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"If anyone has an objection to this marriage, speak now or forever hold your peace."
The priest didn’t even bother to pause. His twinkling eyes twinkled a little more as he continued with the wedding proceedings. As each word was merrily pronounced, the bride and groom turned to smile at each other. She was beautiful, in the gorgeous strapless dress which captured her flawless looks in the white frothy layers. His handsome, chiseled features were only accented
by the joy in his blue eyes. The bridal party reflected the wondrous beauty of the pair, from the angel like flower girl to the five cute bridesmaids; it was like a fairytale wedding, but even better. As they stood hand in hand in front of the meticulously decorated altar, with the satin-like red roses, everyone sighed in awe. A huge smile lit up the priest's face as he proclaimed them husband and wife, to the soundtrack of applause and loud cheers. The ecstatic couple walked down the aisle and out the church as their friends and family followed them, wishing them well. Everyone paraded outside for photos with the dream couple.
The church was suddenly empty, too quick a change from the happy and loud ceremony. He shook his head to get the emptiness out of his head. His legs suddenly felt very heavy, and he collapsed against the back wall. He looked down at the single stem rose he held in his hand. Smiling for a second, his eyes flashed with a treasured memory. As the memory faded, the pain came back. "Oh come on," he muttered, "It's her wedding day. The happiest day of her life. Can't you even be a little happy? Fake a smile?" He sighed and suddenly burst out with a radiant smile. All traces of unhappiness vanished and he got to his feet and rejoined the dimpled bridesmaid who had been assigned to him on the church lawn. As his feet grazed the door, the white rose landed on the floor. He glanced back for a second and turned away from the silent reminder.
From the first day they met, that’s what he had been to her. The person who was always happy when she was happy. He laughed whenever she was happy, despite what was going on at his own home. He cried with her whenever those shining eyes filled with tears. He was always happy for her, always. Her smile meant more to him than a thousand of his tears. It didn't matter if he still cried them, her smile was that precious.
As the entire bridal party assembled on the green manicured lawn, he glanced over at her white figure in the middle. Her smile radiated, oh man, he could even feel it when he was turned the other way. The photographer nodded and said, "Now for the bride and her best friend." Everyone slowly filed away to stand with the photographer, and then he realized that they were the only two left. He smiled at her and closed the distance between them. Draping his arm loosely around her, he smiled once again for the camera. The smile stretched across his face, aching. If his face had cracks, that’s where they would be. Right across his smile lines.
The photographer counted to three and all too soon, the moment was over. She leaned over, "Thanks for everything! I know you don't like Darina that much, but thanks for staying with the entire ceremony." He laughed, "Anything for you," She smiled, blinding him. "It's your special day anyways." Her new husband came up behind her and clutched her around the waist. He repeated, "It's your special day anyways." Softly at first, then just a whisper as he walked away.
As he watched the groom walk away a very familiar feeling started to bubble up in his heart again. A painful, sad feeling laced with anger and confusion; one that he would much rather describe with fists and tears than words. Sometimes he thought that there should be an unspoken rule, that whoever got first dibs, kept those dibs. But then again, always staying with the same person would get dull, eventually. Even if that person was your best friend. Yeah, that must be why she didn’t want him.
He looked up to see the newlywed couple dance their first dance together, holding each other closely in their own world. The glowing smile on her face conjured up memories of how she used to smile around him, or at least, how he thought she smiled around him. The more and more he thought about their friendship together, the more and more he saw just how blind he had been. It had started out as denial but it slowly started turning into reluctant acceptance. She didn’t smile as much around him anymore, it was always when he brought him into the picture that he could finally tease a smile out of her; a smile that he used to see so often for himself.
