A Winter’s Tale

22 May

A Winter’s Tale

By Tadalena Warner
(I wrote this in February of this year in hopes of winning a contest.  It didn’t work out so I am deciding to share it with you.  It’s a quick read, only 1872 words.  Tell me what you think.  I’d love to hear ways I could improve my writing.  Thank you in advance for your time and careful reading.  Enjoy.)

It is a beautiful winter morning.  Granted, it is frickin’ cold for Phoenix this year; it must be twenty degrees outside, but I am not deterred.  Today is going to be a glorious day!  As I sit on the bed, watching the cardinals flittering about the tree just beyond my window, I am reminded how precious this day is and how much I wish my mother were here.

I am sad one minute and giddy the next.  My head is spinning like a top while thoughts race through my heart to my head until I think I am going to puke.  We are getting married today and I hardly slept a wink last night.

The snow on the ground is beautiful.  It is perfect for the colors we picked out, black and white with touches of blood red for accent.  You will look grand in your kilt and bolero.  My dad will be there and perhaps my brother. There has not been any word on whether or not they will grant him leave.  He had to contact the American Red Cross to get to see mom before she died.  At least Nancy, Aunt Trixie, Aunt Elaine, and grandma will be here.  It will be a good day.

“Hey there sleepyhead” Claire pokes her head inside my room to check on me.  “You ready for some coffee?”  She is so good, always looking to do anything for anyone.  Claire is the mother of Jodie and Scott, two of Cory’s best friends and mine.

“Not yet, I think I will be my shower and meet you downstairs in a bit.”  My stomach is still doing summersaults and I fear that coffee would only make matters worse.

“Okay, just holler if you change your mind, I won’t be too far.  Cory and Jake are looking for his shoes.  Seems he forgot them or lost them somewhere between here and where they stayed last night.”

“Uh, okay.”  I am still too nervous to give a proper reply.  What if’s keep running through my head.  What if I slip and fall?  What if I forget something?  Good grief, what if I forget my name?  Wait, what is my name?  Oh yeah, it is Laura, uh no it is not.  Oh my, it has happened already, I have lost it!  Get a grip Sweets, your name is Darla.

*****

Running down stairs, I almost trip over my own feet.  I see Becky coming from the dining room where they are finishing breakfast.  “Take her easy, Darla.  Don’t wanna see you hurt on your big day.”  She calls out before slipping into the powder room.  This house is enormous and grand beyond my wildest dreams.  The coquina floors have a warm glow that compliments the décor.  There is a large spiral staircase at the main entry of the house.  To the left is an alcove where there is a mini bar of onyx marble and gold fixtures.  Beyond that is a grand dining area.  The furniture is ornate and fine and the carpet beneath my feet is of the finest silks from India.  The beauty is breathtaking!

“Did you guys save any for me?  I am starved!”  I go to help myself, but am motioned to sit where there is already a place setting.  Good gravy, I can see my reflection in the spoon.  Not half bad if I say so myself.  “Everything looks delicious.”

“Did you sleep well?”  It is Rachel she is Becky’s mother.

“As well as can be expected; actually, I think I got two hours in all.”

“You aren’t getting cold feet are you?”  She asks, knowing all too well the answer.

“Not on your life, this is the day I have been waiting for!  It has been a long time coming.”  At least it feels like it has been an eternity since we decided to take the plunge into matrimony.

It all came rather quickly after the death of my mother.  She struggled for almost six months before her body gave out.  The cancer ravaged her body and mind, but not her spirit.  I do miss her.  It is all I can do to keep my composure when asked about her these last couple of months.  She passed in November and it is now the middle of January.  Some say I rushed into marriage all too quickly after her passing, but it felt as though God was leading me.  I take another sip of my coffee and look out the dining room window.  Clouds have gathered and the sky has turned a dismal shade of gray and blue.  Off in the distance, I can see that it is starting to drizzle.  Confound it; we are having an outside wedding!  As I take one last bite of my eggs and toast, I am reminded of how short time is before we say our I do’s and now I have to check about the rain.

*****

Racing back up stairs, I bump into Jessica.  “Did you see the sky?”  I ask.

“No, not yet, why?”

“It’s dark and starting to drizzle.”  Everyone has started to arrive.  The hall is buzzing with half-clad women and their mothers tugging at dresses, ribbons, and curlers.  “Have you seen Rebecca?”

“I saw her a moment ago.  She was heading to the parlor to get her hair done.  I have to go help Scarlet.”  With that, she was off, down the hall, and plain out of sight before I knew it.

