Writing Challenge #3, “Wedding Day”

“Wedding Day”

Jannica reflects upon her relationship with her fiancé as she gets ready to walk down the aisle during her unusual wedding in an arcade.

“Jannica, I can’t believe you let James talk you into this,” Beth said as we waited at the rear of the arcade.  She nearly had to shout for me to hear her over the clanging of the skee-ball lanes we stood beside.  I rolled my eyes, but didn’t bother to respond to her comment.

The first time I’d met James, I’d been 17, just starting my senior year of high school.  The August night outside was calm and humid, but inside the Game Arcade, it was noisy and cool.  I stood at the same skee-ball lanes, hefting the smooth wooden ball in my hand, judging my next roll.  As I rolled, a ball, twin to the one I held in my hand, skipped across three of the lanes and sank easily into my 100-point ring.  My ball settled glumly into the bottom fissure, earning me no points.  As the bells above my lane began to ring and tickets spouted out of the slot, I glared over at the boy who had thrown the errant ball.  He grinned at me from underneath a mop of curly auburn brown hair.  James had been confident and cocky then, and I’d given him a shoulder that matched the frigid arcade temperature before he could do much more than tell me his name.

A hush fell over the arcade as the skee-ball lanes fell silent.  The opening strains of Patchelbel’s Cannon in D began to float through the unnatural quiet.  I could hear the creak of wooden seats as 150 people turned almost in unison to watch two of the ushers unroll a pristine white runner.

The second time I’d met James, I was working my way through college at a local coffee place.  I’d taken a pot of coffee out into the dining room to refill empty cups with the fragrant brown beverage.  He grinned at me the same way he had at the Arcade, then pinched my bottom.  I’d “accidentally” spilled the rest of the coffee pot into his lap.

The apple-red satin of Emily’s dress swished around her ankles as she began her slow march to the front of the Arcade.  Beth handed her bouquet of American Beauties to my sister, Michaela, and fussed with the train of my long, white wedding dress.

James turned up in my Comparative Literature class my junior year of college.  Stuck in a situation where I couldn’t just walk away, I was forced to actually get to know the mischievous boy from the Arcade and the coffee shop.  I finally, at the end of the semester, agreed to a date.  “Just one,” I acquiesced, “and you’ll leave me alone?”   He laughed delightedly, and agreed to my terms.  “But,” he said with a sly smile, “I won’t try to stop you if you decide you want to see me again.”

Beth took her bouquet back from Michaela. My sister then tossed her gleaming dark hair back from her face, and followed Emily down the makeshift aisle.  Beth grimaced, preparing for her own walk.  I leaned over and whispered into her ear, “It’s okay, Beth, I got used to the idea.  Now I think it’s…different and fun.”  Beth looked over her shoulder at me, and managed a small, ironic smile.

James took me to Carlolina Arcade for our “one” date.  The arched stone columns were decorated by climbing ivy and small white lights.  James had packed us a light picnic of strawberries, chocolate, and sparkling grape juice.  At dusk, the Arcade looked like a fairy kingdom.  Between the lights and James feeding me strawberries and chocolate, I fell in love.  I didn’t even mind when he sprayed me with the sparkling grape juice after tossing the bottle around, trying to impress me.

The music swelled, signaling that Beth should begin her walk down the aisle to join the rest of the wedding party.  She gave me a brief hug, then kissed my cheek.  “As long as you’re happy,” she said quietly, then turned on her heel and moved into place.  One last glance back, and she began to slowly sashay up the aisle.  I stood alone at the back of the Arcade, still half-lost in my memories.

James proposed at the site of our first date, underneath the same softly glowing stone arch where he’d sprayed me with grape juice.  “I’m glad you wanted to see me again,” he said softly, pulling the black velvet box out of his pocket.  Inside was a ring made of chocolate, which he made me wear.  We ate it together, giggling like five year olds as he licked the last bit of chocolate off of my knuckle.  He slipped the real ring onto my finger as he whispered, “I love you.”

The music paused, and there was a collective inhalation as our guests stood up and turned away from the front, looking eagerly at me.  I felt myself flush, slightly embarrassed by all of the attention, waiting for the music to resume.

“Let’s get married at the Arcade,” James suggested later that month.  I happily agreed, thinking of a beautiful twilight ceremony, lit only by the lights that twined around the high arches of Carlolina Arcade.   James eagerly put down the deposit, amazed I’d agreed so quickly.  I told him how beautiful the spot of our first date was, and he looked puzzled.  “I was talking about the Game Arcade, where we first met…and that deposit is non-refundable…”  We argued for weeks about the Arcade, almost breaking up several times.  I had visions of the big traditional wedding with the big traditional reception to follow; James wanted something different and off the wall.

My music started softly, and I took one last deep breath and began my slow waltz to the alter.  James waited for me, face aglow. I realized that it mattered not how we were married, but that we were married.  As I finally reached the front and slid my hand into James’ outstretched one, I whispered, “I love you.”

Published in: on August 27, 2009 at 10:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

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