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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Feel (emotions) (08/26/10)

TITLE: My Groom
By Marita Thelander


I stood in the back of the church, my manicured fingers rested on Daddy’s arm in a fantasy fog. I’m really getting married. How crazy is that?

There he stood, the groom…my groom, in line with his friends; buddies he all but abandoned a little over a year ago. I smiled at his minuscule squirm when Daddy leveled a stare in his direction…the final look.

My bridesmaids stood like models in their coral gowns and fancy prom-style updos. My heart wrenched at the thought of our lives on different paths. We were no longer little girls in the junior high locker room afraid to dress in front of our peers.

The Wedding March began. I choked on the memories like half-chewed food, not really ready to be swallowed. No matter how tasty that bite seemed, dessert stood in front of me. The crowd rose. I lost sight of him and panicked.

“Here we go,” Dad whispered.

“Beth, Mr. Perkins…” The photographer called our names and shot a rapid sequence of pictures.

Every nerve-wracking step brought me closer to him. The moment I touched my groom’s sleeve, fear eased away and made room for peace and confidence.

In unison, we repeated the final words of our original vows: I pledge my love, ‘til Jesus comes. After all, who wants to think about death parting you on your wedding day? I’m not superstitious, but to even say: ‘til death us do part, gives me the heebie-jeebies. I came up with this vow because I always said: I don’t want Jesus to come until I experience true love.

“You may kiss the bride.”

Infamous words, our nuptial vows sealed with a tummy-flopping, passionate kiss. Fear, joy, excitement, and love mixed with the now appropriate measure of desire…a grab bag of emotions. I’d be okay if Jesus came soon.

The rest of the night was heavenly.

After the honeymoon, real life hit fast and hard. Barely scratching the surface of wedded bliss, we discovered the error of our inexperience…I was pregnant. Single income adjustments stretched us, but the night we held our wailing Jason, money worries became insignificant.

My groom kissed me and I whispered in his ear, “I pledge my love ‘til Jesus comes. I’d be okay if He came soon, I always said: I don’t want Jesus to come until I experience becoming a mother.”

We cuddled in the twin hospital bed, a family of three, and the rest of the night was heavenly.

Every time we blinked, a chunk of life disappeared.

Walking…potty training…baby sister.

School…sports…driver’s licenses.

Graduations…college orientations…mother of the groom…mother of the bride.

First grandchild…second…fifth…eighth.

Blonde hair…too dark of brown…too red…bimbo blonde oops…gently brunette…white.

Up forty pounds…down thirty…up thirty-five…down twenty…up twenty-five…ugh, just give up.


Mid-life crisis.

His knee replacement…heart surgery…hearing aids.

My breast cancer…dentures…cataracts.

Great grandson…

“To my Bethy,” my groom raised his glass shakily. “She’s the one constant in the stormy seas of my life for fifty years. She deserves much more than I ever could give her.”

I raised my glass, “I pledge my love, ‘til Jesus comes.”

We danced slow, drove home slow, loved slow.

I slid our wedding album into bed with us, an annual tradition. He pointed to the series of rapid shots of me with my father immediately prior to the walk down the aisle. “These are my favorite.”

“You’ve never said that before in our entire fifty years of marriage,” I studied them carefully. “Why are they your favorites?”

“Look at your eyes,” he pointed a trembling finger to each picture. “In just thirteen quick clicks, the photographer caught every emotion you felt that day. It’s like a baker’s dozen. A grab bag.”

“Funny, I always thought they looked the same and couldn’t figure out why you chose all thirteen. I don't believe in bad luck, but thirteen? Why not six, or ten, or even a dozen? Something symmetrical.”

“You look scared to death in this one, but see, by the last one you relaxed.”

I sat the album aside and snuggled into the crook of his arm. He kissed the top of my head and whispered, “I pledge my love ‘til Jesus comes…and I’d be okay if he came tonight.”

“Hey…that’s my line.”

The remainder of the night was heavenly.

Crowded house…casseroles…black clothes...wadded handkerchief.

“Are you going to be okay tonight, Mom?”

“Yes, Son,” I touched Jason’s graying hair and smiled. “I always said I wanted to live a love-filled life. I’d be okay if the Groom came tonight.”

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This article has been read 1057 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Laury Hubrich 09/02/10
Oh man. Wow! The ending is powerful. The whole thing is a wonderful picture of life. Wow!
Lisa Harris09/03/10
W-O-W! Touched my soul...thank you for sharing!
Charla Diehl 09/03/10
Oh my--what a beautiful description of love-filled lives through the ages. I'm misty eyed for all the right reasons. Two big thumbs up on this entry.
Gregory Kane09/06/10
Sensational. Nothing more to say
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 09/06/10
This is beautiful I say as I wipe a year from my eye.
Sarah Heywood09/09/10
Congratulations, Marita! This was well done and you deserve your first place win. I love "seasons of life" stories and this one fit the bill perfectly. I look forward to reading more of your work!
Lollie Hofer09/09/10
Lovely, exquisite, emotional. Congrats on your well-deserved recognition.
Barbara Lynn Culler09/09/10
Like Shann stated, as I wipe the tears away, so beautiful. congrats on your placement!
Mona Purvis09/09/10
Marita, I just read this for the first time. Of course, it should be #1. It's grand. So filled with emotions that spill over into the reader's own feelings about the same timelines of life.
Superb! Congrats on #1.

Emily Gibson09/09/10
So lovely and so deserving of first place! Congratulations!
Rachel Phelps09/09/10
Marita, this is simply perfection. I'm in awe! Beautiful!
Joy Bach 09/09/10
Way to go! Since I was on vacation I got a chance to read all the entries. I voted this one #1. So glad others agreed. It is wonderful writing.
Laury Hubrich 09/09/10
#1!!!! Congratulations!!!! Sooo proud of you!!!!!
Beth LaBuff 09/09/10
Wow, Mari! This is wonderful with a fantasic ending! I loved traveling the emotional journey with them. ...and about your MC's name -- you warmed my heart -- :) Super congrats, girl, on your 1st place! Love it!
Author Unknown09/09/10
tears dripping down my cheeks. well done, Marita. well-chosen 1st place EC.

nothing more to say :)
Amy Michelle Wiley 09/09/10
Lovely story. Congrats on the win!
Gerald Shuler 09/09/10
Marita, Congrats on a well deserved EC. The #1 spot proves what I have know all along . . . you have a rare talent for putting your heart on the page. Congratulations!!!!!
Patricia Turner09/09/10
I pledge my love, ‘til Jesus comes. I love it and I think it ought to take its place in all wedding ceremonies. Absolutely beautiful and so, so deserving of the 1st place spot! Congratulations!
Kimberly Russell09/09/10
Very deserving first place win. This was awesome and well done. Congrats!
Hanne Moon 09/09/10
Well-deserved first place win! Wow, Mari! It's a wonderful story. You captured the life of a couple perfectly. Congratulations again!
Terri Schroeder09/10/10
You deserve first place in EC with this well-written, moving piece!
Daniel Kane09/10/10
I liked this piece. I especially enjoyed the ways the years just flicked by in a few years. Good job with your EC.
Keep it up
Catrina Bradley 09/10/10
Heavenly. I need to go get a tissue now. Wow this is good!
DK Landers09/14/10
I can only "ditto" all the wonderful comments, Marita. This is a beautiful story and worthy of winning!
Barbara Mahler 10/05/10
Just want to offer sincere congratulations on My Groom - the writing and the gift of the memories! Thank you for sharing the gifts of your years.