My girl Annette got married. Hold on, this was no ordinary wedding. I was not one of those guests who attended the event as an excuse to flaunt a dressy little piece. Or one of those who arrived fashionably late to make spiteful remarks about the choice of theme colour, or the ineptness of the caterer, or the unnatural look of the bride and her maids. You know, girls being girls? No.
I had a different view this time round, literally speaking. Annette had honoured me in a way that humbled me beyond expression: she had asked me to be her Maid of Honour. On this day, I was standing behind her; standing behind the bride.
It was a warm February afternoon as the violinists and pianist tapped their instruments beckoning Annette to start her walk down the aisle; an aisle that had been neatly lined up with tulips and hydrangeas. Annette waited a few moments before she took the coveted first step. The lush pure tunes of the instruments gracefully bounced off the walls of the cathedral, filling with air with an ethereal mood that slowed down every motion to a whisper. The guests rose up in unison and turned to face Annette and her parents. Everyone held their breath.
As I stood there at the altar, watching Annette take the walk flanked by her parents – her teary father to her right and her dazed mother to the left – flashbacks of the past several months came to mind.
I remembered the church rehearsal, only a few days earlier. The marches and the bows were choreography in their own right; a synchronised dance that begged for the partners to lead and be led, to know when to smile and when to bow our heads. I thought back to the Hen’s Night. I cracked a smile as I remembered how we danced late into the night. How, in our some simple form of pomp and glamour, we let our hair down and led the ‘hen’ out of the pen into the world of her ‘cock’ .The night echoed with Annette’s plastered laugh and her sporadic tears. Good fun. I thought back to the dressmaker and how she came up with tales as to why the gowns were not ready. Somehow, we learnt to tolerate her excuses and summoned the patience to handle her constant disappointments. I recall the effort of putting together a team of reliable service providers. And to the countless chats that we had exchanged on whatsApp and whatnot. Our very own online wedding committee.
But now several months later, here we were. All that activity now seemed like fanfare compared to the enormity of this simple march down the aisle. Somewhere, somehow along the way, we had lost sight of what we truly were here for. And this? This moment as we watched on, this was the reason why. This was it. Our girl was being given away. Our girl was a bride. The Bride.
Its sheer beauty overwhelmed me. Tears were no longer an option; not for me, not for her parents, not even for the groom. But still, I found myself blinking them back in. I battered my eyelids so quickly that they had no chance to roll down my cheeks. But a man can only fight back his tears for so long. They finally and stubbornly found their way out. It wasn’t too long before I heard the sniffs of the bride maids behind me, and the cameras zooming in to capture this priceless moment. Annette kept her eyes fixed forward. All seemed to be silent around her.
My tears stopped rolling when the violinists and the pianist struck their final chords. The chords echoed across the cathedral before everything went silent. The guests took their seats, and the bride found her place beside her groom. The day had only just begun.