The setting sun peaks over her head, christening the top of the veil with yellow light. A soft, warm glow falls through the gentle lace; my eyes water at her undeniable beauty. Angelina’s skin looks like smooth caramel and I’d bet her pink lips taste like it too. She walks down the flowered aisle, calculated steps slowly falling into a rhythmic pattern along with the cliched song playing for her arrival. A slow stride and nervous expression, it almost reminds me of…
The sun makes it hard to see Sid, but I doubt he looks much different from all the other times he’s worn a tux. Besides, I’m the one that’s walking right now- I need to focus.
… that very first week we had moved in together. So many things to decide and pictures to hang. The fridge was in dire need of a restocking so Angie wanted to run out to the grocery store. I’m not at all picky, but I was sure to remind her to get orange juice without pulp in it. I hate the stringy little buggers that nestle into the cracks between your teeth, and the unnaturally large gulps you have to take to avoid them. “Smooth orange juice without pulp, please,” I said. Barely even batting an eye before brushing me off, she assured me she already knew.
But when she came back from grocery shopping, leaving me to unpack the boxes, she did that walk through the door. Nervous, calculated steps as if dreading what came at their end. Angie told me the orange juice was too expensive to buy two of and out of habit she picked up pulp instead. I nodded and silently wondered how both statements could be true. It’s been three years since I’ve had real pulp-free orange juice. The strainer works fine I guess, but there’s always a few stragglers that slip into my glass; I take big gulps.
I can see Sid’s face clearly now and he’s staring right through me. His cloudy brown eyes are on me- but they’re not. He must be trying to cope with all his emotions, I think to myself. Slowly his eyes rise to meet mine and he gives me a soft smile; quietly, I exhale my nerves. Always gentle and kind, Sid is, without the condescending connotation, soft. Just a benevolent and complaisant boy; two of my favorite things about him. Never saying no, Sid always lets me have the final say in decisions. From something as simple as the type of orange juice we buy to the birthday I spent with friends, he never gets mad or says no to me- ever. And I’ll have to admit, I haven’t always been the best fiancee, but I’m happy. I’m happy, he loves me, and that’s all that matters… Right?
As her distance to the podium decreases my heart starts to beat faster. My brain is all cloudy and my thoughts all jumbled, yet it becomes cynically clear to me that the only thing I could relate to at this wedding was the long white cloth she has to walk all over to get to me. She had a bad habit of walking all over things.
It was her birthday and I had a plan. Making sure to tell her to come home right after work this morning, I sent her off with a kiss. I even took a half day at work in order to make sure everything turned out perfect. Ready to use the knowledge I had acquired from a four day cooking class, I began to make her favorites: steak, potatoes, and creme brulee. Angie was going to love it. But six o’clock went and passed, as did seven, and then eight; by nine I had fallen asleep waiting for a girl who wasn’t coming home. The rose I had set on the dinner table was wilted, as was I on the arm of the couch.
My phone shined brightly into my eyes, harshly letting me know it was two o’clock, and that she hadn’t texted me back. This was a lost cause so I sullenly climbed into bed. I wondered if it was normal to not have been worried that she wasn’t home yet. When she did things like this it no longer made me anxious and distraught, instead it lit a fire inside my stomach. A hot, searing fire that no matter how much she would try to make up for in the morning, wouldn’t get put out. It burns my love for her and burns my undeniable want to give her my best; and sadly, it burns me too.
When I awoke the next morning Angie still wasn’t home. Not until nearly eight-thirty did she finally stumble in the door. Holding her shoes, blackened feet dirtying the floor, she looked at me warily.
“Good morning,” she dragged out cautiously, as if testing the water that is my emotions before jumping in. I look at her from over the top of my coffee mug, disinterested to say the least.
“Good morning.” Excuses and I’m sorrys began spewing from her mendacious lips, but I am too tired to sort through another pile of crap. “Stop,” I interrupted, “I’m not upset and you’re not sorry. You went out with your friends because you wanted to. If you wanted to be here with me last night you would’ve been.”
“No, Sid, you don’t understand, I-”
“-You would’ve been here.” She shrank back like the truth burned her, and I wonder if she could feel the fire too.
Angie’s silvery heels and long flowing dress drag down the aisle behind her. But her steps are no longer delicate and elegant, her hair looks more messy than curly, and the sun behind her hurts my eyes; I look away.
Even though I’m walking toward him I can feel Sid getting more distant. His eyes fall to the ground and mine quickly follow. What is he thinking about? A million things run through my head, but one thought stands out amongst all the turmoil; I’m glad he doesn’t know.
