I say almost nothing during the entire ceremony and I can barely utter a 'yes' when the priest asks me if I want Harvey for my husband. I do not want to say it either. I do not want to but I must. As a woman I have to do this. I cannot get out of this, not alive.

Right now I am grateful for the veil I am wearing. It hides my face, it hides my dismay. We could not have all the guests seeing that. A bride is not supposed to be dismayed. According to others her face is supposed to glow with happiness. She is supposed to be happy that she is amrrying a man capable of taking care of her and their future offspring for the rest of her life. She is marrying a man well-liked and respected by society. She is dressed in the finest, prettiest white gown, all her closest relatives are gathered as witnesses and she is the center of attention for the entire day. She knows how lucky she is to get all this.

No I do not. I am trying not to think because the thoughts at the evry front of my mind are thoughts of all the things I held dear to my heart, all the things I could not have. And if I first start to really think about all this, getting through the day will be that much ahrder, and that I have to.

Not before the priest declares us husband and wife do I allow myself to think about him. I close my eyes and feel my husband lifting the veil away from my face. I imagine it being Brian instead when I feel a pair of lips against my own. That amkes it easier. But it does not work. I still remember how his lips felt when Brian kissed me for the last time. Right now the feeling is no way near that. But I still try, because it makes it easier to endure.

The party is tedious. There is only trivial conversations among the guests. I take no part in any of this. Because what do I have to talk about? My life is over, I ahve no adventures left, no joy to look forward to. This is it.

I don't like dancing. My movements are stiff but it does not look like anybody cares. I am only doing what is expected of me and allow my husband to lead me around the room. This is nothing like I had imagined my wedding dance to be like when I was younger. When we were younger Brian and I used to go out and dance with our friends and we would dance till we were dizzy and everyone else had left the floor. We felt a little nauseous but it was a positive feeling nonetheless. Back then I got all warm and happy whenever I felt his arms sneak around my body to lead me out on the dancefloor. I tried to hold on to the feeling of his arms around me after he had elt go of me and I longed for the closeness.

This is not how I had imagined the wedding dance at all. I wanted to rip myself out of Harvey's grip. I did not want to inhale his scent or look into his face anymore. His eyes did not shine with happiness and love and I know that neither did mine. We did not get lost in eachother and the dancing, we were emotionless.

I was relieved when I was finally able to get away from his grip and get away from him for a while. Now I did no longer have to play the happy bride. I went outside to get some fresh air and no one questioned my behaviour. It was wonderful to get some wind in the face and be able to inhale something other than tobacco smoke and old, claustrophobic air.

But that peaceful moment too came to an end. I sense I have better get back inside and shortly after that my husband turns to me and says it is about time for bed. I only nodd and think of my last assignment for today as a bride.

When we enter the bedroom I feel tired and want nothing more than to go to sleep instantly. But I cannot do that. First the hardest trial must be overcome. I can not show any dismay. I cannot cry although I want nothing more than to do jsut that right now. Now is when I need strength. I hear Harvey unbotton his shirt and then throw it off his body. I do not want to look at him, not ebfore I really have to. I am trying to gather some strength. I am trying to gather some strength to avoid pushing him away when he comes to help me get out of my gown.

I do not want to. Not with him. But I have to.

But how can I give myself to a man that I do not love? I cannot give him my heart so why should I give him anything else?

He lets the sleeves of my gown slide down my arms. Moments alter the gown slides down my body to be pooled around my feet. I raise my arms to shield my chest from the sudden cold but otherwise does not move an inch.

I try to block the sound of my husband loosening his belt and stepping out of his shoes. Or when he steps out of his pants and walks towards me.

I still do not move an inch. I shiver when I feel his breath on my neck and his arms around my waist.

"Mary," he says gently. "There is nothing to be afraid of".

I do not reply. But I do not resist when he guides me towards the bed.

The last of our clothing disappears and I try to imagine that it is not Harvey with the dark brown, nearly black, hair and the green eyes but Brian with the light brown hair and grey eyes. I can no longer hold back the tears. They run down my cheeks now. Harvey thinks it is because of the pain and he is partly right, but the pain I am thinking of is a different one.