The Wedding March

The congregation whispers, fidgets, and breathes like bellows. The wedding party are running behind schedule. Tension mounts as the ceremonial time passes by. The bald pastor rearranges his papers. Checks his watch, the lines visible on his face.

Her wedding party fixes, adjusts, makes last minute preparations. She can’t seem to get her ringlets to behave, to twist in the manner they did at her run-through. “Do something,” she pleads with her maid of honor. Her¬†frustration mounts. She grabs the curling iron, snaps, “You’re just making it worse!”

To calm her, Dad takes her aside, into the narrow hallway. He wants to savor this last minute with his sole daughter. He thinks of his own failed marriage when he asks, “You’re sure you wanna’ do this?”

It knocks the wind out of her. The one question she wishes he might have avoided. She glances outside to steel herself, into the churchyard. The sun gleams on the gravestones. It feels like she’s wearing ankle weights as the organ begins the wedding march.

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About Robert Vaughan

Originally from NY, writer, editor, and workshop leader, his poems and fiction are widely published in print and online magazines, such as Necessary Fiction, BlazeVOX, Connotation Press, Metazen, Thrice, Literary Orphans and Housefire. He is Senior Flash editor at JMWW and Lost in Thought magazines and leads round- tables for Redoak Writing. He is a six times Pushcart Prize Nominee and his fiction and poetry have won awards, including a Micro-Fiction runner-up (2012) and twice a finalist in the Gertrude Stein Fiction Award (2013-14). His collections are: Microtones (Cervena Barva Press); Diptychs + Triptychs + Lipsticks + Dipshits (Deadly Chaps): Addicts & Basements (Civil Coping Mechanisms) and RIFT, co-authored with Kathy Fish (Unknown Press).
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7 Responses to The Wedding March

  1. Rontuaru says:

    Gee, this is big on selfish people, eh? Impatient clergy, snappy bride, father with lousy timing!

    If I could offer two suggestions … maybe try to come up with a different way to identify the wedding party or group in the second paragraph. You used the same term only a few sentences prior. Or perhaps just the bride is struggling to make a few last minute adjustments?

    “It knocks the wind out of her.” What does? Oh yes … the question in the paragraph above. Well, I think I would have put it like this: “The one question she wished her father had avoided knocks the wind out of her.” Or, I would have connected the first sentence to the second with a comma. Why? Well, “It’ isn’t very powerful. Certainly not powerful enough to knock the wind out of anyone. I think you need to link the question with the response.

  2. Andrea says:

    Listen, everybody, look, I don’t know what you’re waiting for,
    a wedding, what’s a wedding, it’s a prehistoric ritual
    where everybody promises fidelity forever, which is
    maybe the most horrifying word I ever heard of, which is
    followed by a honeymoon, where suddenly he’ll realize he’s
    saddled with a nut, and wanna kill me, which he should–
    Thanks a bunch,
    But I’m not getting married–
    Go have lunch,
    ‘Cause I’m not getting married–
    You’ve been grand,
    But I’m not getting married–
    Don’t just stand there,
    I’m not getting married–
    And don’t tell Paul,
    But I’m not getting married today.

    Stephen Sondheim
    From The Musical “Company”

  3. Dez says:

    Great imagery and desperation, the way you mount the tension in the church description, then the pastor. And then something as trivial as spit curls, or whatever you call them send her off. Very believable, and the end, again returns to imagery and metaphor that is powerfully drawn. Nice short fiction with so much going on.

  4. Tom Froehlich says:

    Robert, you do have a way of making my stomach flip. I remember being asked the very same question at my wedding. If i had thought he was serious I would have been out of there in a heart beat. It helps to be in love with your best man!

  5. Tom Froehlich says:

    I disagree with Rontuaru. I think that question would knock the wind out of someone if in fact they had serious doubts about the committment. You are able to fool yourself and remain in denial until someone actually calls you on it. Then you’re like, “F%&k! What in the hell am I doing? This may be my last chance to get out!”

  6. david says:

    are you kidding me?? I love this.. and Tom..

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