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by Shakera Reid-Stewart
3/01/2008 / Short Stories
The veil concealed the tears that streamed down Shannon's face. As she looked down the aisle she thought about the man that she had come to love. She thought about the irony of them falling in love considering that from the first moment they met, they did nothing but clash. She recalled the last comment he made to her on the day they met.
"It would take the patience of a man like me to deal with a woman like you. You're impossible!" With that statement, he turned on his heals and walked away.
She remembered being so angry at the gall of the man. Later that night, she realized that his words secretly left her pondering on the "what if's."
Memories of their time together flashed through her mind, and she was perplexed because she felt as if she was now in a trance. There were people waving and smiling, cameras flashing, and the wedding song signaling that the time to march to her future began. As she moved ever so slowly down the aisle, she thought of his handsome chiseled face. His smile was like none other, and she realized that she lived for it. He made her happy and she realized at that very moment that living without him was not an option. She loved him with everything that was in her. He made sense in her life.
She tried to hasten her steps down the aisle and then thought about the fact that she was about to make vows before God and man and promise forever. Forever! Shannon felt as if her heart would suddenly spring out of her bosom because it was now racing.
"Why did I allow this to go this far?" she whispered beneath the veil. Suddenly her steps faltered. She knew what she had to do. She mustered up a nervous smile for Jessie as she approached his side. His smile had been unwavering from the moment he saw her coming down the aisle. Now, as he looked down at her, something changed. He knew it. She knew it. This man loved her unconditionally, without reservation or pause. He deserved so much more than this. This was bigger than expectations, finances, guests, and pride. This was forever and somewhere down the line when he looked back, he would thank her.
Shannon held up a hand to stop the Pastor. She motioned to Jessie to come closer.
"I'm so sorry. I love him and you don't deserve a loveless marriage. I hope that some day you'll find someone who will make you happy. Forgive me," she whispered in his ear. With that she turned quickly away to avoid the pain and bitterness that she glimpsed in his eyes. She cast an apologetic look towards the parents and then ran back down the aisle and through the church doors towards the street. She had read about these dramatic weddings and watched this kind of thing happen in the movies, but never did she imagine that she could let things get this far. Never did she imagine causing someone she cared for so much pain and embarrassment. Nevertheless, she couldn't go through with it. On paper, Jessie was the one. She really cared for him, and he fit what everyone else wanted for her life. He was a good man and needed an equally good and loving woman who would devote her life to caring for him. Shannon knew she didn't fit the bill.
She ran as fast as her legs could take her, despite the many layers of fabric that made up her gown. As she ran, her vision was so blurred that she didn't notice the tall figure that leaned against the wall of the parking garage. Suddenly she felt herself drawn in a huge embraced. Almost immediately, she recognized him. She felt as if everything would now be alright. She was right where she belonged.
They stood by the parking garage oblivious to the curious onlookers.
"I came to the church, but I couldn't watch you give yourself to another man," he said as he held her close. "I just stood here hoping for a miracle. Hoping for you."
"I'm sorry it took me so long to figure it out," she replied. "You know, people can lie to each other, but the heart won't ever be deceived."
"God made you for me. Besides, only a man with my patience could ever deal with a woman like you."
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Shakera Reid was born in Kingston, Jamaica and raised in Miramar, Florida. Her passion in life is counseling and educating youth. Hobbies include reading, writing and watching movies. Her hope is to encourage others through her writing and to help them in their Christian walk.
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