Amelia and Reese prance out of the sanctuary in style. Generally, the crowd’s faces are reflecting true shock; others are admittedly less than surprised. Kelly is one of the few who is just nodding with a tiny smirk. Kelly was very aware of Amelia’s hesitations, and Reese’s. Both had conferred with her on the topic a few times in the last month.
Reese detected like he was putting too much pressure on Amelia.
Amelia alleged like she’d agreed to marry for the wrong reasons.
There’s no way either of them were letting this wedding happen. Kelly has been perfectly okay with it, though. Mostly because she already had an idea in place if it actually happened – if they actually abandoned their post as she expected. Her parents didn’t know. Her girlfriend didn’t know. The only person that had any clue was the preacher.
And that’s only because she had to ask if he was comfortable doing what she’d requested. Not all preachers were that “up with the times.” Thankful that he agreed if everything started falling apart, Kelly counts the minutes that pass. As the murmurs begin to build and everyone seems to be more accepting of the original wedding ceremony being put off. She sees the opportune moment.
“It’s a good thing we’re wearing the right colors.” Kelly whispers to her girlfriend, “Don’t you agree, Nina?” Of course, she has absolutely no idea what is even being insinuated. There’s a pop in Kelly’s excitement that sends her flying up onto her feet before Nina has a chance to question the statement.
Once she pauses on the top step she throws a hand in the air. Loudly she asks for everyone’s attention. Hesitantly people pull away from their gossip and their phones to witness something else none of them were expecting.
“In light of the missing bride and groom, I would appreciate it if none of you abandoned ship just yet. Since we all came out for a wedding today – I was hoping that maybe you’d all stay for a wedding – even if not the wedding you were expecting.” Kelly catches sight of her parents. They are grinning from ear-to-ear in a way that suggested they knew exactly what would follow.
When her eyes swing back to Nina – well – she’s got an identical smirk.
That’s when I begin my memorized monologue…
…My memorized proposal…
“Love is as unpredictable as you might expect. Today, nobody thought that two people who love each other as much as Amelia and Reese could want anything but to be married. And yet, they are not here. Several years ago, I never realized that I could even love someone at all. I was making myself like boys who had no interest in me to hide the fact that my affections belonged to girls. No matter how accepting society has been of same-sex relationships, I was never accepting.
When I got to college, I didn’t really think I’d ever find someone that made me happy with myself. I dated around – all different types of people that gave me a tiny bit of what I thought I needed to survive. That contentedness with being alone started swallowing me whole in due time, and I found myself getting drunk at every party just to get up the courage to confront myself. I guess I never really thought being single for the rest of my life was an actual option.
And, naturally, that’s when I met Nina. Some people meet in mundane ways. You all remember how Amelia and Reese met, right? Their lockers were side-by-side in high school. They decided to start dating after a bonfire their friends shared. Thankfully, my story is a little more action packed. Nina literally saved me from myself.
I was passed out on the floor of someone’s house. I didn’t even know the person who was throwing the party. Nina was there because she did – and she was trying to find a room to make a phone call. She found me and was immediately concerned, especially when I hadn’t stirred at all for an hour. Soon she decided to take me to an emergency medical center nearby. Sure enough, I had alcohol poisoning. It was bound to happen eventually! Nobody in my family even suspected I was struggling so badly with my sense of self. I really had no reason to – considering that my entire family was supportive of everything I’ve ever done. Everything was internalized. I thought I was going to be someone else, I guess.
Anyway, Nina stayed with me the entire time. She waited for me to wake up and walk on my own. She drove me to get my prescription. She grabbed some groceries for me. And then she took me to my dorm where she waited patiently for my roommate to return. I wasn’t awake so I couldn’t remember who she was or what her name was or even recognize her when she returned a few days later to see if I was doing any better.
I knew that I wanted to finish growing up and growing old with her the day she came back to check on me. Nina had a fleece blanket, a deli sandwich from the cafeteria, and a decaf coffee. It was an odd mix but she knew it was what I needed just from that extraordinary night that we shared. I only remember it now because I ask her to tell me the story of how we met every single night that we share. I watch her eyes light up and I feel her heart race.
That is why today, in lieu of the real bride and groom, I want to ask Nina Cortez to marry me, impromptu, so that we can begin the rest of our lives. I don’t have a ring to give you, Nina, but you already have my heart. Will you marry me?”
Kelly may not have gotten it all out word-for-word, but it was pretty stinking close. Tears threatened her eyes with almost every sentence she manages to speak. The room vanished at some point and she only spoke to her parents and Nina. Even then, by the time she uttered the question of all questions, the only person she could see was her beloved.
Nina tarries, not out of refusal. Kelly knows when Nina wants to decline something. It’s this adorable way that her eyes frown instead of her lips. No, Kelly sees that the hesitation is out of pure joy. She probably can’t tell if this is real or a daydream. Kelly is experiencing the exact same emotion.
It is very real, though, which means her acceptance is too.
“Absolutely, Kelly. There’s no scenario where I would ever turn you down.” Nothing more beautiful has ever been uttered. At least, not in Kelly’s opinion anyway! The instant that Nina makes it to the top step, Kelly pulls her into a deep, passionate kiss in front of everyone. Those months, no matter how short they felt, made a world of a difference in Kelly. She was not just a better person – she was a stronger one, too. Kelly is now the kind of woman she would have looked up a few years ago. Having Nina in her life was vital to her success.
“Wait! We haven’t even done the vows yet!” The preacher jokes loudly. Kelly doesn’t stop kissing her very-soon-to-be-wife. She hears the crowd laughing but it doesn’t sound quite as satisfying as Nina’s tiny gasps for air.