Sunday, April 14, 2013

TO LOVE AND TO CHERISH

"Does anyone have a reason why these two should not be joined in holy matrimony?"

My heart skipped a beat. Was this question really necessary? I winced. The instant silence that pervaded the massive enclosure was frustrating. I suppressed the urge to let out a sneeze. Even a rattling chair or a dropping coin would have punctured the silence considerably. Really, I could do without the attention.

"Speak now or forever remain silent!" the bald and bespectacled Reverend Father finished.

The discomfort I was feeling increased a tad. I hoped my sudden change
in countenance wasn't obvious to the rest of the people in the massive Cathedral. Screw them! I decided. What if it was obvious? Would that change anything? I slowly allowed my gaze wander a few paces to my left and for a second, the old clergyman's eyes and mine met. He smiled at me warmly before turning his attention to the congregation before him. I shivered! Why had the priest smiled at me in such manner? It hadn't been just a casual smile, I was sure of that! It was a 'knowing' smile, a smile that meant something. Perhaps, the old man could actually read my mind and he knew what was going on in it. Perhaps, that 'smile' had meant "Beat it loser! You lost."

What? Had I actually lost? Hell no! As it were, the ball was still in my court. I still had the cards and the dealer's hand. My eyes continued their slow travel and settled on Mike. He must have felt me staring as he tilted his head in my direction. Our gazes held for a moment and he smiled too before quickly averting his gaze and focusing on the clergyman in front of us. There had been something different about Mike's smile. It had been nervous and forced; totally unlike Reverend Flynn's. I had sensed the insecurity in his smile and I knew why it was so. At that moment, I had the power to alter the entire course of the day and Mike knew this too. I considered what it would mean if I decided to use my powers at that moment.

"Yes, I have a reason!" I spoke out, loud enough for every single ear of the hundred or more people sitting in the pews to capture. Suddenly, there was pandemonium. The seeming graveyard became an instant market place. Mike's knees went weak and for a second, he looked like he was standing on wobbling legs. Reverend Flynn's grey moustache looked as though it would crawl up his nose with the frown that contorted his face. I wondered what the confusion was all about. The clergyman had asked a question and all I had done was respond. I had a reason why I thought the couple should not get married after all, so what the hell was wrong with everyone?

It was while I assessed the situation that I noticed the old man who had led the bride to the altar earlier in the service. He looked as though he would drop dead any minute. The look on his face was that of pain, heartbreak and despair. As our eyes met, the tears flowed down his face. I could tell that the old man would never remain the same again. I turned away from him and almost immediately observed the small crowd around me. Mike, the priest and some others had gathered around someone. The heartbroken old man hurriedly made his way to the front. I moved closer and realized the bride had fainted and the people around were making attempts to revive her. My heart went out to my father and my sister.

I shook as I felt a nudge on my shoulder. It was Mike and that was his way of silently telling me to focus. He smiled again and I smiled back. My smile was not borne out of affection for him but from the events that had just taken place in my heart moments ago. No, I couldn't ruin my sister's wedding day or break my father's heart because of my selfishness. I had to let it go. I realized I would have to live with the fact that my best friend was marrying my sister and yet there I stood with him as his best man! The thought made me cringe with revulsion like it had always made me feel right from the very first day Mike told me he loved my sister.

It all felt just like yesterday . . .

TO BE CONTINUED

Hey y'all. Please don't mind my disappearing acts. Unexplainable reasons but it feels good to be back. THE GEEBEE CHRONICLES would officially be on hold till further notice. I hope to explain why later. I shall be featuring a number of mini-series here indefinitely and I'll be glad to welcome you on board. You just read the first part of 'TO LOVE AND TO CHERISH'. Watch out for the next episode.

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