It was a bright August afternoon, sunny and warm. David Emery was taking a walk through the park. He had completed teaching his classes at the junior college and was getting a bit of exercise before going back to the parking lot, and driving home. He lived in a modest apartment in Bentonville. There was a bench at the side of the path. He saw there was an
|I Can't Face This Wedding by Mario V. Farina|
attractive young woman seated on it. She was wearing a green and yellow dress. There was a white band on her head capping her long auburn and brown hair. She had a white bracelet on her left arm. Something about her impelled him to continue gazing as he walked toward her. She looked up as he came nearer. He noticed that her blue eyes were filled with tears. He knew that any problem the woman might be having was none of his business, and that he would have continued walking if it had been someone else, but there was something about this person that reached out to him and compelled him to stop for the purpose of speaking to her. "Pardon me Ms.," he said, "are you all right?" Her eyes glistened as she responded, "Yes, I'm fine. Thank you for asking, but there's nothing wrong." "I see tears in your eyes," he said. "Somehow, they don't confirm what you've just said. Is there something I can do to help." She looked down and did not respond. "May I sit here with you and chat for a little while? My name is David. I'm an instructor at the school." "Yes, you may, but I don't know why you would want to do that." "I know I'm being forward," he commented, "but something suddenly made me more bold than I normally am. Usually, I would have resisted the urge to make this request. Today, the words came out of my mouth before I could stop them." "I know what you mean about being careless with words. I suppose I'm afflicted with that tendency more than you. You're welcome to sit with me, if you want. There! I've just substantiated what I just said about being careless with words!" He sat beside her, and she turned her body toward his slightly. "Were you crying just now," he asked? "Yes, but it's not because of any major thing. I'm confronted with a problem that a lot of women would be overjoyed with," she smiled. She held out her left hand for him to see. "Do you see what my problem is?" "Not really." He took her hand in both of his and said, "I see you're engaged. Surely, this must give you a happy feeling." She retracted her hand from his and placed it in her lap. His reaction to what had just happened was a combination of sadness, and joy. He was sad because she was engaged and joyful because he had liked holding her hand, even if it had been for only a little while. He was twenty-four, and had been yearning for a loving someone with whom to share his life. "I can't face this wedding!" She remarked barely louder than a whisper. "Did someone force that ring onto your finger," he remarked partially in jest. She smiled. "No, but I said yes without meaning to. Now, I don't know how to undo my mistake." "I hope you won't think I'm prying," said David, "but would you mind telling me your name"? "Not at all. Though I've only known you for a few minutes, I believe I can trust you. My name is Molly Allison. I live a few blocks from here. I find sitting in the park comforting." "I feel as you do," said David. "It's as if I've known you all my life. I'm hopeful that if I make some suggestions about your problem, you won't feel I'm butting in." "Believe me, if you have any suggestions, I'll definitely welcome them. Do you see why I'm worried about my situation?" "Not yet. Is he a nice man," asked David? "Couldn't be nicer." "Did he tell you he loves you?" "Yes." "And did he ask you to marry him?" "Yes." "You said yes,"? "Yes." "Then why, for Heaven's sake, are you saying that you cannot face this marriage"? "Because I don't love him!" "Why, then, did you say yes"? "Because I felt that was the right thing to say. You see, we grew up together. I guess in the back of my mind and in Larry's, we were meant for each other from the beginning of time. But I came to realize, that this was not true. I have the highest regard for him, but don't have the feelings that I thought would be the right ones for a marriage." "Why haven't you told him this, so that you wouldn't have to face the marriage." "Because I said yes without thinking. As we were saying little while ago I put my mouth in motion before my brain had had a chance to decide what was the right thing to say." "And you think you would hurt him if you told him you wanted to cancel your engagement?" "That's exactly right!" "I feel so affectionate toward you right now," said David. "You are so thoughtful and so kind." "Thank you for saying that, David. I feel the same way about you." "I'm going to be bold again," he said nervously, "if you weren't engaged to Larry, would you consider being engaged to me?" She laughed. "David, you don't know anything about me! I could be a witch and make your life miserable. I could be a spendthrift and drive you to bankruptcy. I could make you wish that you had never stopped to talk to me! Are you out of your mind?" "I know all I need to know about you," said David. "But I do understand you don't know anything about me. You don't have to give me an answer right now. You can wait until you know me better." "You said, you felt as if you had known me all your life. I feel the same about you. Yes, I will wait a few days until I know you a little more, but I do believe I know how I'll feel at that time." Molly's cell phone played a little tune. She retrieved it from the leather bag that was lying at her side, opened it, and said, "Hello Larry." She listened for a few moments, then spoke again, "Yes, I've been thinking about that too." She listened again, this time for a longer time. Then she said, "I know how you feel, Larry. I thank you for what you're saying about me, dear one, and feel the same about you. We always believed that some day we'd be married. My folks love you and your folks love me. Everything seemed to be so perfect. You felt as if it was your duty to propose. Would you believe that I felt it was my duty to say the same thing. You have not hurt me at all! But I do want to tell you that I will always love you as if you were my twin. Yes, let's talk about this when I see you. Dear Larry, thank you for having had the courage to do what you just did!" She closed the phone and put it back in her bag. She turned to David, who noticed that tears were flowing down her cheeks in little rivulets. "Please pardon me for crying," she said. "I'm so overwhelmed by Larry's kindness for what he just did. He said he had not wanted to hurt me. He said he knew he and I were meant for each other in a way that was sacred, but not as a marriage. He solved my problem about not being able to face my wedding. May I cry on your shoulder?" He took her in his arms and allowed her to shed her tears to the point where they dampened the collar of his jacket. Then they looked at each other and began laughing. "I love you very much Molly," he murmured. "I never before believed in love at first sight but I do now!" "And I love you too," she responded. "I don't have to wait any longer to know you. Just as you knew me; now, suddenly, I know all I need to know about you." "Are we moving too fast," he queried?" "Nothing is too fast if it's right," she said. "And about our wedding," he asked, "how do you feel about our wedding?" "I can face our wedding, joyously," she responded. "I can face it with all my heart, and with all my body and soul!"