It’s a cool July morning and I’m glad. It’s been so hot and humid. I was afraid it would ruin my daughter’s big day. Thank you, Lord, for the turn in the weather. I smile as I stand in front of the church, watching all the guests file in. Sarah did a beautiful job decorating the church. I peek quickly in the bride’s room as I watch my beautiful princess get ready with her bridesmaids. She looks like a queen in her white gown and the sparkling tiara on her head. Her beautiful hair coiled and twisted upon her head. I look to her mother who is as beautiful as the day I met her. She’s smiling wide and proud with a hit of sorrow. I know what she’s thinking. I could always tell what she’s thinking.
It’s almost time. I take my place at the end of the aisle and look around at the beautiful church my daughter chose for her wedding. The flowers only added to its beauty. The music starts as the wedding party starts down the aisle. I look to my future son-in-law. He’s standing so proudly and nervously, like any groom on his wedding day. I am proud that my daughter chose him to spend the rest of her life with.
Now it’s time for the beautiful bride to make her way down the aisle. The short walk down the aisle represents her journey from my little girl to his bride. Her veil is lifted and her hand placed in his. The officiant speaks about marriage, the joys, the struggles, the challenges to combine their strengths to overcome any obstacle. The vows were spoken. Sarah’s soft voice spoke clear and strong as she vowed to love him until death parts them. His voice rang strong and powerful as he vowed to love her through thick and thin. The officiant pronounces them husband and wife and tells him to kiss the bride. The guests cheer as they lean to brush their lips together. They turn toward their guests, the officiant proudly pronounces them Mr. and Mrs. Miguel Sandoval and they walk up the aisle to the cheers and claps of their guests. I smile proudly with a tinge of regret.
It’s a short ride to the reception as the day heats up and the sun is shining bright. I hear them whisper “oh, he sent the sunshine for Sarah.” I laugh as I wish I could have taken credit but it wasn’t me. I quickly make my way around the ballroom as I make sure that everything is in order and on time, not that I could fix it if it wasn’t but I check anyway. Then wedding party arrives as they announce the names of the groomsmen and the bridesmaids. I wait with a tight chest as the new bride and groom come dancing in the room. Proudly holding their hands up in the air, cheering along with their guests.
Everyone takes their seats as dinner starts. The wonderful food is carried out by waiters as the aromas drift around the room. My stomach growls with anticipation but I know I can’t eat a bite. The sounds of clicking glasses echo around the room as the bride and groom smile shyly and kiss. The hoots and hollers from the groomsmen make me laugh at the boyish antics of grown men. I guess boys never really grow up.
I glance around the room and I see my sour faced sister, Mary Ann. I shake my head, that woman will never be truly happy. She’s mad that her niece got marry before she did. “Well, if you weren’t such a sour puss maybe a guy would take an interest.” I know she can’t hear me but I’ve said it before. She knows but I don’t think she cares.
As dinner is cleared and the dj announces time for the first dance. Sarah and Miguel make their way to the dance floor and dance. I make my way to my wife’s side and together we watch our little girl dance with her husband as she always dreamed and play pretend growing up. The song is beautiful and romantic. Sarah probably had that song picked out since she was a teenager. That day is finally here. As the song ends, my best friend and Sarah’s new father-in-law, Mike, takes the microphone.
“Dearest Sarah, I’ve watch you grow up from a little girl to a beautiful woman. I am so proud to now officially call you my daughter. I know your dad wished to be here today. Since he can’t and I know that I can’t take his place, I was hoping that you would allow me the honor of giving you the dance that every little girl dreams of.”
Sarah nods through her tears as she walks over to him and he gathers her in his arms and dances with her as any father would. The song that played brought tears to everyone’s eyes. I couldn’t tear myself from the scene in front of me as I watched my best friend give my little girl her father-daughter dance. I see the tears flow down her face as she clings to her. I hear her whisper, “I wish he was here.” Oh, baby how little you know that I am. The room stood still as they danced. Tears quietly ran down my wife’s face she held her breath. The song ended with quietly as Mike kisses her forehead and leads her back to her husband’s side.
Shaky breathes fill the room as everyone holds on the beautiful moment. Sarah then turns to the dj and says, “Let’s get this party started!” And the dj answered with a loud and boisterous song that only the young could appreciate. I smile as I walk away. As I leave the building, I see something I didn’t notice before. There on a table by the beautiful wedding cake were several pictures. A sign read “In memory of those who could not be with us today.” There is my picture, smiling proudly in my naval uniform. It’s an old picture but it was one of my wife’s favorites. I took back at my daughter and wife. They’ll be ok as I simply disappear.