“Maaaaa!” I shrieked as I fumbled with the buttons on my ‘over the top’ wedding dress. There were so many layers of lace, netting, and bows enveloping my body that if I were spotted by a salesman from the oriental plaza, I would be scooped up and placed on a rack. My frustrated tears delicately walk the tightrope of panic as I grab at my hair and attempt to straighten it. I had monstrosities of tightly wound curls engulfing my head and my spirit. How did I let this get so out of hand?
I thought back to the numerous arguments that I had, had with my fiancé Malcolm over his mother Catherine’s demands. An overwhelming and tenacious woman who raised her son to be a mommy’s boy; sorry love I thought but it is true; which subsequently meant that she always got her way. I should have dug my heels in. I mean can love really conquer this?
My eyes drag my sight back to the mirror; I am straight out of an 80’s wedding catalogue wearing Catherine’s old wedding dress and I am not sure what is bigger, my hair or my bitter disappointment.
My mom eventually comes in to find me sitting glumly in the corner. She raises one eyebrow which tells me then and there that I was not going to be getting any sympathy from her. She grabs my arm and lurches me up. She straightens my skirts and reminds me that I was about to marry the love of my life. “God does not worry about what you are wearing while you are making the promise, as long as you mean it and you keep it.” To her credit, she didn’t even flinch when, while saying this, a bow that she had been straightening came off in her hands. She merely tossed it into the bin and set about mounting my veil. Once I was fully assembled, my mom came and stood in front of me, she looked me up and down, and I could see a hint of smile. I lifted an eyebrow and we both broke out in giggles, hysterical giggles in fact. My dad banged on the door and demanded to know if we were crying or laughing and wasn’t it time to leave already. My mom told him to be patient and repaired my tear-streaked makeup. She proceeded to pull out a hidden shoe box, which inside held the most incredible pair of high heels. The strap would tie around my ankle and swarovski crystals would checker the bridge of my foot. My eyes twinkled and a grin broke out on my face as I kicked off the sensible satin pumps I was wearing.
This would still be the best day of my life.
Rebecca saw Malcolm’s eyes widen at the sight of her. She squeaked out an involuntary giggle, Malcolm hated frills and fuss. Serves him right for not putting a stop to his mother’s interference. She floated down the aisle with her island of swoosh escorted by her very proud and much hidden father. Handing her over to her groom was no easy feat for him, not emotionally mind, logistically due to the sheer volume of her dress. Malcolm leaned over and whispered, “I am not at all surprised at your attire; after all, tarts should be dressed in meringue.” Rebecca choked on the gasp that resulted from his cheeky remark. Her cheeks flamed red even though she knew he was just teasing her. He winked and turned in mock concentration to the Pastor. The heat in her cheeks spread to her heart, her mom was right she thought while studying his side profile, the attire didn’t matter, the substance did. She turned with a huge grin and faced the Pastor.
“Now ladies and gentlemen,” the jovial pastor said loudly. “I’ve come to the portion of the vows that the groom has been dreading. Does anybody here know of any reason or just cause why these two should not enter into holy matrimony.” There was chuckling in the congregation as the priest ogled them with mock sternness. “So no exes come to give it one last try.” He teased further. “Very well, let us move on.” Before the pastor could continue to declare them husband and wife, much to the shock of the couple and the delight of the audience in the pews, the church doors burst open. Rebecca heard a curse escape from her dad’s lips, and could picture her mother narrow her eyes. She saw Catherine, feign a faint at the thought of a scandal while Malcolm’s dad, Graham, simply looked bemused. It was a very surreal moment as the light from behind the figure in the doorway gave the silhouette an ethereal appearance. When the figure stepped forward, Rebecca locked eyes with the disruption at the door. He was a blonde, broad-shouldered, tall stranger hosting pools of sea green eyes. The fear hosting in them transfigured to confusion momentarily as a strange buzz passed between her eyes and his. A recognition of souls of sorts, an entrancing feeling like she knew this man in a previous life. The loud wail that shot like a rocket through the church bouncing of its beautiful walls knocked them back into the present. Next to ‘hypno-eyes’ was a very pregnant lady, panting and breathing like Rebecca had seen pregnant ladies in the movies do. Malcolm looked at Rebecca for answers but she shrugged her shoulders and stretched her eyes. The pastor recovered and broke the tense silence. “Can we help you son?” The stranger replied in a deep strained voice. “I am sorry to interrupt but my name is Travis and my wife is in labour. We were on the way to the hospital when my car just died literally outside the church yard. Can anyone help to fix it or take us to a hospital or phone an ambulance?” Panic pitching his voice near the end of the sentence. Everybody spoke at once then and jumped forward to help. Rebecca’s mother was already by the pregnant lady instructing her to lie down while the men sorted the car. “What is your name lamb? She asked the young woman calmly, “Anne,” said the frightened mother to be. Teresa soothed and coached Anne while Rebecca and Malcolm stared flabbergasted at their hi-jacked ceremony. Rebecca’s farther directed and instructed guests to move onto the reception, assuring them that he would fill them in on any details they would miss. “Malcolm!” Rebecca eventually exclaimed. “You’re a vet, let’s go help.” Although his eyes bulged at her he agreed that of course, he would help at once. Malcolm addressed Rebecca’s mother politely as he asked her to move over. She eyed him slightly sceptical but soothed the protesting Anne. “Now don’t you worry Anne, Malcolm here is not trying to get his kicks from this, he is a Vet and has birthed many animals.” This only made Anne groan more. Malcolm gave them all a confident smile but only Rebecca saw the twitch in his right hand, a tell-tale sign that he was nervous.
