Speak Now

November 9, 2011
I’m not the kind of girl who should be rudely barging in on a white-veil occasion. Back in high school, I was this quiet, shy girl. Come to think of it, I don’t even know how I became best friends with Duncan. It’s probably because we were friends from elementary school, a time before stereotypes and people judging you from every angle. Duncan was the football quarterback, the head of the school, who didn’t take s*** from anyone. But he was always there for me, and always had my back. When his first real girlfriend, Michelle, was bullying me back in sophomore year, he dumped her in a snap. And he beat up my first boyfriend after he dumped me in the eighth grade (he said I was too smart for him, and he couldn’t compete with how I was always talking about my good grades to comfort me but I knew it wasn’t true; I didn’t start stressing about grades until freshman year.)
Anyway, Duncan was my first real boyfriend; the first one that I actually went on real dates with, when I actually could just hang out in my sweats with, and we dated for almost two years. But after the most amazing prom, the saddest graduation I’ve ever been to, and one unforgettable summer before college, we broke up. We were going to different universities, me in New York City, and him in Florida. And we wanted completely different things. Then half-way through my freshman year of college I became completely infatuated with this senior, and since Duncan couldn’t stand my rants about him (I can’t even remember his name now), we finally lost touch. That guy dumped me too, but not before I made a fool of myself for him in front of the whole school, but that was a completely different story.
This one starts with a church. I was standing at the bottom of the perfectly painted steps and looked down at my gray hoodie, the purple New York University printed across the front, with a mustard stain by the zipper, and my old blue jeans that I’d worn out tirelessly during my all-nighters (studying, of course.) I bit my lip looking over my ratty purple converse that I’d doodled all over, and I felt completely underdressed. I gave my attire one last grimace, pulled my unruly, blonde hair back into a ponytail and ducked around the side of the big white building looking for the back door.
Now, one might be wondering why I’m doing this. Why should I sneak into some old friend from high school’s wedding? Well that answer is simple: because Duncan wasn’t just some old friend from high school. He was my best friend. My first love. And we’d promised each other we’d be at each other’s weddings. Of course, that was when we still thought that we’d be marrying each other.
And then there was the other reason. Duncan was not the type of boy to be marrying the wrong girl. And his fiancé was definitely the wrong girl. Meghan was snotty, rich, and just plain awful. Plus she was a brunette, which was not appropriate, since Duncan and I both have platinum blonde hair. I met her once at this party, I’d ran into Duncan and he’d introduced us. It was really awkward, and Meghan gave me this strong impression that she didn’t like me. Not only that, but that she hated me. I was starting to wonder how Duncan had described me until she pulled me aside and threatened me to stay away from him because he was “hers” and she didn’t want me getting in the way.
I pushed on the emergency entrance door on the side of the church, and it opened easily. I snuck in and looked around. Near the alter were three boys. The three boys to be precise: Jonnie, Ben and Dave. They were great friends with us in high school too. It was basically the five of us; we did everything together, except for when Duncan and I were off alone, because no one got between us. I smiled at the sight of them, but made sure that they didn’t see me, then turned around to face the rest of the room.
You could totally tell which side was hers. Meghan’s entire family wore pastel colored clothes and had pouts on their faces. I could just imagine her yelling at a bridesmaid in a pale pink dress in a back room while she wore a huge white gown shaped like a pastry.
“Taylor?!” Jonnie called, and I whipped around to face him. He had a huge grin on his face that reminded me of a little boy.
“Hey!” I said, even though there was a slight hint of awkwardness there, I hadn’t been invited after all (because Meghan was such a lovely bride-to-be.)
We hugged and then he gave me a one-over. “How’re you doing?”
“I’m doing fine. How about you?” I just tried to make small talk and ignore the elephant in the room, the fact that I was there.
“Yeah, me too. Just moved in with my girlfriend.”
“That’s great!” I said, a little too loudly.
“Oh my god, Taylor! I can’t believe it’s you!” He gushed again. I just smiled and shrugged at him.