It was late on a Thursday night and Josie had messaged me; said she needed a best friend’s advice because she had “screwed up big time”. I was completely unphased by her hysterical texts. She had “screwed up big time” at least once a week for the past seven years I’ve known her. One time it was that she had accidentally put her boyfriend’s white shirt in with the colored clothes, so I was ready for tonight's spectacle of melodramatics. Grabbing a freshly washed basket of clothes, I walked to my room and dumped them on my bed to begin folding them. I dialed her number, but was answered with no greeting.
“I- I don’t know how to tell you this,” she breathed out frantically through speaker phone.
“Josie,” I say knowingly, “I’m sure whatever you’re so freaked out about will either blow over before you know it, or at worst it’s like a Level 3 fuck up, so you’re fine. Honestly, don’t sweat it,” I stated, calmly tossing a shirt into the beginnings of a neatly folded pile.
“I cheated,” she blurted out.
“Uhg, don’t make me say it again. I cheated, alright? I cheated on Matt.” Her voice quivers and I’m left speechless. I pick up the phone and take her off speaker, pressing it to my ear.
“You cheated on him?” I squeaked in disbelief.
“Yes, yes, I know it’s awful, I know. I just don’t know what came over me! We hadn’t been happy for weeks and I was so upset. Our fighting even had him sleeping on the couch for a few nights. He makes me happier than I’ve ever been before, and I know if I tell him this now he’ll lose it! I’m terrified Angie; I don’t want to lose him. Matt is the love of my life. I just, I fucked up so, so bad. Tell me what to do Angie,” she rambled. It is silent. Through pathetic cries she begs, “Please, tell me what to do.”
Twisting a fraying string on the mattress around my finger, I gulp, “Even though every bone in my body is telling me not to, I’m going to tell you this- okay?”
“Okay… What?” Breathing in deeply I relish in the feeling of my secret being completely safe for a few seconds longer.
“I cheated on Sid.” No emotion, no slight hint of feelings. The only way to hide a secret is to take away its emotional bearing- and I was a very apologetic pro.
“Wait, you… Really?” disbelief evident in her voice.
“Yes.” Our rough patch had been similar to theirs so I explained that she should do what she thought was best for their relationship; I did what I thought was best for Sid and I’s.
Still now I believe I did the right thing for our relationship. I could never be sure of his reaction, but it would have destroyed so much of his trust in me that our relationship would have crumbled. Now more than ever I know that this is what I want. I have grown into a better person because of him and can’t wait to blossom even more. My heart belongs to him, and although I was definitely not a perfect fiancee, I know that I will put my all into being his perfect wife.
It was a Thursday night and I had gotten home one day early from a business trip. Just incase Angie had fallen asleep, I entered quietly. Walking up to our bedroom door I heard an interesting conversation and, although possibly immoral, listened in.
“I- I don’t know how to tell you this.” Ah that must be Josie, I think to myself. “I cheated,” she blurts. What?!
“What?” asks Angie, disbelief evident in her voice. What an awful thing to do to someone. I like Matt too; the poor guy is gonna feel terrible when he finds out. I wonder if Angie will stay friends with Josie now. I doubt it considering that Angie isn’t the kind of person to surround herself with bad people.
“Even though every bone in my body is telling me not to, I’m going to tell you this- okay?” Huh?
“Okay… What?” Josie queries, hungry for the answer. And I have to admit, I am too.
“I cheated on Sid.” My head snaps away from the door and my heart plummets to my feet. Noiselessly I walk down the stairs and out the door, texting Angie to let her know my business trip got extended until Sunday. I never speak a word on the subject; I’m better at keeping a secret than her.
I’m still looking down, but now her shoes are in my view; she has made it to the podium.
His head begins to raise as I finally step in front of him. Smiling, I look into Sid’s golden-brown eyes and see fireworks. This is it.
This is the moment I’ve been waiting for and the only thing I want right now is some floss so I can get this goddamn piece of pulp out from between my teeth.
I couldn’t be happier.
I am standing next to my fiancee in a room full of people that I have complete and utter adoration for, and I’ve never felt more alone.
I long to feel true happiness in the comfort of his embrace, as he will feel in the comfort of mine. This is love- how did I not feel it so truly before?
I look down the aisle and feel sorry for the long white cloth; it doesn’t have the power that I do. Angelina smiles faintly and squeezes her bouquet of white roses; my stomach is being singed from the inside out. The pastor begins to open his book.
“Now, shall we begin?”
Angie beams, “Yes.”
“This is it,” I smile, orange pulp forever stuck in my teeth.