I wrote this for an old prompt and realized I never posted it!
“I, Victoria, take you Paul, to be my husband. To have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; until death do us part.”
My husband stood next to me in a crisp black tuxedo with a baby blue tie on. His dark brown hair was recently cut and parted to the left. His brown eyes crinkled in a smile making his freckles dance and I knew that this was genuinely the happiest he ever felt. I smiled back as I looked into the face of the person I loved, my best friend. Icy blue eyes, with bouncy blonde curls shaping a round, tanned face. The light green dress I chose, mostly because I knew how well it would compliment her, made her radiate with warmth and energy. I was in love with the most beautiful bridesmaid at my wedding.
Paul’s freckled cheek obscured my vision as he came in for the kiss, catching me completely off guard. I guess he said yes. If anything, my awkward unawareness must have made me look more endearing to the guests, because I heard a few aww’s and giggles from the first rows. I was a married woman now and it happened quicker than I thought it would.
It wasn’t a huge ceremony, and Paul and I walked out holding hands to the crowd of congratulations awaiting us. People threw rice in my face and I watched my mother, my two sisters, three of my aunts, and both grandmothers making the sign of the cross and muttering rapidly to themselves. My father reached me first with glossy eyes and a red nose.
“My little angel,” he cracked. “My girl.”
My eyes started a well up a little and I beamed at him. It reassured me to see how confident he was in the path I chose at least. “Oh, daddy.”
He hugged me and rested his head on my shoulder letting out a sigh. “God’s going to watch over you two. Ya’ll will be protected by our Lord.”
“Thanks, daddy. I know.”
I headed for the car with my new husband followed by a flock of female family members. We squished into a limousine, making the lavish space feel cramped and humid. My head swirled with southern accents and praise for Jesus while I watched one of my aunts as she finished up prayers on her Rosary beads. Sensing my growing anxiety, Paul squeezed my sweating hand. Unfortunately, it didn’t bring the desired comfort and only helped raise my heartbeat. I was looking for a smaller and less coarse hand to hold. The idea helped bring my anxiety to a more manageable level.
We arrived at the banquet hall where the reception would be held. Paul and I decided on having a modest wedding with our few close friends and family members. His family was on the small side while mine spanned halfway across Arkansas. Recently though a lot of relatives had discovered California and marijuana, leaving us with our bibles and a sour taste in our mouths.
We walked inside and my other, less publicized reason for never wanting to leave ran up to me, embracing me in a hug that I dreamt about. A wave of fresh flowers and warm vanilla sugar rushed up my noise and I held my breath to keep the scent captive.
“Oh my goodness, girl, you’re MARRIED!” She squeezed me tighter and my wedding finally made sense if it kept me at this moment for longer. “I’m gonna miss you so much!”
Fear gripped my heart as my moment was destroyed. “Miss me?” I said barely above a hoarse whisper.
“Of course!” she leaned back and her curls bounced with her. “Well now that you’s a married woman, we ain’t gonna be able to hang out as much! I sure will be lonely ‘round here. Heck, maybe I’ll move. I have some cousins over at California and boy, do they love it. Maybe I’ll make a visit out soon and see if I like it much!”
“Gina, don’t be insane, I’ll never leave you behind! I love you!” I felt like the words were coming out of mouth too quickly already and knew if I didn’t slow down now I might lose control and destroy a life or two. I took a deep breath to gather myself and steady my shaking hands.
“You know you’re my closest friend. I can’t just forget you since I have a husband now. That’s just plain crazy.”
Gina smiled and replied, “Well good, because I feel like I would just hate California. It’s so big, I can’t even imagine! I’d be so dang lost!”
We both laughed, and while I was preoccupied, my hand took the initiative that I was always too afraid to make. It found its way into the soft, warm sanctity of her small left hand and prepared itself for a long stay. Her laugh trailed off and her big blues looked into my boring brown eyes, and I recognized the fleeting look of another girl afraid to disobey God.