I have been avoiding writing this story. But this weeks prompt really got me thinking.
Religious ceremonies were part and parcel of me growing up. Always wearing white. Committing to something or someone. And of course some ceremonies invite a name change.
The first one I was involved in took place when I was too young to remember. Dressed in a white robe, water was poured on my head and I probably cried. All of a sudden I was initiated into a religion I had no understanding of and gained a few more prospective guardians to-boot.
At seven I put on a white dress and made my first holy communion and got to eat a bit of the body of Christ! Seemed cool but then I had to confess my sins. I didn’t know I had any.
At ten I became confirmed and acquired an extra name. A saints name. In the name of Jesus – I was his bride, in white, as I committed to the catholic church.
All that before I was even at big school! Which happened to be a convent, run by nuns wearing various styles of habit.
And of course there is that final time that we get to wear white, add or change our name and commit during a ceremony. Marriage.
It seems funny how I managed the first three but the forth time I cocked it up.
So lets go back to when I was young. I’d been dating Seb for almost a year and we decided to marry. I think I simply got swept up in the whole saga. Everybody being happy for you. Searching for the special dress. Deciding on whether to have a church wedding. Then there are the flowers and such like.
Now a-days I don’t recognise that young woman. She is so removed from who I am. I wanted Seb to be the one. I trusted him with my heart. And even though later in our relationship he really dug the knife in and twisted it – at the start he was very loving towards me. Yet deep down I knew, even as I said “yes,” that I should never have agreed to marry him.
Why? Well, I wasn’t at all sure I was over Vic.
Vic and I had been best friends from fourteen and then lovers in the truest sense of the word. We’d split up about 18mths prior and remained close. He had heard the wedding news from a friend and sent me a cassette tape of our songs. As soon as the music played memories flooded back of the times we’d spent and tears trickled down my cheeks.
I needed to see him face to face. We arranged to meet in a wine-bar. The following is what happened. Set in present tense, so you’re there with me…
Wine, words and reminiscing
Vic’s late. Why doesn’t that surprise me? I sip my wine and recall why we’d split up: I knew even if I’d remained faithful he was too weak-willed and easily lead for us to create a solid future. Two peas in a pod. So I had to move on. I needed to be grounded. Seb could do that.
“Sorry, gorgeous.” He sits down and his pale blue eyes twinkle in the dim light of the bar.
I forgive him. That has been the template of our friendship right from the start.
“Did you get the tape?” He asks.
“Yeah. Thank you. It made me cry.” I’d always been honest with him. I even told him when I cheated. It was just the once.
Reaching over he clasps my arm instinctively. My mouth becomes dry. Pulling away I take the last sip of my wine and hand him the glass.
“Another. To make up for you being late.” I command, my pulse quickening.
I watch him up at the bar. His long, dark corkscrew curls halfway down his back. Took him years to grow. The years he was with me.
My eyes begin to fill with water wondering if our relationship was meant to last and I’d got it wrong. Everyday I miss him and often marvel over the familiarity and bond we had – no have – between us.
He returns to the table with a bottle.
“It’s lunch time you know.” My words chastise him for being indulgent but my heart leaps because once again I get to enjoy his hedonism.
Ignoring my words he pours us both a large glass and we chat about fun times. Giggling. Every minute becoming a little more tipsy and high on thoughts of our past.
As I talk I throw my hands around, gesturing.
“I love your hands. So feminine. Such long fingers. And it’s great that you hardly wear any make up. I can see your skin.”
He’s comparing me to his girlfriend. She likes to wear heavy foundation. It makes me feel a little uncomfortable. Guilty. Should we be sitting here talking like this?
Leaving the table I search for the toilets at the end of the bar. The light’s very gloomy but I find the ladies and open the door.
Once inside I splash my face with cold water and comb my hair, telling the reflection in the mirror it will soon be time for us to go home – no matter how much she’s enjoying Vic’s company.
With a toss of my blond waves I exit the bathroom and turn into the corridor to head back to the tables.
Vic is waiting outside. He traps me up against the wall his body heavy against me. His hardness against my thigh.
Then, looking me directly in the eyes he exclaims,
“Never.. Never underestimate my love for you.”
Momentarily his lips are tasting mine and then as if it never happened he disappears and I’m alone, out of breath. Shock and elation cruise through my veins and I’m painfully aware I can no longer trust either of us without a chaperon. I have to leave right now.
Back at the table I gather my things when suddenly he appears, back from the men’s room.
I rescue my bag from the floor, down the last drop of wine and stammer,
“I’ve, eh… Got to go.”
He pulls me close for a hug and I melt…
Two weeks before the planned wedding date I cancelled. But stayed in a relationship with Seb.
Vic and I mis-behaved now and then but never got back together. I still love him dearly as a friend. The choices I made that summer led me to where I am today.