"I can do this. I can do this. I can do this," I repeat this mantra over and over while I drive over to the town's church. "I can do this!"
I get to see you again. It has only been a little over a year since I last saw you. I can remember your sweet face as if I was looking at it now. Your scent that I was so accustomed too still floats around me. I can still feel the warmth from the hands that once lingered over my skin. The eyes that I stared into everyday have been imbedded in my memory forever. But most of all, I can still remember your love.
Your love was kind and gentle, just as you are. You loved me with such adoration that no other man was able to rival. As the old saying goes, you had me at hello. Laughable, it quite is, to think that I would have fallen so deeply in love with someone. For I was set on finding my place, my belonging in the world. And then you came along. You came along, my love and helped me reach my goal.
Our first memory together is quite embarrassing if I do say so myself. I remember the day so clearly:
"I'm late!" Thoughts like that are racing through my head.
I rush down the busy street of pedestrians, trying to make my way through the crowd of people. The hot summer air is roasting my fair skin like no tomorrow. Sweat rolls down my forehead as I run by a group of teenagers in my way. Cars honk their horns as I dive into the middle of the crosswalk to get to my destination.
Finally, after such a long time, I get to where I need to be. I stare at the building. It is solely made from glass and steel. The style of the architecture is marvelous beyond any other meaning. It is graceful and elegant, yet not gaudy like most modern designs that I have seen before. However, as grand as this God among buildings may be, it holds my future within its very palms. And I hope that it doesn't let me fall into the dust.
Lastly, I gain the courage to enter the glass castle. The doors I notice are automatic. My slow pace that I started with as I neared the building starts to quicken. And before I know it, I'm jogging. Running. Sprinting. I can't believe that I'm sprinting for a job interview, but I am. I can't help myself. I'm getting closer to the doors. I'm almost there! 10…9…8…the heat beats heavier upon my face…7…6…5…my feet are hurting for running in heels…4…3...2…I'm almost there…1…the doors aren't opening! Darkness.
Where am I? My head hurts. I feel like a truck ran me over. I can hear voices. I don't recognize them. I don't want to open my eyes just yet. No. What if I was kidnapped! Someone is shaking me.
"Ma'am, are you alright? Ma'am, you need to get up," the voice is so very smooth. "Someone get her ice!"
I flicker my eyes open. And the first thing I see is this man. This very gentle, handsome man.
I still can't believe that my running into a glass wall would have brought you and me together. My friends and family all laughed at the story when we told them. Yet I would smile. I would smile because that was what gave you to me. The man that I love the most. The man whom I will die for if need be. The man who doesn't love me anymore.
It pains me to go to your wedding. I don't know how I will handle it. But I will go through it. It is because you asked me to come. You asked me because it was my doing that brought you to your future partner. It pains me even more so that that woman was once my closest friend.
I pull into the church parking lot. People who were going to come once to our wedding catch my eye. Did they know that you didn't love me anymore at the time of our wedding? Was my head really that deep in the clouds that I didn't notice the signs? I shake these thoughts out of my head. No need to dwell on such a depressing past.
I hear a few gasps from a gaggle of old ladies that are near me. I take it that they are surprised to see me at my ex-fiancé's wedding. But he is the man whom I love. And if he loves another, then I must let him. I will support him no matter what. Even if it kills me inside.
The church looks wonderful. This is very much a mix between hers and yours tastes. I'm very quite impressed with they styles that both of you chose for your wedding. Yet a few drops of jealousy leak into my eyes. I must not let them get the best of me.
I see a few people that I know. I see your family. I see her family. And last but not least, I see you standing on the alter, waiting for your bride. The bride that isn't me.
I watch you. You look even more handsome than I can ever recall. You glow with such nervousness yet excitement. I smile. You turn your head towards me and you catch my eye. The air in my chest ceases to move. My heart stops beating. I can't do this! I want to run, but I've come so far…
You start walking over to me. Go away; I want to yell at you. I want to yell at you for all the horrible things that you've done to me. But I never will. I love you too much to hate you. I feel like my life is turning into a soap opera.
"Karen," you breathe my name in such a loving tone, that tears start to peak at my eyes, "thank you…"
"It's no big deal, Ian," I lie. I lie through my teeth. He always knows when I'm lying. He said I'm an open book. And he's been the only person to have ever read me. "I came," I pause, remembering to breathe, "for you." That was not a lie.
He pauses. He knows that this is hurting me. He knows that that I can't do this. "I'm sorry…I didn't know what I was thinking. I'm so cruel. I shouldn't have invited you. I've already caused you so much pain…"
My Ian. The man that I love. He is in pain. That will not do. Not one bit. "Stop fussing over me. I'm fine. I'm a big girl now. Anyway, you have to go stand on that alter and marry the girl that you love with all your heart."
He smiles at me. My heart flutters. "You're right. I don't know what I would have done without you." He begins to walk back to his place.
"Ian," I call his name, "don't run away this time. You don't get anymore chances. Marry this girl. And mean it."
I go walk to a pew to find my seat. I can do this. I know I can. I can do this. I'm moving on. Slowly, but surely, I'm moving on. I came to this wedding for you, Ian. I came because I love you. I love you. And I always will. Yet it's my turn for my happily ever after.
I sit down. Happy with my new realization that finally dawned on me. I look to the person to the side of me. It is a man.
"Hey," he says, "I'm Jim."
I smile, "Nice to meet you. I'm Karen."
Here I come, fairy-tale.