Strong waves pounded the dark sand just a few yards away. Hidden by beach grass, we embraced, relieved to finally escape our wedding guests. Mark's poetic whispers suddenly ceased as he leaned back, and said, "There's something I need to tell you..."
I wasn't surprised, my heart didn't even stutter a beat. For the past year I had run from the nagging doubt in my head. Every day, going along my merry way, letting myself be consumed with the fine details of the wedding; planning napkin colors to coordinate with bride's maids dresses and picking flowers for centerpieces. I didn't want to let go of the blissful bubble I had created for myself.
I pressed my finger against his lips to silence him, "Shhh, not now, Mark. Let's just hold on to this moment a little longer."
His brow knotted with confusion but he acquiesced and granted me the comfortable silence. Wrapping my arms around his neck I pulled him down to me for a soft kiss, lingering just long enough to imprint into my memory the feel of his lips moulded with mine.
I grabbed his hand, leading him back toward our guests and the party burgeoning in our honor. "C'mon, let's not keep our guests waiting, they do, after all, expect to see the bride and groom at some point."
"But..." He pulled me to him with a gentle tug.
"Mark, please, let me have this one perfect day."
I would have expected to be weak-kneed and somber, but I traversed the terrain sure footed, appreciating the solid ground beneath my feet. Mark was a wonderful gift to my life and if he was going to leave I would not mourn him while he was still with me, rather, I would celebrate every moment he was mine.
We arrived in the banquet room to thunderous applause and a round of whoops and whistles. The wall of windows filtered the summer sun and set rainbow prisms bouncing off of the edges of fine china and highly polished silverware. Dinner was served, leaving only the low din of chatting voices and the clinking of utensils against plates to be heard. Entree followed appetizer and dessert followed entree, all delicious, all flawless. I could barely keep the smile off of my face long enough to chew.
Mark leaned over to me and whispered, "Keri, I really need to tell you something."
"Not now," I replied. Didn't he see, couldn't he understand? This was the pinnacle of my happiness, here, now, with the love of my life. Why did he insist on trying to ruin it with reality? Reality could wait twelve more hours.
Plates were cleared and champagne glasses were filled while the whimsical notes of jazz songs from days gone by floated through the room. Couples, both new and well worn, shuffled around the glossy tiles of the dance floor. Mark began to fidget and a bead of sweat at formed at his temples. Was it really that difficult for him to see this through to the end? Just as Mark swiveled to face me, a look of urgency pained across his features, tinkling started from a far corner of the room. The chiming grew and grew, swirling around us, urgent and pressing.
"Keri, now, I have to tell you now!" His plea was desperate and slightly panicked.
I smiled my biggest tooth-filled grin, "Mark, they expect us to kiss. Let's give 'em a show." I kissed him with all the passion and love that we had cultivated over the past four years. I owed it to him to give him the honesty of my heart. I owed it to myself.
He pulled away shaking off the flecks of lust that were speckled throughout his eyes, but even that rejection didn't make me crack. The DJ blew a low whistle through the microphone and adeptly transitioned into a new song. "Ladies and gentleman, I would now ask that you clear the floor for our new bride and groom for their first dance."
What was this song? This wasn't the song Mark and I had picked! Weeks, no, months were spent agonizing over our first dance as husband and wife. If Mark had looked nervous before he was positively unglued now.
"Keri, I tried to tell you. I'm so sorry! I, just, I forgot to email the DJ the list of songs and today, before the reception, when he asked what we wanted our first dance to be I panicked and said, well, I said this one."
"But I hate this song? I hate this band!" I blurted out in a mixture of relief and disgust. Mark's face crumbled and I dissolved into a fit of laughter.
I rushed with him to the dance floor and immediately began to sing along to one of my all time most despised songs, while my heart overflowed with gratitude and love.
"Oh, my dear, sweet husband, how did I ever get so lucky? You are undoubtedly the man of my dreams." I looked up into his apologetic eyes as we circled around and around to the melancholy tune.
"I ruined our wedding."
"On the contrary, my love, you made it perfect."