Jonesy dragged her into the kitchen for a cup of tea, chatting about University gossip. She gave Dale a hug then left. She wandered about the big house, feeling lost. The pain in her heart was building. She fished out the wedding notice and, careful not to crumble the brittle newspaper, read it carefully.
She stared at the picture of the bride, grinning from ear to ear. Sylvia was beautiful. She wondered about Cliff. Had he been delirious with joy or depressed or sad at the time?
She sank down into the comfort of an overstuffed chair in the living room and watched chickadees eat at the bird feeder.
The memory of her wedding day flashed back. Anna had thrown herself into wedding plans with zeal. The dress had to be perfect –and it was. The venue had to be just right –and it was. Even the weather had to be warm enough and cool enough – and it was. Everything was spot on, except it was the wrong groom.
She remembered standing at the window, watching the crowd gather slowly. Anna had been called to a food emergency in the kitchen. Begging for a moment alone from her bridesmaids, Dale stood quietly, by herself, unable to stop the tears.
She couldn’t stop wishing it was Cliff, pacing nervously in the black tuxedo, Cliff who would be pledging to love her forever, and Cliff who would be making love to her that night. The feelings she experienced then flooded back into her heart. The agony of knowing she could have had her wish stung her like a thousand bees.
A crack of thunder indicated an autumn storm. Stupid to wish. Try to forget. It’s past. He’s gone. Let it go. She sighed briefly as she climbed the stairs. I can’t let it go. He hates me for something I didn’t do. Do I tell him? I must, but not now. She slipped under the covers of the bed in the master bedroom and was blessedly lost in sleep by six o’clock.