We stood there.
Feet shuffled. Not because it was cold. Because we were waiting.
Some of us dared to whisper. Some, at the front, glanced back, hoping to see her. To get the first look.
That’s where he was. At the front. Waiting. With his brother.
I should have been stood next to him, my best friend. When he asked me, all those months ago, I said no. I couldn’t. I thought his brother should be there instead.
“Because that’s where brothers should be, right?”
I was happy with that, and I think he was too. Maybe not when I said no, but now, while he waited. Having his brother by his side felt right.
He looked at me, over the heads and hats, nodding the words, “You OK?”
His question wasn’t for me. Not really. But I smiled and nodded. This is how he is, my best friend. He asks me questions, but they’re not for me. They’re for him. It’s his way. Of asking for help. Reassurance. Or something else he’s scared to surface.
Because he had to be the man of the house when his dad left. And that meant being strong. Not showing emotion, or feelings at least. Anger was fine. Joy. Jealousy. Lust. And dominance, that was a must-show. Because he was the man of the house, when his dad left.
But it didn’t stop him feeling scared. Not then. Not now, while he was waiting for her.
That’s why he looked at me.
“She’s coming,” I mouthed.
Wanting to know she was coming. Hadn’t changed her mind.
That he was still loved.
But if she’d changed her mind…
He knew he’d be lost.
That’s how he knew he loved her. Because being found is love. He called and she came. She called and he came. They cared enough to listen. Enough to leave, and come back. Enough to say yes. And no. They cared enough to love.
He never told me any of that. Didn’t have to. I saw it in his face one day. His eyes were glinting. Happy. I could have beaten him with a stick and he would have let me.
“She’d coming,” I mouthed again.
He nodded, let a deep breath out and turned to his brother.
And then, she was here. The shuffles and whispers silenced.
She walked towards the altar, father at her side. I smiled as she passed me and whispered,
“You look beautiful.”
“Thank you,” she mouthed.
I held my breath. I didn’t want to cry. I looked at him, watching her, smiling, his brother at his side.
She reached him, found him, at the altar. She hadn’t changed her mind. He took her hand as she took a step, lifting her skirt up so she didn’t trip.
The vicar spoke to them. A woman by his side moved her lips and fingers, arms and face, translating his words. A silent symphony.
When it came to the part about anyone in the congregation knowing of any just cause or reason these two shouldn’t be together, he looked back at us. She looked at him, smiling and tutted. We laughed.
The vicar and the signer carried on.
When they said I do, everyone cheered. They walked down the aisle and out of the church. A few clouds hanging overhead, but not enough to stop the sky from shining blue.
The next and last thing I remember was the song.
They stepped into the middle of the dance floor.
And then it began.
A few notes at a time, rising and falling gently. A sonnet but not a sonnet. He led the way. She moved with him, only a step or two, now and then out of time.
We all watched.
We all heard Romeo and Juliet play to the end.
Except for her.