Instinctively, she checked the clock on the wall. By conventional standards, twenty-two minutes late was pretty much on schedule. She paused just out of sight, letting the ladies close up the double doors. She took the quick moment to run through the checklist one last time.
Sheet cake has been picked up.
Reception hall was prepping at that very moment.
Pay the musicians. Check.
She took her father’s arm and adjusted her dress. For so long, she’s leaned against him, but at the moment, all she could think about was the logistics of their next step.
“C’mon dad, left first,” she pleaded in her mind. The rehearsals obviously failed to assuage her concerns on this very important detail.
Left foot first. Good, he was either paying attention or luck was on her side today.
Ok. Deep breath. Smile. She nodded to the ladies. She was ready…not that she had any doubt.
The doors opened and everyone stood. To distract herself, she ran a new list in her mind.
Make eye contact with family. Check.
Tempo tempo tempo. Not too fast. Check.
The room continued to stand and it was about halfway up the aisle that she began to feel the weight of their gesture. It dawned on her that this was the first and maybe last time a room full of people would stand on her account. This was her day, but she started to feel a bit unprepared.
Control the tempo…I’m going too fast.
Calm down…one step at a time.
Breathe, I keep forgetting to breathe.
But she cried when she saw him up the way, waiting for her. She can’t remember the last time she made him wait like that. Brides tend to forget that its his day too.
She looked down and suddenly leaned hard against her father. Sensing the shift in weight, he took a rigid step, standing up straight for his daughter.
“One last time,” he thought, pleasantly surprised.
The battle was lost and now her lifelong goals and ambitions, the honeymoon, the reception, the ceremony, all those details needed to be set aside for the moment. For now, she just needed to get focused. Get to the front. Get to the front. Get to the front. She just needed to focus on getting to the front.
Fourteen steps later, her father had taken her as far as he could.
She won’t remember those last few steps, her memory clouded by her arrival. In a last ditch effort to save the moment, she tried to checklist.
“I got this,” he whispered. He interrupted her train of thought.
She snapped out of it and looked at him. What was that?
“I got this,” he whispered again.
Her husband had arrived.
She raised her arm and let it rest on his. His back was straight and he was a much taller man than her father, now sitting behind them.
She was ready to get married…not that she had any doubts.
Kiss the bride.
They stand again, I forgot.
Open the double doors again, it’s the beginning and the end.
Time for pictures and now he looks a bit frazzled. People coming in and out, he’s been standing for a long time. Kids running, people bustling, relatives congratulating. He was beginning to sweat. He wanted a drink. He needed to get them organized and out of here, they were waiting at the reception hall and things were starting to run a bit late. He was starting to get tired. His face hurt from smiling.
“I got this,” she whispered.
He looked at her.
“I got this,” she said again.
Then she yelled at the cameraman to move his ass, got people organized in a cinch, and before he knew it, the group photos were finished. Time to go, only twenty-two minutes behind schedule.
“Right on time,” he thought…not that he had any doubt.