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The First Day of Forever
Today was the day. I opened my eyes to the bright sunlight pouring through my window. My heart jumped into my throat. It was actually happening! I looked around the room that I had called mine since I was six years old. The walls had received a fresh coat of butter yellow paint, and the bedspread had changed since the last time I had stayed here, but the white pine furniture and the dainty lace curtains framing the window remained the same. The newest addition was a long white gown hanging on my closet door. I couldn’t believe that I was leaving for good this time. In a mere few hours I would begin my new life with the man that I loved more than any other person, place, or thing on earth. He was my Knight in shining armor who rode in on his beautiful white stallion and swept me off my feet. He was the air I breathed and the sunlight on my skin. He was everything to me.
There was a soft knock on my door. “Come in!” I called softly.
“Madelyn Grace! You’re getting married in five hours and you’re still in bed?” my mother said in mock outrage. I looked at my alarm clock and was shocked to see that it was already eight o’clock in the morning.
“Oh my goodness!” I exclaimed. Mama laughed at me and beckoned me into her embrace. I threw back my covers and crawled out of bed, hopping lightly onto the cool pine floor. I ran into my mothers waiting arms and enfolded myself in her arms. For a moment I could almost have been a little girl again.
“That’s my big girl. I can’t believe how grown up you are!” her voice cracked and she gave a little sniffle. I looked up into her face just in time to see her eyes fill with tears. She blinked and one escaped her eye, sliding down her cheek. I reached up and wiped it away before kissing her softly. How I loved this strong, beautiful woman. I didn’t know what I would do without her. Granted, I had been living on my own for a while now anyways, but I always came home eventually. This little yellow room always waited here for me, with the covers turned back and the lace curtains opened so that I could see the sun. Seeing my mother’s tears made me realize that this was it. My life would never be the same again. I would never come back to this room and be little Madelyn who grew up here. This was the room where I had passed many milestones in my life; from being scared of the dark, to packing up to go to college. Now I would be starting my own family, and having my own children. I would watch them grow up and go through the same things I went through.
“Mama, don’t cry. I’m still here for a while. Ben and I aren’t going anywhere!” I said trying to comfort her. “There’ll be plenty of time for crying after the wedding.” I winked at her and she cracked a smile.
“You’re right. Let’s get ready. You have a hair appointment in an hour and a half!”
I sighed. The craziness would begin now.
Mama and I went to the hair salon where I spent two stressful hours getting my long medium brown hair curled to perfection and pinned up in an elegant updo with half of it cascading over my right shoulder. When the stylist finally finished, I looked at the clock in horror.
“Mama! It’s ten-thirty! The wedding starts in two and a half hours!” I stood up from the salon chair too quickly and almost lost my balance. Mama grabbed my arm and steadied me.
“Sweetheart, relax. It’s going to be fine. We’re going to go home, and Alice, Natalie and Mia are going to help you get ready,” she said calmly. Despite her peaceful demeanor, I could see lines of stress mar her beautiful, still young looking, face. We hurriedly paid the stylist, thanked her, and dashed to the car.
When we finally arrived at home, I sprinted up to my room where my three best friends and bridesmaids waited for me. I opened the door to a cacophony of squeals and Oh’s and Ah’s.
“Maddie, you look beautiful!” Natalie said coming over to give me a squeeze. She steered me over to my desk chair, which had been turned so that it was facing away from the desk. On the actual desk sat what looked like the entire cosmetics section of the local drug store. “Sit,” she commanded me.
I sat. And stayed seated for the next half hour while the three girls worked over me, transforming my face.
“Done!” said Mia finally.
“Take a look,” said Alice, handing me a small hand mirror. I looked into the mirror and was surprised by the person that stared back at me. It was me, but at the same time it wasn’t. The person in the mirror was beautiful, almost painfully so. Her blue eyes were huge and sparkling. Her lips were a natural peachy pink, and her fair skin had a rosy glow. I couldn’t believe that it was me!
The girls laughed at my expression in delight. “Well what do you think?” Natalie asked me.
I just looked at her, speechless, for several moments. When I finally got my voice back I said, “Is this really me?”
Natalie leaned down and hugged me long and hard. “Congratulations, Madelyn,” she whispered. “I can’t believe you’re leaving us now!” Her voice cracked and I could feel my eyes stinging.
“Natalie!” Alice exclaimed. “Don’t make her cry! We just did her makeup! Are you crazy?” Natalie and I laughed, as we both stood up and wiped under our eyes quickly.
The next hour passed in a blur. The flowers were delivered, late of course, and the chairs were set up in the backyard for the ceremony. I wasn’t allowed out of my room, but I was told that everything looked gorgeous.
Before I knew it, it was time to get dressed. Mama, Alice, Natalie, and Mia pulled me to my feet. I was in a daze. It was here. The moment I’d been waiting for my entire life.
“Here we go,” Mama said, and took a deep breath. I closed my eyes as the four of them took my white gown off its hanger and pulled it over my head, being careful not to let it touch my hair. I squeezed my eyes shut and felt the gentle tug of the fabric on my skin as it was done up. Finally, I felt myself being steered in front of my full-length mirror. The dress swished and swayed around my feet as I moved.
“Alright, honey. Open your eyes!” I opened my eyes to see a creature from another world. Now I really didn’t look like me. I gasped.
“It’s beautiful! Oh Mama! Thank you!” I hugged her tightly, and then turned to my three childhood friends and gave them each a hug and a thank you. They were already dressed in their long yellow bridesmaids dresses and they looked beautiful.
“Here, Madelyn,” my mother said, and pushed something into my hands. I looked down and saw my bouquet. It was a huge mass of roses and tiny yellow flowers. I could feel tears pooling in my eyes. Was I ready? Yes. Yes, I was. I loved Ben and I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. I took a deep breath.
“Are you ready?” Mama asked me. I nodded, unable to speak. My stomach was full of butterflies.
We walked downstairs together and stopped right in front of the French doors that led out into the back. Through the glass I could see Ben, my Ben, waiting for me. All I wanted was to get to him. My father appeared at my side.
“Are you ready, Mad?” he whispered in my ear. I nodded and smiled at him.
My mother opened the door and the music started. My heart thumped along with the rhythm. Dun dun dun-dun! Dun dun dun-dun!
Natalie walked out the door, followed by Mia, and then Alice. Finally it was my turn. I took a deep breath and took my fathers arm as he led me to the door. I heard the crowd gasp as I stepped out, but my gaze was fixed on the face of my husband-to-be. I had never seen look so handsome, or happy. He smiled hugely at me, and the butterflies in my stomach disappeared. This was right.
I began the long walk down the aisle. It seemed to pass much more quickly than I had expected, and before I knew it my father was hugging me.
“I love you Madelyn,” he said, his voice thick as he kissed me tenderly on the cheek.
“I love you too Daddy!” I whispered back.
Daddy transferred me from his arms into Ben’s, and the ceremony began.
“Dearly Beloved,” began the minister. I got lost in Ben’s eyes. He was the only one there. No one else mattered.
“Do you, Madelyn Grace Williams, take this man, Benjamin Luke Chase, to be your lawfully wedded husband?”
For the first time today, I didn’t try to stop the tears that came. “I do,” I said.
“And do you, Benjamin Luke Chase, take this woman, Madelyn Grace Williams, to be your lawfully wedded wife?”
His eyes were scorching as he stared into mine and answered, “I do.”
“Then, I now pronounce you man and wife. You may—” Ben pulled me close and pressed his lips to mine. He scooped me up in his arms, still not breaking our kiss. Finally, we broke away and Ben, my husband, carried me back down the aisle.
So began our life together.