She Sits at Her Small Wooden Table

October 21, 2007
By Erin Brady, Cincinnati, OH

She sits at her small wooden table in her tiny one bedroom apartment. Vanessa picks up her pen and reaches for the pad of lined notebook paper. She pauses to think. A small smirk creeps onto her face as she begins writing the guest list. After about the 25th person, she glances down at her sparkling diamond engagement ring and smiles again. After the list is complete she begins to fill out the light blue wedding invitations. She carefully unravels the spools of ribbon and snips of dozens of 6 inch pieces to weave through the holes in the invitations.

The big day is approaching in less than three weeks. She stares out the window as she imagines her magical wedding day.
Her fantasy is interrupted by the squeak of the front door. Her king, her knight in shining armor is finally home. She greets him with a gentle hug and a kiss on the lips. Vanessa begins to explain her excitement to her fiancé as she pours him a glass of red wine.

Vanessa sits in her dressing room three weeks later, primping and powdering as the church fills with anxious friends and family. She fastens the clasp on the chain of pearls around her neck. She steps back and stares at herself in the mirror. Her long ivory white dress sprinkled with tiny beads and sequins fits close to her slim figure. Her lace veil is wedged into the mound of honey brown curls on top of her head.

Her father walks her down the isle as the familiar faces greet her with smiles and tears of happiness. Vanessa spots her husband toward the alter down the never-ending red carpet. They stand face to face, hand in hand as the priest begins the ceremony. When he gets to the part of the “I Do’s”, Vanessa’s fiancé stares at her with empty, unhappy eyes. She grows nervous, her palms start to sweat. He whispers into her ear, “I’m sorry, I don’t love you.” Her heart drops into her stomach. She opens her mouth but no words come out. She is mute and the church is silent. The only sound to be heard was the band of crickets lingering outside the church doors. Tears fill her big blue eyes and sadness swallows her body. She runs to the end of the isle, throwing her bouquet of flowers to the ground. “How humiliated could she feel?” everyone wondered. Vanessa felt her life crumbling like the fragile bricks of an ancient building after a tragic earthquake. She asked herself, “What now?”

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