“Taylor? Not the Taylor I’m guessing?” A high-pitched voice said from behind me. I didn’t recognize the face, but she had big lips, curly brunette hair that fell in ringlets, and a pale pink dress with a white sash around the middle. Definately a bridesmaid. “Not Duncan’s best friend back from his kiddie years? The socially awkward one?” I gave her a glare and she smiled. “Ohmygosh! It is you! Look sweetie, I’m sorry, but you’re a little underdressed. And Megs told me to make sure you didn’t show up.”
“But-” I started, even though I knew it was a lost cause and I wasn’t invited.
“You’re not his best friend anymore, your golden days are over, and he’s over you. Sorry.” She sneered, but she didn’t look sorry.
“Sorry Taylor,” Jonnie said, and returned to his position next to the other boys. The bridesmaid turned away and went to chat with a young woman who was desperately clutching the arm of her date by the door. Not in an uncomfortable way (at least not for them) more of a “he’s mine, back off!” way.
I didn’t leave though; I just slunk behind a pink curtain and kept scanning the room for Duncan. When I finally caught sight of him, I could tell that this is not what he’d imagined when he’d proposed. He had a look on his face that was nerves mixed with regret mixed with disappointment, I could tell. And I started to imagine what would happen when the preacher said “Speak now or forever hold your peace” and what might happen if I stood and declared my love and told Duncan not to marry her, because she was horrible. And I still loved him. I might even tell him to run away with me. But I couldn’t, because I’m a good girl, I don’t speak out, and I wouldn’t ruin this day for him. I was just here to watch, and experience what I promised I would.
The gestures were exchanged and the wedding march started. I couldn’t help but think that it sounded a bit like a death march. All eyes shifted towards the doors at the entrance where Meghan was entering. From my hiding place, I tried to peel my eyes away from Duncan and sneak a glance at her, and noticed that she seemed to float down the aisle like a pageant queen. I never seemed to float anywhere, just stumble. Yet as I looked back at Duncan (Even though I haven’t talked to him in about a year) I could still tell he wished it was me.
After zoning out for about twenty minutes, in which time I’m huddled on the floor trying not to make a huge bulge in the curtains, I heard the preacher say “Speak now or forever hold your peace.” There was silence, and I knew this was my last chance to make my daydreams come true. I stood up and stepped out of the cutains, my hands shaking and sweating. There were horrified looks from everyone in the room (some of them probably just because of my attire) but I still didn’t keep my eyes off of Duncan.
“Umm, excuse me?” I said, quietly, my hand shaking as I held it up like I was a school girl answering a question in class. The preacher raised his eyebrows, Meghan’s mouth dropped open, and Duncan’s eyes lit up, I swear.
“Taylor?” He called, as if it was just a dream.
“Hey,” I said, breathing a sigh of relief that he remembered me. In those moments of silence, I’d seemed to lose all hope that I’d get the boy this time.
“We’re in the middle of something here, do you mind?” Meghan snapped when she finally got her voice back.
That really made me mad; it made me want to do something. I knew Duncan longer, and I knew he seemed relieved to have a distraction. “Yeah, I do actually.” I said, surprised at my sudden confidence. “Duncan. Please don’t say yes, you can run away, right now. I’ll meet you when you’re out of the church. You need to hear me out.” Meghan’s jaw seemed to drop even farther (if that was possible), and after a few seconds of silence that felt like a lifetime whispers of chatter seemed to break the silence as everyone stared around in bewilderment.
“I should go talk to her,” Duncan said over the noise to Meghan. He kissed her cheek and nodded me towards the lobby.
“Taylor? What are you doing here?” He asked in astonishment once he joined me in the lobby.
“We made a promise, you didn’t expect me to break that, did you?” His face turned from surprise to amusement.
“You’re insane.”
“No, I think that would you,” I said, plainly. “You’re the one who was about to marry that hot mess.”
“Just shut up and kiss me,” he said and kissed me, long and hard to make up for the missing time, before dashing off to change and duck out of the “most important day of his life.”

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