Copyright 2017 Mario V. Farina
Shakespir Edition, License Notes
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“That was a beautiful wedding,” I said to my wife, Colleen, as we entered our home through the front door. “Reminded me of my first wedding!”
“I should think it would,” she responded smiling. “Though I’m not quite sure what you mean by your first wedding. Were you ever married before our wedding?” she asked.
“Well,” I responded, “I was there, waiting at the church, ready to be married! That should count for, at least, half a wedding!”
“That reminds me of an old song,” Colleen said giggling. “Someone gave me an old record with Julie Andrews singing, There was I waiting at the church. It’s very funny!”
“I’ve never heard it,” I commented.
“It’s about a woman who is complaining that she was abandoned at the church by a gent who wrote her a note reading, I can’t marry you today. My wife won’t let me!”
“Well that describes me, I suppose,” I replied. “I was there with my best man, Randy. The music was supposed to begin the Wedding March, but it never happened. A note came saying that Wilma Jones, my purported bride, had gone away. She couldn’t accept the idea of being married, and disappeared so that she wouldn’t have to face the ordeal. Randy made the announcement and everyone left the church except three of us, Randy, I, and the minister. I was very upset. The minister said he’d be willing to talk to me in the Drawing Room if I wanted. I told him I was fine, but would just like to sit there quietly for a short time while I composed myself. Randy saw I was OK and went home. I found the room easily and sank into an overstuffed sofa at one end of the lavishly decorated room.”
“Rob, dear, that’s where you and I met,” Colleen remarked.
“Yes,” I said. “What a coincidence! What are the chances that two people could both be stood up at their own weddings? His name was Samuel, wasn’t it?”
“Yes, Sam Wendelkin, I heard later that his buddies had nicknamed him, ‘Sam Sam, the Whiskey Man!’ What happened is funny now, but it was devastating at the time!”
“Your wedding was scheduled two hours after mine,” I said. “A huge crowd had assembled at the church. I was still in the other room, getting ready to go home, but thought I’d wait until your wedding was over. I guess I wanted to hear the wedding march that I had missed, and wanted to see a happy couple with smiles all over their faces exiting from the church! Suddenly near the time for the wedding, I began hearing a buzzing from the guests.”
“Sam had not arrived,” Colleen said. “I knew he could get tipsy at times, but didn’t realize he had drunk himself into a stupor. There was no way that he could show up. I got the news while I, my father, and the bridesmaids, were getting ready to march down the aisle. It felt as if someone had thrown a bucket of ice over my entire body. I began crying and ran into the Ladies Room. Tears were running down my face in rivulets. My Maid of Honor, Millie, stayed with me until I calmed down a bit, but was still crying.”
Colleen paused for a moment, then resumed recounting the bitter memory.
“Dr. Madison, the minister, came to see me and Millie left. He brought me to the same room where you were. He and I sat facing each other and talked for half an hour. Neither he nor I had noticed you were also there.”
“I didn’t know what to do,” I said. “You and Dr. Madison hadn’t noticed me. The room was softly lit were I was sitting. There was no door nearby. I sat as quietly as I could, knowing I was intruding in a very private conversation, but, for some reason, that I do not understand to this very day, could not make my presence known. There was something about you! Something compelling! I believe I fell in love with you and wanted to console you as you quietly cried.”
“When Dr. Madison left, I became aware of your presence for the first time,” said Colleen. “You were looking so sheepish, I felt sorry for you, and actually smiled. You looked as if you didn’t know how to respond, but, finally, you smiled too.”
“I was so ashamed I had heard all that you and Doctor Madison had discussed. I came to, where you were sitting, and apologized. You did not seem upset and invited me to sit where the minister had been.”
“You did do that and we talked,” she said. “You told me what had happened to you. It seemed so funny, we both laughed! I began to feel as if I had known you forever.”
“I felt the same way,” I admitted.
“Rob, you made a suggestion that was so outlandish I laughed out loud. You actually suggested we go out on a date, both of us just the way we were!”
“And you accepted!” I declared. “You actually said yes!”
“You took me to Olive Garden. Everyone thought we were bride and groom. They treated us like royalty. You took me home, but we made a date for the following day. My relationship with Sam had died. You and I were married a month later! And just think, we introduced Wilma and Sam to each other!”
“And we went to their wedding today!” I said laughing.
“Wilma had gotten over her fear of getting married, and Sam had become Sam Sam The Coca-Cola Man. Could anything be stranger? she added.”
“Well yes,” I said. “What about Fred Adams? He was one of the guests at what was supposed to be your wedding. He kept calling you wanting to date you. You kept saying no, but he wouldn’t hear of it. He told you he had fallen in love with you, and wanted to marry you.”
“Nothing I said had any effect,” said Colleen. “Even when I told him I was engaged and would soon be Mrs. Robert Bonson, he wouldn’t believe it! He told me that my marriage to you would be a marriage on the rebound, and couldn’t last.”
As Colleen spoke the last syllable, the phone rang. I picked up. “This is Fred Adams. Let me talk to Colleen!” His voice was rude but insistent. I handed the receiver to her. “It’s Fred,” I said. “He wants to speak to you.”
I had thought that Colleen would be annoyed. She wasn’t. She took the handset, spoke into it saying, “Hello Fred.” She listened for a few moments. Surprisingly, she began to sing, “I can’t marry you today. My husband won’t let me!” She hung up.
Colleen and I glanced at each other for a moment, then began laughing as we hugged and kissed.
Author’s Comment: The song mentioned in the story is, “There Was I Waiting At The Church,” composed 1906, Music by Henry E. Pether, Lyrics by Fred W. Leigh. You can hear it on Youtube.