That moment on the most magical day of a woman’s life; her wedding. That moment when you’re left alone to stand in the solid silence, gaze at the pristine version of yourself in the mirror and pretend to be proud, pretend that the duplicate of yourself is who you wanted to be. I look… perfect. Too perfect. Not a hair out of place as it cascades down my back in loose curls, so much hairspray that I feel as though I could choke to my death at any moment. My eyes I am sure will catch James as I walk down the aisle, purely from the makeup that damn makeup artist insisted on putting upon me. Yes, I’m sure I do look goddess like, but no-body listened when I said I wanted to look like me. I always wanted to look natural on my wedding day, natural, fresh, innocent; almost the way I looked when me and James first met. Slightly wild and careless, but that was what bought us together. Today I look, like a doll.
He wants to give me the dream that he believes each young girl had formed in her mind before she even knew it was there, but that wasn’t what I had known. With all my heart I love James, I feel my heart bulging to ten times it’s size when he stands in front of me, the feeling of ease when he teases my hair from my face, whilst his tired fingers trace their way down my neck to rest his palm against my steady heartbeat. He knows that it beats only for him. This is my second chance at the life I had longed for as a child; a second chance at a life bursting with love and more freedom than anyone could wish for. James is willing to give that, and more. As a child, I, I always had something wrong, something that would stop me from swinging so high on the swings that I jump off, and throw up in the nearby bush like the other kids; something that would restrict me from running so fast that all I can feel is the wind whipping through my hair and piercing my skin, until the world blurs into one until all you can see is colours. Instead, I had the never-ending feeling of being constricted to the four walls of my room, the hospital, and the wheelchair. I was never told what was wrong with me, until only a month ago.
Sometimes secrecy is the option that restricts pain to only one person, takes that burden on alone so other’s don’t carry the hurt of feeling it too. That’s what I’m doing. In making this decision, I can ensure that the start of our life together, on the start of the winding road of marriage, we both get what we’ve dreamed of. A family and love. If I tell the truth, I’ll only get treated differently, be talked too as through I’m the frail china doll that people are afraid will break. I don’t want to be treated like that, I want people to know me, and not the illness.
This is almost the beginning of my final chapter; I couldn’t find anyone better to start it with.
* * **
Honestly, I had no idea how nerve-racking it would be waiting for my fiancée to walk towards me. I mean, we see each other ever day, so you wouldn’t think that waiting for her would be such an ordeal; but it was. Every eye in the church felt as though it was burning through me, and increasing my fears and doubts that Rose may not even walk through the door, that the truth of the matter was that I wasn’t good enough for her. I never wanted to be her ‘prince charming’, I wanted nothing more than to be near her. To touch her, see her, love her. I never tried to fool myself that I would ever be good enough to be considered her knight in shining armour. We were just two people who happened to stumble across each other, make the other smile, learn and see things we never thought were possible, and I was blessed enough for her to say she loved me. She loves me. It still baffles me that the day I can finally declare my love for Rose for everyone to see is here. The beginning of our thunderous life as a married couple I’m sure!
Without me realising the weight of everyone’s eyes on me were lifted, only to be replaced with the beauty of my wife to be in front of me. There were no words to describe how utterly breathtaking she looked, her ocean blue, doubtless doe eyes bore into me and made my soul smile. Her wedding dress only accentuated the beauty she already held, it fell gracefully to the floor, the material flowed against her body beautifully, with delicate lace detail across her bust. It showed everything I loved about this woman to the maximum, and her bright smile accompanied the ensemble with a flourish. Except, it also showed things I honestly hadn’t noticed about Rose before now. Alarmingly her collar bone jutted out a lot more than I realised before, and as she reached out her hand for mine, the arms of hers I thought gracious before, now looked almost skeleton like. Glowing; her face used to glow. But, as she smiled questionably at me waiting for me to take her hand, I noticed the strain on her neck as whispered to me, her left eyelid drooping unexpectedly, her legs beginning to noticeably tremble beneath the folds of material. But why, why couldn’t I hear what she was trying to tell me? Why wasn’t I reaching out for her the way I wanted too?
The silence was deafening. I was terrified.
She was frozen, falling through time, falling only so I could catch her. We should have been embracing each other fervently with fire blazing in our eyes; a smile scorching my lips as I scanned her face for the look that only I knew, her look of contentment as our lips locked together, as we sealed our life as man and wife.
But this was not the glimpse of heaven and hope I had yearned for. This was the image of hell I had longed to postpone.
Only I heard it. Just for that one moment, she reached out for me. Not a physical feat that could have been seen by the other guests; this was an act of love for only me. An act of love to signify the end.
Cradling her in my arms I wished with all my might to be her prince charming, to revive her as it is in fairy tales. Almost like our fist kiss as teenagers I fitted her limp body closer to mine, trying to transfer my body heat to hers and make her warm again; like I did the first night when I realised how pure she was, I held her as close as I could until she grew hot and stopped trembling. It was not the same now. It was her eyes. They weren’t boring into mine like they’re meant too, they were glassy and glazed over… blank.
‘No…’ I whispered in her hear, willing her to wake. Smoothing her fiery red hair away from her deathly pale face, I traced my shaking fingers along her lips for the last time, shutting her eyes as I did so. I bent my head down to hers, and placed my longing lips onto my wife’s, placing a kiss so gentle it shattered me to my core onto her lips, praying that the kiss of life will save her.
For that split second my Rose’s eyelids flickered open, looked me directly in the eye, and whispered ‘I do. Oh God, I do.’