The alarm didn’t awaken me this morning. There wasn’t any need for it. At the first shimmer of daylight my eyes opened. I waited until seven before rising and running my bath water. I filled the tub with bubbles and settled in for a long, relaxing soak. No need to rush. I had plenty of time.
I have no idea how long my body had enjoyed the warm water, but it was long enough for it to prune. I still needed to wash and fix my hair. With thick curly hair, this chore is time-consuming. It was crucial that my hair looked perfect today. It took my normal hour to blow it dry and make sure each piece fell properly around my face.
By the time I finished no one else in the apartment had stirred yet. I glanced at the time and realized there were still too many hours left, and I was almost ready. I wanted to crawl back into bed, but knew that would mess up the masterpiece I had just created on my head.
Trying to be considerate of those still sleeping, I went to the kitchen to prepare some breakfast for myself. What was I in the mood to eat? I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to work for my meal or just dump some cereal in a bowl. My stomach did a jig, and my decision was made. Cereal would be the best choice. By the time I finished I finally heard the other girls stirring.
“Does anyone want to go to church with me?” I asked them.
“Are you kidding,” my friend asked.
“You are going to church on your wedding day,” my soon-to-be sister-in-law inquired.
“I’ve got time to kill. The wedding isn’t until two. I need something to do until then.”
They opt to stay behind while I attended Sunday School and church. When I returned, I was greeted with two extremely unhappy attendants. Jeanna, my fiancé’s sister, was lying on the couch looking like a truck had just hit her.
“The toilet is clogged,” Luann announced.
“What?” I rushed to the bathroom and was instantly assaulted with an aroma that twisted my insides and promised to send the undigested part of my breakfast swirling to the floor. “Gross!” I squealed with disgust.
“I would have gone next door to make my deposit at the bank,” Jeanna said, “But they are closed on Sundays.”
The three of us immediately giggled, and I sensed the tension seeping out of my body. We did have a dilemma, but I called a friend who quickly sent her husband over to rectify our situation.
My new sister-in-law-to-be remained unmoved from the couch and though I was getting annoyed at her, I tried to remain kind.
“I don’t feel good,” Jeanna said. “I have really bad cramps.”
“Oh man. Do you always have this problem at this time of month?”
“It’s not that,” she said.
“You mean, you are getting sick,” I asked, totally disgusted that she had chosen my wedding day to get sick. I was sure she just wanted some attention. She got it, too. Everyone was keeping their eyes on her and wanted to know if she was okay.
When we finally made it to the reception, my new husband danced with his mother, and then she made the decision to take Jeanna back to the apartment. I tried not to let their absence irritate me, but I was failing miserably. It was my special day, and I wanted everyone’s undivided attention. Today was supposed to be about me.
When my husband and I arrived back at our apartment to remove our wedding garb and grab our suitcases, we were welcomed with a note.
“At the hospital with Jeanna. Love, Mom.”
Guilt immediately flooded my heart. We pulled into the hospital just before they wheeled my sister-in-law into surgery. Her appendix had burst. It would take her months to fully recover from the poison that had spread into her body.
When the pictures from our wedding day finally came, I was amazed to see how happy and healthy Jeanna looked in them. She made sure, despite her pain, that every picture focused on the new bride and not on her. She wanted it to be all about me.
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