| Slight breezes fill the air on this beautiful day. The cherry blossom trees had finished blooming and the sweetest smell filled his lungs. As the breeze blew through the un-expecting cherry blossom trees, the breeze gently picked the petals off the branches and carried the petals across the lawn in a beautiful spiral. Robert watching the petals be carried off thought to himself “this day is the day that I leave all my foolish mistakes behind and I will be leaving my past behind to start my future with my best friend and soul mate, Claire.”
The court yard, divided into three sections, had a peaceful and tranquil feeling. Time worn stone surrounded the only entrance into the beautiful court yard. An Iron Gate with magnificent design smiled at Robert in the center of the weathered wall of stone. A marble stoned path showed the way to the other areas of the court yard. As the path lead through the green grassy lawn, a beautiful crystal clear fountain greeted whoever walked around to the last section of the court yard. Robert’s fiancée, Claire, had fallen deeply in love with the beautiful court yard and asked her longtime family friend, Pastor Charles, if they could hold the wedding ceremony here instead of in the sanctuary.
As Robert followed the marble path through the archway decorated with white and red roses, he halted at the crystal clear fountain. Looking past the fountain towards the white satin covered chairs that aligned with the pathway, he thought about how perfect this day, in spring, would become. As his reflection stared back at him, he made final adjustments to his traditional tuxedo and black bow tie. Thomas, Robert’s best man, interrupted his train of thought.
“Not getting cold feet are you?” Thomas questioned as he placed his hand on Robert’s right shoulder.
“No,” Robert answered as he turned toward Thomas, “I am just worried what the future might bring. I love Claire with all my heart. I do not want to hurt or wrong her in anyway. Today, I am making the biggest decision of my life since proposing to Claire.”
“This is true,” nodded Thomas, “hey, any woman that would still say yes to their boyfriend after he vomited on her after proposing is someone you cannot do wrong to.”
As Thomas and Robert laughed, they decided to exit the court yard and help usher the people in the parking lot to their seats. Once everyone had taken their seats; Robert and Thomas walked to the rose covered canopy next to Pastor Charles. Pastor Charles and Robert reminisced about the rehearsal the night before. Robert’s palms started sweating along with his racing heart. To calm Robert, Pastor Charles had asked him, “You know why the man stands on the right, don’t you?”
Robert being the sly guy responded, “of course because the man is always right.”
Hearing Robert’s reply, Pastor Charles laughter filled the area and he said “No! The man stands on the right because he will never be right after he says I do. “
A sweet melody need filled the air as the bridal court gracefully walked down the aisle, cutting Robert and Pastor Charles’ memory short. Right on cue, everyone stood and turned to face the archway. Looking past the group of family and friends, Robert witnessed the gate opening while Claire walked slowly through the archway with her arm linked with her father’s arm. Watching her gracefully down the aisle, Robert gazed in awe of his beautiful fiancée and soon to be his wife. Claire, covered in a beige wedding dress, holding a bouquet of red and white roses, walked slowly to the rose covered canopy. Robert stepped forward and held his hand to Claire as Claire and her father smiled at one another. He gently kissed her on the cheek as he handed Claire to his soon to be son-in-law.
As Pastor Charles blessed their marriage, Robert, slowly lifted Claire’s veil, beneath the veil her pink rosy lips awaited the kiss from her true love. When Robert and Claire’s lips interlocked, family and friends started clapping and whistling in pure happiness. After pulling apart, Robert whispered in Claire’s ear that he will always love her and cherish her no matter what life has in store for them. Smiling at one another, they turned to face the crowed and started walking down the marble path as newlyweds towards the magnificent Iron Gate that smiled with hope. The beautiful horizon greeted them with a beautiful smile and sunset.