Rebecca’s nerves just could not take it and she knew it was bad timing but she really had to go wee wee. She tried to get a lady companion as is normal, even customary among the woman to escort her but she could not convince anyone to leave the action. The desperate fear of weeing in her dress had her rushing off to attempt the feat on her own. She eyed the little cubicle she was supposed to occupy and knew she would smother in material or worse, wee on the blasted thing. She would have to undress. She twisted and bent her arms and body, cursing herself for not being more diligent at attending yoga as she battled to get her zip down. Exertion turning her face red and panic of a full bladder caused sweat to coat her forehead. She eventually achieved her escape and said her prayers of thanks as she made it onto the toilet in time. Now that her thoughts were able to control her mind again they turned her back to the events of the day and namely to the strange sensation when she had locked eyes with the stranger named Travis. The sense of recognition was so strong, yet she knew that she had never seen this man before. She could not escape the feeling that he would be impacting her future. The question of how was the part that was raising the hairs on the back of her neck.
For a second time that day, Travis burst through a door and now he was face to face with Rebecca. The electricity in the air, the intenseness in their gaze took Rebecca’s breath away. He nodded slightly as if to acknowledge that he felt it too and then coughed for her to realise that while dazed in her thoughts, she had forgotten to finish putting herself back in her dress. Rebecca blushed, an intense pink brighter than her make-up and held her dress to her chin. “Your husband said I should come wash my hands before I catch my baby boy” he muttered. She stammered that he could’ve done so in the Gents toilet and he kindly pointed to the urinal that was mostly obscured from her vision by her train. Her distress had meant that she hadn’t immediately realised the gravity of what he had said. “Did you say that you are going to catch your baby boy?” she enquired astonished. He nodded as he made his way to the sink and started scrubbing his hands. Poor Malcolm she thought. Travis gave her dress a strange look, smiled at her and left the bathroom.
She sat down. She wanted to be part of the action but could she really watch a lady giving birth? She realised that, of course, she wanted to see it but more importantly, she needed to support Malcolm. He was catching a baby for goodness sake.
With fresh determination she got herself dressed and rushed back to the pew that was about to host a miracle.
Rebecca made it just in time as Anne gave her last push and the baby boy entered this world. Amazement was reflected on each face, love and adoration streamed from the new parents as well as from her almost husband. Malcolm was her hero and she knew he would forever be, she furiously congratulated and kissed him. The paramedics rushed in and took in the strange and happy scene; they gave Malcolm a slap on the back and took over. The new parents thanked Malcolm profusely as they were loaded into the ambulance, apologising for interrupting the wedding. An amazed and dazed wedding party laughed and cheered them on, waving till red tail lights disappeared around the corner. “Well, shall we get married now?” Rebecca asked Malcolm feigning non-interest as if she didn’t mind either way. A huge grin was the reply she received.
Once again Rebecca stood in front of God and the pastor beside her groom expressing her vows. There was so much more depth in them this time round. The shared experience had added such richness to the day, she had foolishly imagined that her high heels held the secret power she needed but it had been the love experienced in all forms during the course of the day that held the true magnificence.
She briefly pondered the strange connection to the stranger Travis but had a feeling that was for another life and another reason.