Unplanned

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Change is constant. In this world we live in nothing stops changing, because nothing stops change. Because of this consistency, plans alter themselves. There are many different ways you can come to realize this. For me, it was because of my mother’s illness, that I have learned that things do not always go as planned.

Cameras flashed here and there. Smiles stayed glued to our faces because we knew there would just be another person asking us to show our teeth again. But this wasn’t a burden. We were all already gleaming. The day had finally come. The girls and I had stayed in class with each other for over a year now, waiting for this moment. Our dresses gleamed white, veils flowing gently behind our backs, and godparents proudly close by. This was the day of my confirmation into the Catholic Church and I wasn’t going to forget it. Ever.

“There’s your mom,” my godmother, Mrs. Melissa, said to me, pointing at the entrance. I glanced up and my smile grew wider. Tears began to slowly fill my eyes as I carefully strode across the room to hug her. Her being there for me on that night meant more than I realized. She rarely came to events like this. She was always too ill. But tonight was the most important and she had arrived.

Soon the ceremony began. The Father stood on the altar, with the deacon and the altar boys alongside him. Candles flickered as he spoke of our Lord. Soon, Father called us to the altar. My classmates and I, together with our godparents, gathered in front of him to pray upon us—for us—that we may be forgiven, protected, and welcomed into the church. He put on us oils that had been blessed, and baptized us with holy water by pouring it across our foreheads. He confirmed us into the church, and gave us our first communion. Throughout the duration of the lengthy ritual, I was so happy I could have just shouted. Until Mrs. Melissa leaned over and whispered into my ear, “Your mom is about to cry.” At that moment I looked up to my mother. I had seen this look on her face before. The tears weren’t of joy. They were of pain and sorrow. She was hunched over, one hand holding her head, the other writhing in pain. Her lips were moving as she whispered something. Quickly, I shot a look at my sister, Crissie, who was sitting across the room. The expression on her face was the same on mine. Fear. Dread. Panic.

I crossed my godparents to sit by mom and wrapped her up in a hug. Now that I was closer I could hear her soft voice murmur “I’m sorry…I’m sorry… I’m sorry…” Over and over she chanted the words to me and my eyes explode with tears. “It’s okay Mom. It’s alright, don’t worry. It’s almost over, I promise,” I tried. But she continued her string of apologies. I could feel the stares burning into my back as I silently prayed for the ceremony to end, and as soon as it did, people crowded the area. Crissie was there in an instant. Both of us helped Mom up and rushed her to the car as fast as possible. Tears still streaming down my face as I impatiently pushed past those who weren’t moving fast enough. With Mom still repeating her sorrows, we finally got her to the car and buckled her into the back seat.

My godfather, Mr. David, wrapped me into a hug as I cried. “Listen,” he said gently holding both sides of my face, “You’re going to stay here with us for a little bit and take you home later. I don’t want this to be what you remember about tonight.” Knowing that once Crissie got Mom home and in bed that she would be okay, I agreed. And soon, my mother and sister sped off with me staring after them.

Forcing my gaze from the road, I looked at the church entrance and saw my boyfriend and other friends come out to me. Immediately, I wrapped him into a hug, still sobbing. The crowd made a circle around us, and everyone was silent as we embraced. And finally he whispered, “Are these tears of joy…?” He served the altar that night. He had been in the church with Father and the other altar servers getting dressed in his normal attire and putting out candles and such. He had missed everything. Uncontrollably, my lips cracked into a smile and I laughed a little. He had no idea what happened. He was completely oblivious to anything out of the ordinary that happened that night. He was just so innocent and I wanted to keep him that way.

That night was supposed to be perfect. It was supposed to be the happiest night of my life. But that’s not how it happened and no one can change it now. Things don’t always go as planned, and that night it definitely didn’t.





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