Life Topics

Yesterday Today and Tomorrow

She was very knowledgeable about her business.  Holding the ring, she pointed out the uniqueness of the setting as she rotated it in her fingers.  The stones were exquisite as their brilliance would light up with each motion.  “Can you see how the diamonds are held in this circular setting?” she said.  It was a gold band with three diamonds in a row.  I knew nothing about settings, but she assured me it was both fashionable and stable.  I really liked the ring but did not love the ring.  She continued by saying, “the diamonds are E H quality”, or some such letters that was supposed to impress.  It was lost on me.  He stood next to me leaning over the case, focused on the ring and listening intently.  It was going to be a major purchase if we decided to go with it.

He asked me to wait outside while he had a private conversation with the shopkeeper.  I quietly turned to him and said, “I need to talk to you.”  He insisted I wait outside. I repeated myself again, hoping to curtail their conversation.  I could see he was set to negotiate.  I didn’t want him to work to get the price down on something I wasn’t really sure about.  However, I went outside as he asked and waited until he emerged from the store.  He told me he had talked her down by several hundred dollars.

“Hey, I wanted to let you know that I don’t love the ring” I said.  He was a little bit surprised, as we walked down the street.  I said, “Maybe we can go to Boston to look for the right thing.”  He agreed, although a bit disappointed. Turning toward the beach we walked onto the soft sand and stared out at the harbor in silence.  The beautiful summer day reflected the sun off the water as the boats bobbed on their moorings.  His plan was to propose and present me with a ring that night.  It was our weekend away to celebrate 25 years together and to start a new chapter in our life.

The town had been all but shut down that day while they worked on the repairs.  A sewer breakage had caused all food establishments to close, and half the town was left without plumbing.  We decided to go anyway and try to enjoy ourselves.  The quaint hotel we stayed at had flushing toilets and was in the center of town near beaches and shops. Port-o-Potties lined the main street, and a scattering of people walked around.  Our evening plans were ruined as our favorite restaurant, The Mews, was closed.  That was the memorable location he planned to make it official.

As we walked back toward the main drag, I saw another Jewelry shop.  I said, “Let’s go in here and take a look.”
I had every intention of just looking.  The owner of the shop was animated and friendly.  He didn’t have the smug air of the last shop owner.  We began leaning over the cases to look at his diamond rings.  There were several off the list right away.  He held up “our most popular” rings looking for my interest.  Nah, no interest.  I did find one that was way beyond our means.  I kept going back to it, but eventually snapped out of it.  We were not looking to spend a ton of cash.

My eyes were a bit off focus because my false eyelashes were starting to flap off my eyelid.  I must have looked crazy.  Every so often I’d put my finger on the lashes to secure them on the dry glue without success.   My soon to be fiancé was staring intently at all the sparkly choices, pointing out possibilities.  And then, there it was.  A 3-diamond band that was sweet and simple.  It resembled the ring we saw at the other shop, but was in white gold, which made it pop.  The owner told us that the 3 diamonds represented, “yesterday, today and tomorrow.”  That resonated with us since we have been together for so long.

My boyfriend asked the owner if we could take a walk and talk about it.  “Of course!” he said.  So, we left the store and stood off to the side of the front window.  With tears coming down his face, he quickly said, “I know we’re doing this backwards, we’re about to buy a ring, and I haven’t officially asked you to marry me.  Will you marry me?”  I took his face into my hands, looked directly in his eyes, and slowly said “Yes. Yes, I will marry you” as my tears (and eyelashes) blurred my eyes.  We tightly embraced and started kissing in the middle of a busy sidewalk like we were the only ones in the world.


Life Topics

The Wedding

She had packed, re-packed and packed again.  The day was finally here.  At the last minute she grabbed a rayon dress and rolled it and slid it in the side of her one piece of luggage.  Just in case.

The big day.  The wedding that she and her best friend had secretly been scheming, planning and praying for – forever.  Her heart literally soared.

Her flight left at 11:22 am; what to do for the next three hours was anyone’s guess.  She was so excited to get to New England.  So much time to wait.  She cleaned the house, the fridge including the science experiment living in the veggie bin, and watered plants and flowers.  God help her, would the time go by!

Finally, Uber sent a ding to her cell alerting her it/they were on the way.    She bounced into the Nissan Altima and was greeted by driver Margie, a retired postal worker who had crackers and water and plenty of chit chat to get her to the airport. And plenty of time.  Until there wasn’t.

They hit a snare on Airport Blvd, with a train.  The longest fragging train in the history of trains.  Margie waited while other drivers backed up, flipped around and basically said screw it, and the train just kept coming.  She kept checking her phone; the time was ticking, and the flight was leaving on time with or without her.  Dammit.

By the grace of God the train finally passed and the little old lady floored it.  She deposited her at curbside, and all was back to plan.  Kinda. She raced through the small airport with the speed of a much younger woman; through security and into the Southwest Airlines boarding area looking like a wild ban chi.  She was NOT missing this flight.  And she didn’t.  Clumsily guiding her roll-around onto the plane and stopping at her seat, 11C, a window, she hefted her big ass bag into the overhead and squeezed into her seat.  She buckled up, the plane was packed.  She said a prayer for safety and one for forgiveness.  She had probably cussed a few people out there on the road.

She leaned her head back and closed her eyes as the plane made its ascent.  Running checklists through her mind, as any Maid of Honor would do. Everything was done and this would be the wedding of weddings.  Perfect.

Arriving at the airport in Manchester, New Hampshire, she looked for a driver.  The guy with a sign calling just for her.  Nothing.  Well, shit.  She was a little late but nothing serious.  Her best friend didn’t set it up.  Had to be it.  Ok, plan B.  She raced once more out the doors and into the cabstand area.  Flagged one down and she was off.

The wedding was at Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church.  She was surprised to see just how many cars were in the lot.  Small affair?  How would she change into her dress?  Surely it would be left for her in the vestibule. The details had been ironed out months ago.  She slid into the church literally.  Her shoes and soaks were soaking wet.  No time to think, she opened the doors to the rectory; the service was already under way, without her.  She grabbed the first isle seat she came to.  Bride and groom were in place at the alter; the bridesmaid to the left, alone, the place she should occupy beside her vacant.  That’s for me she thought.  She fought the urge to just hop up there.  She was stopped short by the words of the presiding priest:  “May we bow our heads in prayer for the victims of flight 222……

Flight 222?  That was her flight.  What is wrong with this guy?  Let’s get on with the service.  A High Mass is long enough already.  She felt heavy.  She realized she was sweating; no, not sweating.  Wet.  Her hair, her awful hair.  She called out to the bride as the service continued, people in tears.   She yelled and the bride turned; saw her, stretched out an arm to her with eyes wide and tearful, a false eyelash drooping awkwardly.  She wanted to fix it but couldn’t.  She was above it now and understood.

“…For yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory for ever and ever……”

Flight 222 traveled over the Atlantic off the coast of Cape Hatteras into a storm that sent a lightning bolt to the left side wing.  It spun left and continued a downward spiral into the abyss.  There were no survivors.