Renee and her family were the first to arrive at the church mid-morning. She climbed out of her Equinox and hurried to the church building, her wedding dress in her arms. After placing it in the toddlers’ nursery where she and her bridesmaids were going to get ready, she texted her cousin. Bethany was going to do her hair, but she had not arrived yet. Letting out a breath she did not realize she was holding; she sank into one of the rocking chairs. The nursery was very well laid out. It was separated into two rooms, one for naps and one for playing. Books and toys filled the shelves that stuck out into the room. The flat surface was perfect for the girls to put their makeup and other supplies on. Two rocking chairs fit nicely into the corners. Discreetly placed behind the door, a couple electric outlets were filled with plastic covers. Renee’s phone dinged just as she heard the front door open. Finally, her cousin had arrived. The rest of the morning passed in a blur.
“You ready?” The photographer knocked on the nursery door. Renee grasped the handle and pulled it open. She smoothed her hand down the ivory satin and then stepped out into the foyer. She smiled and nodded. The man led the way to the auditorium’s side door. She entered and walked down the aisle towards David, who was turned with his back towards her. She kept her eyes on him as he slowly turned and met her gaze. She grinned up at him and took his hands. Sunlight filtered through the stained-glass window and pooled over them. Renee felt pure bliss.
After a quick, mess-free lunch, the wedding party made their way back upstairs. They had thirty minutes until the ceremony time. She hurried through the lobby, her mom close behind her. Suddenly, Mama stopped and hopped on one foot.
“What’s the matter?” Renee turned around.
“The heel broke off my shoe!” Mama held up the mangled pump. “Good thing I brought some flats.” She took off the other shoe and hurried, in her stocking-feet, out to the truck. Renee continued to the nursery and lined up behind her bridesmaids. Her feet killed in her new sandals. She discreetly kicked them off, landing them on top of her stuff. She was going to walk down the aisle barefoot.
“You ready for this?” Dad entered the room and stood next to her.
“Mhm.” She was too emotional to say words. She was getting married. Butterflies settled into her stomach. It was nerve-wracking going into something new and life-changing, like marriage. But, if it was anything like her parents’ marriage, she would love it. Gentle and sweet piano tones filled the air as the ceremony began.
The wedding went off without a hitch. The reception only had a small hitch. They made their way around the room, greeting people table by table. They started with David’s guests. The conversations took so long, they had to leave before greeting everyone. She did not get to greet some of her family and guests. After Renee retrieved her shoes, she grasped David’s hand as they stepped out into the sunlight. Bubbles and laughter filled the air as they made their way through the hallway of people. When they reached the car, they waved, then climbed in and drove off. Renee cradled on her lap the large, divided plastic container of wedding cake and cheese and crackers. Once out on the road, David reached over and grasped her hand. Overwhelming joy, and exhaustion, flooded through her. She squeezed her new husband’s hand and laid her head back on the seat. She knew she would work hard at this marriage. She hoped, no believed, that David would do the same.
The honeymoon was pure elation. They had visited the famous horse park in Kentucky for the first two days. There was a museum that they walked through. It told of the history of the horse from the beginning of time until current times. Of course, it started with evolution, which Renee did not believe in. She believed in a literal six-day-creation by One holy and powerful God. Renee and David had also sat in the bleachers at the park and watched horse shows and events. The rest of the honeymoon, they spent exploring the mountains above Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. She thought back on one part of the mountain they visited. The parking lot was two-layered, built into the mountain. A steep, paved path wound up the mountain until it reached a tower. The path became a ramp up. When they finally had reached the top, her legs had been sore from the exercise. But the view had been amazing. The mountains stretched on for miles. Renee had insisted on taking a selfie with David for documentation. She smiled to herself as she turned off the shower. She put on her pajamas and exited the bathroom. She heard David talking in the sitting room of the hotel suite. She padded into the room and stopped when she heard his words.
“Mom, bring up the spreadsheet on my work laptop.” He placed a hand behind his head and scratched his neck. “Yeah, you have to print off that page and mail it to my newest dog client.” Renee went up to him and placed her arms around him from behind. He looked over his shoulder and mouthed, “I’ll be there in a minute. You can go to bed if you want to.” She dropped her arms and gazed up at him.
“Can’t it wait?” She mouthed back. He shook his head. She felt disappointment drop into her stomach, knowing that she could not convince him. She turned and returned to the bedroom. Sliding under the covers, she buried her face in the pillow. What is so important that it’s keeping him from coming to bed with me? She drifted off before he returned to the bed.
David’s parents were gone when they got to the house. They had planned a vacation for the two weeks after David and Renee’s honeymoon. They could have the house to themselves for a little while they got adjusted. She went up the half-stair and peeked into David’s bedroom. Hans’ crate sat at the end of his queen bed. She turned around, and there was her new husband behind her.
“Let’s move the bed downstairs to the lower-level bedroom.” He slid into the room around her. The bed was not super heavy. They took some time unhooking it from the large cupboards and drawers attached to the headboard. Part by part, they carried the bulky furniture down the two half-flights of stairs. They then set up the bed carefully in the middle of the room. There was just enough room to walk around it. The rest of the day, Renee spent unpacking her bags and putting away her clothes. She returned to the main level of the house to find her husband. He was in the garage, cleaning the trip trash out of his Forester. His parents had brought her Equinox home for her and it sat next to his vehicle in the two-car garage. She approached the driver’s door.
“Could you help me bring in our suitcases, please?” She inquired. “I would like to put our laundry in the wash.”
“Sure.” He closed the door and opened the back hatch. They carried in the two pieces of luggage. Renee began pulling out the dirty clothes and separating it into two piles: dark-colored clothes and light-colored clothes.
“Make sure to take one of the cleaning cloths down in the basement and wipe out the washer’s rubber seal every time you switch the clothes to the dryer.” He instructed.
“Why’s that?” Renee was puzzled.
“Otherwise it’ll mold.” An expression of surprise accompanied the tone of disbelief in his voice. “You surely know how to do laundry.” He exclaimed. Renee felt affronted.
“Yes, I do.” She quietly retorted. “I’ve been doing it for almost my whole life. I’ve just never had a washer that has needed wiping before.”
“Okay…” He hesitated,” …and make sure that the shirts don’t go in the dryer. It will shrink them.”
“Alright…” Renee had the fleeting feeling of a child being instructed by a parent. Will our whole marriage be like this? No, she should not think like that. She was just over-reacting. Of course, he just did things differently than she did, and that was okay. She pushed the feelings and thoughts out of her mind and grabbed an armful of the dirty laundry. She dropped it into a basket and headed towards the basement, where the washer and dryer were.
© 2021 Tori Leumas