Carmen stared at the stately building through a hot splash of tears. It was 12:10 now, and it was over.
Everything was over.
Yet in another sense it was just beginning. Standing there in person on the edge of the narrow pathway added a whole new dimension to her grief.
She should have been the one to walk that path this morning. She should’ve been the woman in white, the radiant bride. It was she who should be packing for her honeymoon in Sardinia and starting a brand new life with Jake.
Apparently the universe had other ideas.
How bewildering, Carmen mused, that things, that people, can change so fast.
Carmen and Jake met as freshmen in high school Spanish class. One look at Jake was all it took. Fifteen years later Carmen is still hooked. Jake on the other hand, somehow became unhooked.
Two months ago, she and Jake were in love and planning for the future. A month later, he decided he “needed some time.” Today, Jake is married to some bartender and Carmen’s $2500 Christina Wu mermaid wedding gown is hanging in her closet, forever to remain in its protective plastic.
It wasn’t fair. She did nothing to deserve this. This was supposed to be her day and she’d be damned if anyone was going to ruin it.
Later that day…
Carmen admired her reflection in the mirror. The wedding gown was truly a work of art. Clearly, she thought, it had been designed with only her in mind. No one else could possibly wear it and look as beautiful. Her white silk pumps were a perfect match.
As the final touch Carmen took her grandmother’s pearl earrings from her jewelry box and carefully clipped one onto each earlobe.
“Sublime…” she smiled at the mirror. “I am ready.”
All dressed up with no place to go? Not exactly.
Carmen scooped up the small beaded pocketbook to hold her keys, lipstick and such, and glided out the front door.
She was unaware of the perplexed stares her shimmering gown and otherworldly demeanor provoked of passersby. As she made her way back to St. Paul’s, the four-foot train was stepped on more than a few times, but she didn’t notice that either.
Finally, Carmen was at the little path that lead to the chapel. She took a deep breath to calm herself, as well as to revel in the moment.
She drifted up the walkway, through the foyer and into the chapel. The church was empty of course, and there were no traces that anyone had been there. It was as if the wedding that should have been Carmen’s had never taken place.
Satisfied that things were as they should be, Carmen removed the pearl handled .380 from her beaded bag. She held the barrel to her temple, closed her eyes, and began her new life.