Tuesday, November 1, 2011

My Sister's Wedding

A blind date was the beginning of a romantic epic that lasted for 47 years. He was a sailor in the Australian Navy and she was a shy 15 year old testing the tepid tantalizing waters of dating. After the first encounter with Paul, Lorraine would write prolific pages of poetic prose to Paul and saturated each page with perfume and lipstick kisses.  They decided to marry as soon as she turned 18 and Lorraine started to plan and prepare for the big day. She wanted all the trimmings, the church wedding, reception and honeymoon.  The big day arrived, excitement and exhilaration filled the air and the atmosphere was electric with anticipation.  Our outfits were laid lovingly on the bed while we tripped off to the hairdressers to be pampered and adorned with pearls in our swept up hairstyle with soft curls framing our face. We chatted and giggled, delighting in the prospect of catching up with cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents and friends.

Upon arriving home we were confronted with the news that Paul was missing; no-one knew where he was. His parents had arrived from Tasmania and had not heard from him. His best friend had hitch hiked from Nowra because Paul had not arrived to pick him up as they had arranged. Phone calls were made to the Ensign were Paul had been staying in Melbourne, no-one had seen him. He was not at the Navy base, he had vanished.

Where was he?

Silent tears rolled down Lorraine's face as she slipped on her wedding dress, she dabbed her eyes and bravely stated that he will show up, something must have happened beyond his control, he wouldn't do this to her.  The beautiful bridal bouquet arrived and when the florist heard that Paul was missing with a car full of wedding gifts and all their savings, she tactlessly said; "Never mind dearey, you're not the first to be left at the altar."  This uncalled for comment brought forth a flood of tears and uncontrollable sobbing. As I tried to console her she kept repeating that she would not enter the church until she knew he was there, she was not going to be embarrassed and made to look a fool.

When the bridal car arrived she slipped in beside our father who kept unsuccessfully trying to console her and the chauffeur  was told to drive at a very slow pace; to give Paul enough time to turn up. They drove past the church, everyone held their breath, waiting and watching for a sign that everything was alright. We drove around again, watching and waiting and then we saw a dash of a white navy uniform race into the church and we instinctively knew that he had arrived. Whew, that was close!

On his way to pick up the Best Man in Nowra, he had broken 2 windshields, had a flat tyre and engine problems. He had not slept for 48 hours and barely had time to shower, change and make it to the church on time.  As Paul was explaining his predicament at the reception, the waitress was listening with such intent that she accidently tipped a full bowl of soup all over him. As the embarrassed, flustered waitress tried to apologise and rectify the damage, he looked up at her through tired blood shot eyes, then looked lovingly at Lorraine and said, "Nothing can spoil our Wedding day."

By Beverley Bradbery

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