My home fell victim to much hustle and bustle during the days before the wedding. Random family members that I'd never met before scurried here and there, and made nests in our living room. I avoided it the best I could without seeming unsocial. I didn't want to attract attention to my downtrodden mood. I didn't want to bring anyone else down with me - it wasn't my style. I sulked in my room and attempted to feign illness.
I wished the wedding day would come more quickly, so that it could be over, and I could return to my solitude miles away, drowning myself in my academics. My thoughts were beleaguered with disbelief that I had fallen for my little brother's girlfriend…fiancé…wife. It really took conscious effort to correct myself on her actual status in relation to him. The real tragedy lay in my knowledge that she didn't love him. Only I knew, and I would never tell him, as it would break his heart. I'd keep it to myself forever. My new business cards would say: Ren Stevens, Almost a Home-Wrecker.
I woke up to my mother yelling outside of my bedroom door for me to hurry and get ready. I felt terribly empty, perhaps because I had only managed to snack on a few things over the past two days, but mostly because I knew it was finally the day of the wedding.
I rolled over and glanced at my clock. I had slept through my alarm, and had approximately an hour to prepare myself for the silly ceremony from Hell.
"Shit." I muttered. Heaven forbid I be late for something I didn't want to go to at all.
I grabbed a dress from my closet, performed all of the necessities, and straightened my hair.
"Ren, we're leaving!" My mom then yelled from downstairs and I slipped on my shoes.
"Coming!" I responded. I was in no condition to drive myself. I would have been far too tempted to drive into something along the way in order to miss the event.
We, my mom, dad, Donnie and I, piled into my dad's car, and my mom asked out of the blue, "Why didn't you be one of Tawny's bridesmaids?"
I cleared my throat, "I really don't know her that well."
"Hm." She said a little puzzled, "I thought you were good friends."
"Nah." I lied and then looked out the window.
"Ren, you really don't look well, honey…" My mom observed as we pulled out of the driveway to make our way to the chapel.
"Yeah, you're looking pretty rough." Donnie added.
I felt as if they were paying far too much attention to me with it being my brother's wedding day and all.
My feigned sickness evolved into actual sickness. My thoughts were making me sick. My mind kept wandering back to that night she showed up at my apartment, that night in Twitty's car, and those many nights when Louis was hanging out with Twitty and Beans, leaving his poor girlfriend stuck with me. Her words echoed in my mind, along with my phony responses, and what I should have said, all of the things I should have done. All of the ways this could have turned out differently.
"Ren, are you alright?" My mom said again.
"I'll be ok." I lied. I wouldn't be ok. I really wouldn't. This was torture. I was supposed to be over her by now – that was my plan.
"You've been studying instead of eating, haven't you?" Dad asked.
"Maybe…" I admitted, sheepishly. It wasn't terribly far from the truth, but wasn't the cause of my present nausea.
"Ren, is there something you need to talk about?"
Moms can sense things, but I denied it, "No. I'll be ok."
"You know you can talk to me."
"Eileen, stop pestering her." My dad said from the driver's seat as we pulled into the parking lot.
"Hush, Steve." She responded in a maternal tone to her husband.
"You look like you might vom," my older brother felt the need to say, "Man, that would be hilarious."
Mom glared at him, "You need to get inside, you're the best man." She shooed him on out of the car, "Get moving. Find Louis and give him a pep-talk or something."
He sulked out of the car to go find Louis and our grandparents.
"I'm fine…it's probably just something I ate…Aunt Marge's spinach dip or something. Don't worry about me and focus on Louis. Today is his day, not mine." That last sentence was pretty literal – it was certainly not my day. Not my week, month, or year.
I got out of the car, and resented that the day happened to be quite pretty…a lovely day for a wedding. The weather did not correspond to how I felt like I wanted it to.
As my parents mingled, I snuck on inside away from everyone. I didn't have the energy to pull smiles and meaningless chatter out of my ass. I sat down at the far end of the front pew on the groom's side, and propped myself up with my elbow. I stared at the mottled blue carpet. I glanced at the decorations, and also noted the blue-ness. This couldn't have been Tawny's doing. It looked nice, no less, and I hated it all the more.
I saw some movement out of the corner of my eye as the side door to the right of alter opened. Tawny poked her head out, I assume to take a final glance and make sure everything looked ok. She saw me and I perked up slightly, and she dipped back and shut the door as quickly as she opened it.
People began to trickle in, and get situated. The wedding march played, but in my head it sounded more like the funeral march. I watched as Tawny walked in. Her white gown blended nicely with her milky skin. It wasn't a particularly traditional one, it was plain and simple…no lengthy train dragging behind her, and the veil was small and also not elaborate. It contrasted sharply with her raven hair. She had it done up nicely, some loose curls dangling down, framing her face. She looked beautiful, and she smiled, looking only straight ahead.
The minister's words all sounded like garbled distant blathering. I stared at Louis, only at Louis. I tried to pretend he was marrying Ruby. It worked for about two seconds.
"Speak now or forever hold your peace," the man up front holding the Bible said. These words rang in my head clearly, piercing my thoughts.
I could think of reasons, multiple reasons.
I stood up.
Everyone looked at me.
And I looked around at the confused faces. I looked at Louis, his hands shaking. I looked at Tawny, she looked down and not at me. The all waited for me to say something, some people whispered. I knew it was about me. What is Ren Stevens doing? The Stevens girl has lost her mind. Is she going to say something? Why is she even standing?
I said nothing. I couldn't say a word, no matter how much I wanted to. Standing took everything I had, and I don't know why I even stood. I looked away from the front, and I walked around the corner of the pew then I walked to the back doors, taking the path by the wall, farthest from the aisle. I walked out. I walked out the way I came in, down the hallway, and out of the doors, leading into the light.
I walked out on everyone.
I walked completely out of the chapel, through the parking lot, and down to the sidewalk by the street. A few cars drove by as I stood in the shade of the trees that lined the road. I stood there for a while, waiting…I waited for someone to come out to find me, get me, bring me back in…something. I waited and nothing happened.
I didn't look back and I started to walk home.
I walked out on the person I loved and that was the end.