We said we were there for the wedding. Palmer wedding? asked the hotel clerk. No, we said. Flynn wedding. Sure enough, there were two banquet halls, one on each end of the ground floor.
"Wouldn't you hate that?" I asked Isaac. "Every time you had an anniversary, you'd be thinking, 'It's those other people's anniversary, too.' All your life."
"As opposed to us," said Isaac. "I'm sure nobody else got married that day."
"You know what I mean," I said. We were up in the room then, and I was counting all the wrinkles that my dress had incurred during the car ride. I brought the dress over by the window to get a better look, holding it up to the blue mid-morning light, but then I said, "Look, there they are," because I spotted their figures in the distance, out on the grassy knoll behind the hotel.
"Who?" asked Isaac. "The Palmers?"
I was about to say no, when it occurred to me that maybe it was the Palmers. It was too hard to be sure from this far away. All I knew was that there was someone in an ivory dress, and someone else in black. They were arguing, arms being thrown up in exasperation. Then the figure in black turned, and kicked at a rock, and left the bride standing alone, crying, on the empty hill.
All through the wedding I watched for a sign. I held my breath when they were asked Do you?, but they did not hesitate. They did their first dance, they cut the three-tiered white chocolate cake, they kissed on command when silverware clinked wine glasses. Later I snuck out, went down the long, mauve-carpeted hotel hallway, and peeked into the other banquet hall. It was, more or less, exactly the same, minus one thing.
"Where's the bride?" I tried asking someone, but just then a new song came on, and my question was inaudible. I backed out of the room. Headed back down the hallway. I was halfway there when she came out of a door, holding her long ivory skirt up so she wouldn't trip. Our eyes met.
"Everything okay?" I asked.
She looked confused. Then she smiled, and asked, "What do you mean? Hey, you're Katie's cousin, aren't you?"
"No," I said. "I'm not."
"Well," she said, and looked impatiently up the hall.
"Never mind," I said. "Congratulations."
Fiction Friday is an outlet for experimentation while I slowly work on becoming a novelist. Read the rest of the stories here...