My hands shook noticeably as I adjusted the veil, my anxiety attributed to normal bridal nerves by the obligatory admiring posse. I barely recognised myself in the mirror; a version of me I had pined for, actively pursued and yet now baulked at. All the warnings levied at me now flashed through my mind; “Marry in haste, repent in leisure” being the headline on the mental ticker tape.
“I need some air,” standing abruptly I pushed through my entourage, keen to fill my lungs and clear my head. Out on the balcony, I could sense the hum of activity in preparation for the celebrations. Marquees flapped in the gentle floral scented summer breeze, worker bees zig-zagged with purpose carrying trays of who knows what, clipboards touted with purpose by the self-important. The wedding train had left the station, and I realised with a jolt I desperately needed to get off. Now.
He would be upset, of course, and deeply wounded that I chose such a public moment to deflect. It was true that he loved me, but in the same way I loved him, and it wasn’t enough. We were both trying to fit into a life we wanted, even if it was the wrong size. In time, he would understand, meet someone else. I imagine they would elope, no grand wedding for a bride to flee from again. No announcements in the paper, a smaller guest list.
It wasn’t right that I should be able to so casually picture my husband to be eloping with an imaginary bride, that added fuel to my fire. He deserved better. I deserved better. Yet, had I not got what I deserved last time, what was this but this karma? A broken heart for a broken heart?
I gathered my skirts like a Victorian runaway and dashed from the hotel in a cloud of tulle and lace. Past questioning eyes and aghast faces, I ran. I ran from the life I thought I wanted, with no idea where I was going. Wedding dresses are not the most suitable getaway attire and when faced with a sweeping country estate drive I realised my exit would not be as speedy as I hoped. I sank to the well-tended grass in despair.
“You look like you could do with a lift,” a familiar voice said, a voice I thought I would only ever hear in dreams now, “Something tells me you’re going my way.” He came, I hadn’t dare even hope.
My eyes met his and a frisson of electricity snapped between us. He offered me his hand and hauled me to my feet. I kicked my wedding shoes off, hitched up my dress and escaped my wedding on the back of his motorbike. Heading back to the life and love I want to deserve.