Even though the wedding had been small, the reception turned out to be lively and filled with happiness. Mingling, dancing, and conversing, the rhythm of Claire and Robert’s heart felt at peace in one another arms as they shared their first dance as husband and wife. As Claire’s father took Claire’s hand, Robert watched in awe as she and her father graciously danced across the dance floor. As they settled down into their seats for the final toast, Thomas smiled at Robert and begun the embarrassing story how Robert proposed to Claire.
As everyone said their good-byes, Mr. and Mrs. Donaldson headed to their golden chariot. Walking across the sidewalk, everyone threw bird seed symbolizing the final farewell of the newlyweds. At the golden chariot, the beautiful bride gathered up all the single ladies in a group. When she finished turning around, she tossed her bouquet of roses into the anxious awaiting crowd of single women. The beautiful bouquet of roses, flying through the air, their boyfriends panicked and held their breath, hoping the woman who received the beautiful gift was not their girlfriends. The bouquet of roses flew over the single women’s head and nailed Thomas in his soft complex face. With cat-like reflexes, he caught the bouquet, looking stunned and doomed.
Claire and Robert, laughing at the misguided bouquet, the two newlyweds happily waved and yelled their “I love you” as they stepped into the golden chariot.
Three years have passed since that beautiful day in spring, the day Robert felt true happiness and bliss. Two months ago, Clair passed away during child birth and Robert tried to stay strong for their family and friends. Making his way to the church, Robert fought back the tears and focused on driving to the church court yard where he and Claire said their wedding vows. Pulling into the parking lot, turning the car off, exhaling, looking at the court yard, stepping out of the court yard, he headed toward the Iron Gate. As Robert started walking towards the sympathetic gate, he remembered how beautiful gate was on his wedding date.
Walking through the protesting gate, down the marble path, Robert found himself at the once crystal clear smiling water fountain. The beautiful water fountain sprinkling started to fade as he focused on that beautiful day in spring. Twisting his wedding band around his finger, he remembered how beautiful his wedding had been and Claire, his beautiful bride walking down the aisle. Closing his eyes, sliding down the side of the water fountain, Robert could not fight the tears any longer as they streamed from his eyes and down his soft cheeks.
Following Robert into the court yard, Pastor Charles watched in sorrow as Robert’s tears fell to the ground from a distance. Finally, walking up to Robert, Pastor Charles took a seat next to him and held his hand as Robert’s tears continued to fall. Pastor Charles, holding Robert, asked if he was okay. Robert, looking at Pastor Charles with blotchy, puffy, blurry eyes, answered “I have hit rock bottom, Charles. I cannot hold my tears back anymore. Waking up without Claire is a nightmare that I cannot wake up from and my heart feels empty. The guilt is eating me up inside because I feel responsible for her death.”
“Robert, why do you blame yourself for her death?” Pastor Charles asked sympathetically.
Robert, sounding hoarse from crying, replied, “Pastor, Claire and I knew the chances of us having a baby with her medical issues would prove too be difficult. Wanting a child so badly, she decided to try and have a baby for my stake; however, if I had not been so blinded by my selfishness, she would still be alive.”
“Robert, you are not selfish! Claire wanted to have a family and be a mother. She wanted the both of you to live here because she knew this area would be a great place to raise a family. Neither you nor Claire expected that things would turn out this way. It is okay to miss her, Robert, and reminisce over the memories you two shared together; however, Claire would want you to grieve and find peace. She would want you to quit blaming yourself for her death and move on,” Pastor Charles explained.
“I will not get remarried, Charles," sniffled Robert.
“No one is saying you have to get remarried or start back into the dating scene. You need the time to morn; therefore, people are not expecting you to heal right away,” Pastor Charles explained, “they understand that you need time to release your sorrow and guilt; however, you cannot wallow in grief forever. You will have to walk out that Iron Gate sooner or later.”
As Pastor Charles and Robert watched in silence, the breeze started blowing through the cherry blossom trees in the court yard, carrying the carefully picked petals through the gate as it closed, softly.
Word Count: 1580