Everything was perfect. The flowers look stunning and smell great. The table has each guest's name in the correct place. The candles are lit on every side. The food arrived on time, and everyone kept talking about the beautiful tall cake with flowers and water drops on its sides to make it look more like a fairy tale. The band played the most lovely song this evening. Yeah, everything was perfect, just like her vision, but why did she feel the lump on her chest getting bigger until it suffocated her each time has passed?
She knows she is nervous; she's been feeling like this since they announced the wedding date, but today just makes everything feel more real. Everything is getting clearer, yet still blurry in her head. She knows this will happen eventually, but she still can't shake the feeling of losing something. Something important.
Knocking on the door felt like a bucket of cold water, and the breeze of the wind reminded her that she was really in there. In her own wedding ceremony with no place to go but to accept her fate. Looking at the big oak door was the only thing that separated her from reality, and yet she kept wishing she had more time to hide from her responsibilities.
"Alice, are you done yet?"
A man wearing the best suit she had ever seen stood proudly at the door. People think highly of him for how he succeeded in his business and brought his family name into a higher place in just a few years, but as powerful as it seems, Alice still thinks her father is more scared to lose his fortune than to think about her daughter's happiness. She can't even talk herself out of this arrangement they call marriage.
"One second, Dad," another voice, more lively than it should be, answered on her behalf. She forgets that her sister is here; maybe she needs to start to stop dissociating like her father always scolds her about and learn to stay present. She prays her soon-to-be husband is far from her father and more like the men that are made from ink and the fantasy of a prince in her favorite book or a man with golden strands.
A veil drop on her face and the translucent fabric makes her other senses pick up because she has lost one of her senses, and it makes the brewing anxiety in her stomach feel more powerful.
"Now come on, don't make them wait."
Her father yanked her hand to make the message more clear; he meant not to embarrass him, yet she couldn't argue when she holds his forearm tightly to be her guide in this cruel reality. The walk felt like a long way, and each step made her breath shallow to the point where she needed a pause to learn how to breathe again. The dread continues until Alice feels her father stop, and now she finds another skin touching her. The foreign hands feel too big in hers, and it feels so wrong that Alice feels burns where the hands touch her. This is not the hand she hopes to hold forever.
Before she knew it, the priest had begun the ceremony, and she kept her head down during the entry time, wishing everything would stop and let her get away from this wedding, from her father, from her responsibility, and just to take the golden man's hand, but her dreaming got interrupted when two long hands lifted her veil and took her breath away.
Alice might think too lowly of her father and brave herself if that man really needed so much power to wed her to an old man, or worse, become his second or third wife, but now what she's looking at isn't anything she imagined. The groom looks young, with a strong face and soft smile that she knows will make his life easy, but the glimpse of her reflection in his eyes makes her want to scream. The burn on her skin flared again, and now she can't keep looking at her future with this man; his strong posture will break her body, and his smart mouth will hurt her ears.
Alice's body isn't new to panic; she keeps her guard high every time she steps outside her safe bubbles, but right now everything broke into shattering glass, cut her mind, and paralyzed her body. The loss of the veil from her eyes hasn't given her vision. Everything was blurry, abstract, and too bright to see, but she stood still when the wolf that wore a sheep mask got closer to finishing the bonding with her.
"STOP THE WEDDING"