I am scurrying down the stairs, fighting against the flow of traffic, and desperately trying not to fall.  It is funny when I hear people use the term fall or falling when pertaining to matters of love.  To fall denotes a matter of catastrophe or at least mild injury.  Falling in love…anyway, it leaves me as quickly as it entered.

As I step into the foyer, I am desperately trying to remember in which direction is the parlor.  There are so many rooms to this house that they should have a map.  Down the main hall, I can see four, no six doors; all of which are shut.  Which one…which one?  Well, when all else fails, knock on all of them.

Door 1-Knock knock:  (No answer)

Door 2-Knock knock:  “Yes”

It’s Ms. Caitlin, she’s Carrie’s mom.  “Have you seen Rebecca?”

“Not in the last hour, what’s going on?”

“It’s starting to look like rain and I was wondering if she could check to see if they have ideas; umbrellas or something.”

“Well, I am sure we could probably figure something out.”

“Don’t you worry none, it is your day to shine, be happy, and smile.  I need to get back to work”

“Okay, I won’t keep you.”  She is right; things are going to be great.  We have prayed about and for this day for months.  Nothing could possibly spoil today.  With that, I skip the remaining doors and head back upstairs to help my bridesmaids.

*****

It is a wonderful sight to see.  Al my dearest friends are hurrying about just for Cory and me.  They are helping one another do their hair.  Some are helping adjust dresses or mend tears in stocking with nail polish.  Some are even helping by running to get drinks.  With that, many bodies in one-room things are bound to get warm.  Therefore, what do we do to remedy that, we turn down the air and keep going.

“Darla,” a voice calls from behind.  Turning, I can see it is Francis.  She is the youngest of my bridesmaids.

“Yes”

Holding out her gown, “I can’t figure out how to put this on.  There are so many zippers in the way and it just doesn’t make any sense.”

I look at her and her complete frustration and smile.  “Okay, this is how…”  With a little help and giggling, we manage to get her dressed and looking beautiful.

Only forty-five minutes until show time and I am standing for the full length mirror in my room.  I look at the beading on my gown.  It is beautifully done and reminds me of the piece I made my mom when I was younger.  It was a small tufted pillow in soft pastels and mauve.  I embroidered organza silk roses with ribbon leaves.  The beading was sparse, but overall it was pretty.  Seeing the look of joy in my mother’s eyes was worth every needle prick and the bandages.  I miss her terribly.  She should here today.  She should be the one helping me with my hair or helping me adjust my gown.  Cory would not even let me order a groom’s cake for today.  Tradition says the mother of the groom is supposed to make the cake.  It is also supposed to be in the groom’s favorite flavors, but since his mom passed, he said, ‘no other woman should ever have sweet dreams because of me.  I belong to you.’

The rain is starting to clear and there is a hint of blue in the sky.  It could not have happened at a better time!

Fifteen minutes remaining.  I can feel the butterflies swelling in my stomach.  I’d rather they were dancing in the air, but such is life.

Knock knock:  Claire has popped her head in the door.  “Are you ready?”  I nod and smile.

The large double doors leading to the courtyard are impressive.  They are stained mahogany with ornate carvings.  As we get closer, I can see what looks to be my brother.  I am not wearing my glasses, so it is difficult to tell.  It is him!  He is dressed in his Navy uniform.  Awe, he looks so handsome.  I am trying to run, but it is not easy carrying around the weight of this gown.  With tears running down my cheek, we embrace.

“Hey, stop it; you will ruin your make up.”  He said.

“I am just so happy you made it” was my reply.

“It is time; we need to get you in position.”  Claire piped in.

“Okay”

“You look amazing” My brother is the consummate flatterer.

Claire is almost frantic when she grabs my shoulders.  “Come on, we have got to go.”

“Okay…okay”

“Go on, it is time”

*****

‘Thank you,’ I mumble under my breath.

“Huh?”

“Can you believe it, for or a moment there, I was certain they would keep him from coming.”

“It is a wonderful blessing.”  Claire says.

I can hear the wedding march play as I take my dad’s arm.  The flower girl has gone as have the last of my bridesmaids.  Clutching dad’s arm we begin our walk.  As we pass through the doors the chilling air hits my cheeks and shoulders, but I am not deterred.  My eyes and heart are focused on the man standing at the end of my journey.  A few more steps and we are there.

Finally, dad passes me off to Cory.  Standing before the man of my dreams, I can hardly contain my excitement or my tears.  This is by far the happiest moment of my life!  Taking the handkerchief from his jacket, Cory dabs my eyes and leans in to whisper ‘I love you’ in my ear.

Thank you, Jesus for your love and many blessings.

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