Barbara laid her gown on her bed.
This is it.
After waiting for so long, this is really it. This is really happening.
John entered the room. “I got a hold of Jeff. He’s gonna bring Sarah over here so she can change.” He came over to her side. “Are you nervous?”
Barbara thought about it. “No. Just quietly amazed. I’m going to get married. It’s so surreal. I almost don’t know how to wrap my head around it all. And I mean that in a good way.”
“Barbara, are you sure? Are you sure he’ll make you happy? Are you sure you fully trust him to love you, to stay true to just you?”
She took a breath to answer, but he held up his hand. “Don’t answer it yet. Think about it. Be sure. Be absolutely sure before you say your vows.” He put his hands on her shoulders. “You may be a grown woman, but you’re still my little pumpkin. I love you, Barbara. I don’t want you to be trapped in a hurtful marriage. If you want to call the whole thing off, tell me and I’ll call it off for you.”
She hugged him. “I love you, Dad.”
“I love you too, baby.” He patted her back and released her. “Now, do you need help getting ready?”
Barbara sized up her dress. “I should be able to get it on okay, but I’ll probably need help getting it all buttoned up.”
“Then, I leave you to it. Yell when you’re ready for my assistance.”
John left her room. He stood outside her door and listened for something.
What am I waiting for? What do I expect to hear? She wouldn’t call me this soon. She’s barely had a chance to take anything off, much less put anything on.
The truth crashed down on him.
No, it isn’t a matter of what I expect to hear. It’s what I don’t hear.
I don’t hear my wife’s voice.
He retreated to his room and curled up on the bed. “Carrie, you should be in there with her. You should be helping her change. You should be telling her about how you got ready for…for…” He covered his face with his hands. His shoulders shook.
Carrie love, you should be here.
I wish you were here.
Barbara stripped to just her underwear. She lifted the gown off the bed.
Mom, isn’t it a beautiful dress? Do you see it? Do you like it? What do you think of Ambrose? Do you like him too?
Mom? Will you be there when we get married? Will you be happy for me?
Mom, I wish you were here. There are so many things I would ask. Things that you would know the answers to.
“I miss you, Mom.”