{Prose}: The Vows (and the Church Bells Played On)

She wore a red silk dress that skimmed the ground as she walked. It felt like wearing scarlet rain, the way the material slicked against her smooth skin. She stood in the snow, the red silk pooling under her feet like a puddle of blood. In her lightly curled hair, she had tucked a decorative comb. Her back was turned as though she had grown accustomed to looking away. Her green eyes were stabbed with tears that kept threatening to ruin her flawless eye liner and mascara. Her hands trembled when an icy wind blew past her. The weeping willow was laden with crystals of ice, sodden with snow. She had remembered picnics in the past underneath the weeping willow, lying out on a picnic blanket, reciting poetry to him.

She heard foot steps crunching through the snow. Her eyes brightened, though tears still threatened to needle out. She kept her back turned, patience her finest virtue. A virtue she had to fine tune over the years as to ascertain she had at least one redeeming trait. When the vicar stepped forward from the forest, she turned to face him, her head tilted up like a flaming lily desiring water. The man she loved walked toward her. His suit hung loosely on his body, the tie and pocket square a matching blue-purple. Not the color of a fresh bruise, rather it looked as though both were woven with metallic silk because there were hints of silver. The color flashed brightly against the black of his lapel.

Her family was nowhere in sight, and his mother stood patiently, her thin frame draped in an expensive dress, her gnarled hands trembling as she watched the groom walk forward. The young woman’s eyes were trained on the groom as well, and the vicar flipped through his book. Onto the young woman’s finger the groom had slipped a ring. When they exchanged vows, they kissed deeply, passionately. The vicar turned his head as though ashamed.

And the church bells played on. The young woman knelt in the garden afterwards, a figure broken in half by the bowing of her body and her knees capped in snow. Her shoulders trembled with tears as she prayed. No one knew if they were tears of joy or of immense sadness for her eyes when she turned back to her groom were immensely cloudy, and before she could stand, the snow began falling again.

-L.G.

 

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