Any way he could explain it away, he tried; it was his own mind playing tricks on him, he was just having a bad day with her, or maybe she just had a hard time at work. But soon, he was forced to see that she didn’t want to be with him anymore. Day in and day out, all of them were filled with him; perfect, radiant, flawless him. And when he tried to comfort himself, telling himself how she would eventually leave him, the memories he once fed himself to convince them of their friendship turned into memories of her annoyance at how he filled her life. That smile? An act. That gift she gave him that Saturday night? A pity gift. There was not real emotion in them. This wedding invitation? Just another way of telling him to back off already. True, he couldn’t explain everything away with his cynical little world view, but those few precious memories quickly turned into searing, stabbing mementos of her hate for him.
What did she see in him that he didn’t have? Even if he did have a larger income, an IQ that towered over his, and connections that could get him into the President’s cabinet, wasn’t their friendship stronger than that? Stronger than those four zeros on the receipt for that birthday gift he bought her? Stronger than the Bahamas island cruise they went on in the summer? That new BMW, that meeting with the prime minister, that…that…
The thoughts rained down on his head, one after another, some true, some not so true. Ultimately, as he gulped down his beer at home, he realized it. Nothing that she wanted, he had. And more. He had…no one, nothing. He would never live up to that dream man that she wanted.
A stabbing dizzy feeling suddenly overwhelmed him. Stupid beer. He dragged himself into his bathroom. His hands slammed down onto the sink, shaking the mirror on the wall. Up he glanced into his bathroom mirror, the same one he had looked into with her on their prom night, putting the finishing touches on her makeup. Before, all he could see was her mystical eyes looking right back at him, beside him. But now, it had become just another lonely reflection of a disheveled man that had too much to drink; a disgusting, ugly, unwanted man that would never succeed to anything.
He remembered a night when he was ten years old, his father had come home to catch him watching yet another episode of cartoons on television. He could still see the look on his face as he chased him out of the house, the words ringing in his ears. “You stupid, demented, lazy boy! All you do is watch television all day! Can’t you be like other children?! You’re so lazy, you will never graduate high school at this rate, you will never get into college, and you will never get a wife! Who would want to marry a sad, pathetic person like you that’s too lazy to even pick his a** off the couch!? You are not my son, I’m ashamed to even have you live here! Get,” a fist in his face,”out,” a knee in his stomach,”of”, a slap on his head, “my house!”. He had run crying into the street, all alone in the merciless, dark winters night. Weren’t parents supposed to love and support their children? Then again, maybe his father was right, maybe he was good for nothing.
When she first started dating him, he had thought of a whole list of stupid objections to their relationship. Of course, she listened to none of them. Why she would not listen to her best friend, he never found out. Now, it was clear, because he was a lazy, selfish boy that had no lovable qualities at all. Everyone else outshone him in everything; in sports, in personality, in school, everything. He could give nothing to her that she didn’t already have; in fact, he probably took away more than he gave. It had only been a few months, but she already loved him more than the 12 years they had been friends. That man could give her more in three months than he could give her in a lifetime. Nothing in him was lovable, covetable, valuable. Even God didn’t see anything good in him, or else, He would have clearly brought it out by now when he needed it most.
Life was over for him, that was what people like him deserved. Death. What else were they supposed to achieve? Even his “best friend” didn’t see any good in him.
As he reached for the gun in his bedroom drawer, his mind returned to that day he first showed it to her. He had promised to only use it to protect her and make her happy. He wasn’t about to break his promise now. Cocking it, he pointed the barrel to his head like he had seen people do on the big screen. Why couldn’t he be romantic like those stars that captured the soul of every woman they met? His finger on the trigger, he opened his mouth, feeling the hot salty tears flow in. Sobbing, he managed to whisper to himself, “"If anyone has an objection to this, speak now or forever hold your peace." No one said a word.
The gun rolled gently out of his hand onto the floor. A loud thump was all that was heard as it hit the cold tile. Then, slowly, the sound of blood dripping could be heard. It ran over his arm, falling into the air before landing on a pure white rose petal. The blood spread quickly over it, smothering the brilliant glow that it once held in its soft petals; smothering out the dreams that he had held so long for her.