I was softly nestled in the folds of her white as snow duvet, while she applied her make up. I was just as excited as she. Mine had spilled onto my face to create a brimming smile, but hers had expressed itself through blusher, eye shadow and, not out of place with the rest of her make up; heavily smothered lips in scarlet lipstick. She caught my expression and I let myself giggle.
“I look awful don’t I?”
I shook my head still bearing my smile.
“You look great, but you could use a little less make up otherwise you might find he confuses you with a circus clown.”
The gap between her eyebrows quickly lessened revealing a frown and turned to grab a wet wipe once again revealing her natural beauty. She was sat in her underwear; having decided that there really was nothing that she could wear that would be good enough. I tried to convince her that whatever she wore would be good enough for even the best man in the world, and that’s when she replied that he is. I had forgotten how long she had waited for this, like a fair maiden in a fairytale; waiting to hear the chink of his shining armour. I just hoped he would live up to it all, and be able to climb to the tallest tower.
I smiled again, but less certainly, climbing out from under her duvet and straightened up my skirt before walking over to her window. I saw the knight walking down the path from his noble steed; it was a citreon with three doors.
“I’m not even ready, what am I going to do?”
“Relax it’ll be good to make him wait. Besides I’m sure your Dad has some questions for him.” I sniggered at the concept as did she. We had laughed previously at how our fathers seemed to replicate movies and television to create personas of protective fathers. They interrogated the boyfriend not because they felt the need to, but because TV did it. Right on cue we heard her father answer the door and a pause before her fired a question at Bill’s introduction.
I headed to her wardrobe as she lightly brushed on her make up, making a good job of it this time, even though her hand was shaking at the proximity of her date. After placing her outfit-to-be on the crumpled duvet, I applied the mascara, which was made much harder by her deep breaths and constant blushing.
When she was ready she turned to face me, we smiled knowing she was ready. She waltzed down the stairs in bright red high heels, poking out the bottom of the denim hems of her jeans. Her father’s voice went quiet, and the door closed.
I straightened my bow tie, stroked my stubble and told my best man to leave the door closed behind him; this time I needed to myself. Looking in the mirror I tried spurring myself on, a little coaching from the sidelines.
“C’mon Will, be ready.”
Even as I said these words I already knew that what lay before me was something that I could simply not be ready for, just as I was not ready for the past. What started out as just a fling with another girl from high school had taken a wrong turning, ever since the pregnancy. By the time I found out, it was too late to abort. She had kept it secret from me all summer, while I had been away. When I returned, I encountered hard responsibility, the type that only comes with a swollen stomach.
I stroked my chin again, looking at myself. There had been no time for vanity in the recent months. It was a year ago that I first swaggered down her path and now I have to go down the aisle. Her father mentioned responsibility when I met him, trying to seem like he had reason and intimidation on his side, but he came across as a joke, and as a result that’s what I viewed her to be.
I cannot let these thoughts dirty my wedding day. My thoughts must be my aid, cold feet is just an ordinary occurrence on wedding days for the groom, as natural as breathing. I love her and that’s that. I must do; we have a child together, we have our whole lives ahead of us and this is our chance to live it. This is the right thing to do. I smiled warily at myself, the weariness in my eyes appearing to slowly dissolving into the background of my face, the edges of my lips curling up and pronouncing the dimples in my cheeks. I must be a good parent, and in order to do that I must be a husband.
Outside the cry of a young child crept under the closed door.
I sat solemnly at her bedside. The room stood glumly around me as my mother lay, appearing to be asleep, but her eyes flickered with mad, perilous thoughts. Her hair was silvery and wild, with her skin; wrinkled and sagging from the contours of her face. We did not speak.
While her eyes met nothing I stared at the photo of her wedding day. I was being held in her arms, no more than four months old, as my father held her. He bore light stubble and shadowed good looks with a half curled smile fashioned upon his expression. Every time I had regarded this photo I always saw his eyes, which stood out most predominantly. They spoke of fear, and uncertainty, even though my mother said they spoke of his love.
Few of my memories include him, other than ones that seem to be made up by corners of my mind that wish he had been a part of my life. It would be the times that matter that he would not be there for, but the contradiction is that they would not matter without him. My mother says he was loyal and loving and I try to believe this was true.