’s on my mind again. A year later,I am at another wedding. I can see the bridesmaids at the dance floor once again; they always seem to have so much fun. Not many people can tell just how tired they get from all the running around they do for the bride. Seeing them dancing and laughing at the evening party, you just can’t tell how their feet hurt from standing for hours. You also can’t tell just how sleep deprived they are from waking up too early. These are things that I can tell though because I have been a bridesmaid so many times.
I look at their table and notice that one of the maids is still seated. However, there is a young man with her. This brings a smile to my face as I silently send her good wishes. I wonder if she is in the same situation that I was in a year ago, looking, praying and hoping for love. God sending a wonderful man my way just when I least expected it. This is what had brought back the memories of the night when I met Mike.
The music changes and the band start playing a slow tune. I know this part. It is a part that I had always dreaded. It’s the part that had always reminded me of just how alone I was. However, it’s also a time that a part of me likes since it allows me to watch other people in love, especially the older couples.
“We would now like to invite the bride and groom to have their first dance,” I heard the announcement.
“That is us babe,” I hear him say.
I turn around and looked at my husband Mike. Husband, I like that term. We have been married just a few hours but I like calling him my husband. Still, as handsome as he was on that night that we met. A year had gone by, I had been a bridesmaid twice during that period but tonight I am the bride. Tonight, I get to be the happiest woman in the world.