As Lindsey’s white and smiling loveliness sunk into the depths of the Rolls Royce, like something sinking into the ocean, Meg unclenched her hands. And she smiled, still, as the door closed and the driver fired up the old engine.
This was the thing. Her arms felt numb and her ears felt boxed, leaving her brain… Meg tried never to be left alone with just her brain.
But the car and crowd seemed to recede at the same time in opposite directions, leaving Meg standing alone. After the cream Rolls finally pulled out of sight from the circular drive, Meg stood for a minute in the dust the tires had kicked up, and thought of all the things that were never coming back.
She looked at the proud fountain in the center of the green. She looked back at the bungalow with its lazy-turning porch fans, ornately carved doors, and David leaning casually for a moment in shadows against a pillar. He had a beer in one hand, case of beer propped under his other arm. He sipped his beer, and even in the night-- coffee black and caffeinated-- Meg could see his violet eyes glint. Even with the distance, she could see him wink at her and she felt like she was in Casablanca.
She heard the wedding planner call to both of them for help (the other helpers were across the green, in the port-a-cachere. She and David were the only ones left in the silent open night of their area.) He turned away from Meg to call out to the planner, “We’re on our way,” and then looked back in her direction.
Meg nodded. But first, now that she could breathe, it was time to take off her 4 inch champagne colored heels. Stopping in the middle of the fine gravel of the driveway littered with rice and bruised petals, Meg shrunk back down to her normal height. She hooked her finger through the t-straps of them and slung them over her shoulder. Without making any effort to meet him, Meg started to walk across the soft grass. She walked in a straight line, but twisted her feet just a little with each step to feel the coolness of the grass between her Flintstone toes.
David caught her in the middle of, what seemed to Meg, an endless field of manicured grass. The lights of the arboretum lit up the whole world with pale golden light that made Meg feel like she had eyes in the back of her head. Because even though she never turned around, she felt like she could see his soft eyes when he put his hand on the back of her waist.
The wedding planner, bohemian and buxom in her green and black maxi halter dress (and monstrous hoop earrings) pointed out to them what still needed to be loaded into the various helper cars.
Meg listened and David listened and even though there was quite a bit of chatter around the cars while people loaded, without Lindsey, the whole night felt vast and quiet. In this moment, for the first time in a long time, Meg stopped her feelings of hurry and panic that soon, David would be ripped from her. She allowed herself to just be there, loading goods into the back of a truck with him. Not talking.
Him taking things out of her hands without asking because he felt were too heavy for her. He, who when she struggled with her shoes, and where she would put them, tucked one in each of his pants pockets. How they both laughed at that without laughing and Meg wished someone were secretly taking a picture of it.
When the loading was done, Meg started to walk back over to the car that would take them back over to the hotel. In the middle of the field again (now it felt more like a lit up, deserted football field, than it did Casablanca-- like a homecoming dance with David she had never gone to).
Meg almost wanted to stop and spin with her arms outstretched, loving that feeling of being so small, so tucked away somewhere in the fold of the whole universe. Tucked away somehow (fortuitously together in the same fold) with the one she loved the most just a few steps behind her, watching over her.