Fingers dance in tune with nerves, losing rhythm with the black tie around his neck, over, under, around and through...pulling it loose again, his sigh escaping in a hiss. How long he had loved her, and now she was gone...he would never love another. Tears contained memories of picnics shared in afternoon sun on red blankets, of new babies held carefully in their mothers arms receiving life's first kiss, of holding each other as those babies became men and began families of their own. Now the house was truly quiet, except the noise of his tired old bones....absent of life.
Briskly he brushed a shine into his stiff black shoes, admiring the wrinkles in his reflection, etched by anxious moments, filled to the rim with memories of skinned knees, lost jobs, her slow decline to cancer. Smiling at himself, he placed each captured thought of the last sixty five years into a gilded box for later, when he needed them. Smoothing the silver strands atop his head, fixing his face to keep it from cracking, he rose to stand by the door of the sanctuary, where he would make one more trip to the front.
Organs filled the air, their playful dirge, urging his procession toward tomorrow, causing his heart to flutter in anticipation. His eyes soaked up the faces of friends and family gathered to mark this moment in time, to always remember.
The clamber of the crowd rising to their feet, accompanied by the changing tempo of the music, all eyes turn and watch her smile from behind the veil, missing the tear rolling down his cheek. Forgetting custom he met her halfway down the aisle, taking her hand and leading her toward the beginning of something new...til death do them part.
Saturday, I had the privilege to watch two friends who found each other late in life, after each lost a spouse, joined in marriage. Even though there was a sniffle when they spoke that last line of their vows, the tenderness of their first kiss, drinking deep of one another, two becoming one, brought hope...its never too late, for new beginnings.