Thorn Amidst Joy

Written by Miss Smiley


“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today…”

I zone out, feeling Heath’s eyes on the back of my neck. Why is he here? I sigh inwardly and wish I was anywhere but standing where I am.

I told him not to come. I begged him not to come. He begged me not to come. But by God, I promised. I took David’s ring and I gave him my hand and my word. I love him. I know I love him, just as I know I could never love anyone else more. He is my whole world and I adore him.

But for that one week…

I block out the little voice in my head that keeps telling me it’s not too late. Because it is. It was too late the moment David proposed and I said yes. It was too late the moment I fell into bed with him and gave him everything. And it is far, far too late for Heath to come swaggering in and sweep me away, no matter how much I ache for his touch. For God’s sake, is my word worth nothing? I promised. I swore.

And I ache.

“If any man should have just cause against this union, let him speak now.”

My stomach latches onto my ribs and I hope against hope that Heath will and won’t say anything. I am torn. I am a mess. If he speaks, I know I will fall. If I crumble, I know he will speak. If I turn, we will both fall.

I will be strong. I promised. My word is my troth.

I glance over at David. He glances at me. We both smile, hanging in the balance. My gaze falls on the little twist that his lip forms when he’s just about to laugh and it makes my heart ache. I want to be married to him already. These moments are too long and too short all at once.

Someone clears their throat behind me, breaking in on our peace and I pray, for the first time in years, that it isn’t Heath. Let it pass. Let it be.

The moment passes. All is well. And all is ruined. The ring slips onto my finger easily and I smile at David. Something swells in my chest, grabbing at my heart. Is it joy? Is it grief?

No matter. I will be faithful. I will be true.

We sign the paper. I am married. We are married.

All is joy.

All is loss.


This Half Hour Challenge piece was written on behalf of February’s theme, Fanning the Flames. And we believe Miss Smiley has pitched it just right. As a sore reminder of a past lover at a wedding ceremony, those fleeting moments where all appears to be lost, and then the wild blow never hits. It was no movie moment here, perhaps the narrator of the story is Cathy from Wuthering Heights, torn between the feisty, wayward Heathcliff and the English gentleman, Edgar. Either way, we love it. If you enjoyed reading Miss Smiley’s HHC, you can view some of her other works such as, “There will be Tea” and “The Bells of Campden”.  

Featured Image CC // Cristi Sebastien Photography

 

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