She’s a glorious bride. I don’t know how this day compares with her dream of the perfect wedding, if she had one, but her face is bliss. I’ve watched her since morning preside over the event like the owner of the day. I saw her take the news about the fallen cake without a twitch. Does it have a good side, she asked, for the photographer? I wanted to propose. A lifetime of knowing her has not prepared me to stand so near her on her wedding day, not next to her, not promised to her, but next to the one who is. When did she become this marvel who, on the altar, at this hour, before this raggedy crew of mismatched relatives and friends, makes us all look good? The ring I’m holding in my rented pocket keeps finding its way onto my finger. You want to know how she looks and I wish I could tell you. I only see the wedding dress in terms of how she shapes it, so for instance, my report on the neckline is that I would set up camp there if she let me. Her butt sits up so proud. I’m crass, okay, so maybe that’s why I’m one step behind and one to the right, over here peering past the groom to watch her framed against the faded oyster bridesmaids. I held out, and now it may be too late to make my move. How would she react, I wonder, this radiant spirit whose intelligence and grace entitle her to everything, but who instead is grateful, this girl to whom it never occurs not to be grateful—how will she react if I step past the groom when they ask for the ring and place it on her finger myself?

Copyright © May 25, 2008 David Hodges

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