My Quarantine Wedding

The year 2020 has not been what any of us expected. That's an understatement to say the least. But a new year feels like a new start, and we welcomed 2020 with the blind optimism and hope that began every year. For my fiancé and me, 2020 held even more promise than years past. The light sparkling off my engagement ring mimicked the stars in our eyes, and we eagerly leapt into planning our wedding. Well, maybe it's more accurate to say that I eagerly leapt into planning our wedding. After all, I was the one who had literally spent hours (ok, days, who's counting?) of my life dreaming about this day. As my tastes had evolved through the years, so had the vivid details of my dreams. Elaborate, sparkling ball gowns transformed into simple, understated A-lines. Fancy venues and churches became scenic woods. Formal, brightly colored bridesmaid's dresses faded into flowing, natural hued gowns. Fall leaves blew away red rose petals. Casual, fun invites erased formal, fancy invitations. I could see it play out like a movie. Red and orange leaves whip through the air on the crisp, cool breeze. The green leaves left on the trees contrast sharply against the slate gray clouds threatening rain. Guests, dressed casually and prepared for weather, sit in chairs facing a clean white arch. Pachelbel's Canon begins, softly, cuing guests to turn around. My father stands next to me, waiting to walk me up the aisle. My family and friends smile in the audience. My bridesmaids stand in front of the arch, dresses blowing with the wind. There was just one detail that was never clear...my future husband. No matter how many times I revisited the dream, nothing changed; not until the moment I heard those four words I had been longing to hear: "Will you marry me?" The most beautiful words, coming from the most incredible, amazing man I had ever known. And in that moment, everything snapped into focus, and I saw him standing there, watching me walk up the aisle toward him, waiting to start our life together. And so, with the final piece of the puzzle in place, I waited (impatiently) for October 23, 2020. Then, COVID-19 flipped the world upside down. Cases escalated, every day life halted, and nothing was certain anymore. The world fell apart around us, and we were left with a decision. As reality set in, I retreated to my daydream of our special day. And I realized that something had changed. I watched the dream play out, but the details seemed different. The breeze had faltered, the colors dulled, the music muted. It was as if everything had faded—until I looked at him. I saw him smile at me, in full focus and clarity, and I realized that the wedding day I had dreamed of for so long wasn't as important to me as I had always believed. In that moment, I knew that what really mattered was getting to marry my best friend. Our wedding day was April 6, 2020, not October 23, 2020. Dead leaves rustled across the lawn in the soft, cool breeze. The green leaves growing on the bushes contrasted softly against the smoke gray clouds suggesting rain. Our five guests, dressed casually and hoping for good weather, sat in chairs facing a tree with sheer curtains draped over the branches, forming a makeshift arch. In lieu of Pachelbel's Canon, the young children next door provided running commentary loudly in the background. And my best friend and I walked up, hand in hand, to be married. As we started our life together, in a way we never would have expected, in a world that no one was prepared for, the details were suddenly more vivid, more beautiful, and more real than I ever could have imagined. And I knew that the memory of our wedding day would be far better than any dream.

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Michael Kelso

Author of Crime/Mystery novels, and short hor...

Schellsburg, United States