This is part one of an Ashland "porch observation" story. One late afternoon we were sitting outside on the porch of our Ashland rental having a glass of wine. We watched a wedding party preparing for a celebration that evening at the Armory across the street. We could hear a Mexican band practicing in the background for the reception. Each of the bridesmaid dresses was in a different bright jewel-tone color of orange, blue, gold or green. Guests were arriving and it looked to be time for the wedding to begin. Suddenly the bride came running out of the building, down the stairs, and down the street. We never saw her reappear. This caused us to come up with ideas for a story to explain what could have happened to make her flee her own wedding. She became Sonia because we were drinking a bottle of "Villa Sonia" wine.
The happiest day of her life was finally here. Sonia studied her reflection in the mirror as she slowly twirled, marveling at the beauty of the simple pale ivory wedding dress. It had taken six months of saving to buy the material and another three to complete the dress.
She clasped the pendant around her neck. Its sapphire stone glowed in the filtered light of the room. It was a family heirloom. Just not hers.
Her red lips pursed in concern. She had borrowed the necklace from her employer to wear at her wedding today. Sonia worked as Mrs. Mendez’ housekeeper and had meant to ask her permission, but she had not returned home before Sonia left yesterday.
Sonia would return the pendant to its special place in the locked jewelry box as soon as she and Marco got back from their honeymoon. It would only be for the weekend, she assured herself. Certainly Mrs. Mendez wouldn’t mind if she borrowed it for such a special day.
A flash of brilliant color flooded the room as her sister entered. She was stunning in her vibrant jeweled-tone green gown. Her sister was her best friend, and would stand proudly with her at the alter today.
As the music began they moved together to the chapel entrance. Inside, a small group had gathered to witness and celebrate their union.
Marco smiled at her from the altar as she slowly walked to meet him, his eyes never leaving her face. He clasped her hand, and as they turned to face the priest, his attention was caught by the blue sparkle at her throat. His eyes widened as he stared at it, then looked up at her. They had agreed she would return it immediately when she admitted to him that she had borrowed it without permission. Stolen it, he said.
As his smile faded, Sonia felt his censure and disapproval. She knew she had spoiled this special day by wearing the pendant and not honoring their agreement. Her voice trembled as she repeated her vows. When the priest asked Marco if he would take her as his wife, he hesitated, then withdrew his hand from hers and whispered “No.”
Tears clouded her vision as she turned and ran down the isle to the outside. She pulled off the pendant and flung it away. It glittered in the sunlight as it tumbled in the air and suddenly disappeared into the opening of an old blue birdhouse perched in the lone tree in front of the chapel.
Filled with remorse and regret, she ran blindly into the street, not knowing what direction to go. Hearing a shout and the squeal of brakes, she looked up just as the bus knocked her to the ground, its momentum and weight crushing her beneath. Her last thoughts were of Marco. Her foolishness had cost her the love and trust of her soul mate and in turn, her life.
If only she could turn the clock hands backward a day. She would do the right thing. “I’ll love you forever through time,” she whispered with her last breath.