Never to Have and to Hold

He sat quietly in the pew and listened as the couple in front of him recited their vows. His head swam with images of what could have been, what should have been and what had been. They had become close over the years. He counted her as one of his true friends; someone he could confide in. They had been co-workers, colleagues and friends – and once, only once they had been lovers. It could have been more but he was afraid; afraid that he would ruin something special.

And so, he withdrew and eventually she had found someone else. It wasn't easy sitting in the pew and listening to her voice as she promised herself to another man. But he had made his choice. When the preacher asked if anyone should object to the union he felt the eyes of their teammates on him. They would support him with whatever he decided to do. It would be so easy to speak up and make a fool of himself. But he wasn't a foolish man… and yet.

He twitched head lowered and stared at the tips of his freshly shined shoes until the moment passed. As he raised his head his eyes caught hers and he saw a flash of disappointment. He sucked in a breath, opened his mouth to speak as she turned away and smiled at the man before her. He settled back in his seat, closed his mouth and accepted his fate. Never to have and to hold from this day forward.