When the song began to play she stepped nervously into the spotlight. Long hair tumbling. She remembered she was his bride. And she glided with the Fields of Gold down the aisle.
When it came time to speak she fumbled through the stickiness of every word. She skimmed past them, hoping to avoid the depths.
When it was his turn, he breathed in deeply. He let time stand still. His tears marked the weight of every word.
As his tears fell, she wondered if she would ever deserve them.
Days later he crawled into bed next to her. No ordinary bed. No ordinary bride. She was hooked up to tubes and machines. Beeping in the silence.
When the needle went into her hip bone 13 times over, he held her hand. Over the years, every single time they wheeled her in, he would stand there and let his fingers softly run through her short hair.
Afterwards he would always bring her strawberry milk. Because it was her favourite. Then he would bring her home, help her walk to bed, and let her rest. Holding steady. Hoping she would heal.
At the corner of the years, he imagined his bride again. He remembered the promise of that day. And so he stood there like a watchman. Quietly waiting.
The disease crashed in and out of her body. It swept her ashore. You could see her picking up her fragments like a beachcomber. Achingly trying to find her spirit again.
She resurfaced with just enough strength to carry the children she desperately wanted. But she couldn’t keep up. The disease had sucked her bones until they were parched and rattling.
She tried to be serene but she was fuming. She tried to climb but she was falling. She knew the view at the top would be breathtaking. And she wanted to see that view. More than anything.
She wanted that view and so much more. She wanted to be gentle again. She wanted to take back the lashings of angry words. She wanted to deserve those wedding day tears. She was fumbling and sticky again.
One day when they were in the car, the song began to play again. They hadn’t heard it for so long. She closed her eyes and remembered. He held the steering wheel steady and let gentle teardrops fall.
If only they could unravel time. Back to the moment the song first played for them. If only they could they undo it all and start again.
But would it be better than what they had now? Their love had found a new shape. Sculpted with endurance. Emblazoned with apologies. Battle strong and mended with time.
She held his hand tightly.
He knew then his bride would be back. She would return richer than the promise. Healed and smooth. She would glide again.