Short Story: “Your Life and Mine” by Jered Mabaquiao

The following short story won second place in the 2018 Creative Writing Contest at Southwestern Adventist University, and is provided here at the request of our readers. Enjoy.

Jered Mabaquiao

Your Life and Mine

“Are you nervous?”
“No. I’m good.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yeah. I’m pretty sure.”
“You can tell us if you aren’t okay. We know what this means for you.”
“Can you just stop? I’m fine. Drop it.”
“Oh yeah, you definitely seem fine.”

There was scattered laughter across the room.

The four guys packed into the downstairs of the venue. It was a nice place. They knew
she picked it just by the location. It was in an old cathedral downtown. It was downtown because
that’s where They met. She always imagined it in a place that had some character, some history.
He hadn’t seen her yet, but already knew his heart wouldn’t be able to handle it. He had
been thinking about it all day. From the moment he woke up this morning, all he could think
about was her. All he thought about was how she would look, how she would feel, and about
how he would do anything just to make sure she was happy.

The guys were getting dressed, most of them with only their white undershirts on. Some
of them halfway buttoning their white dress shirts.

They spent a few minutes in silence, rain tapping rhythmically against the stained-glass windows
of the room they were in. The dressing progressed, pants were put on, and shoes were getting
tied.

“She just texted me… I think she’s getting cold feet. ” one of them said from across the room.

The sounds of Oooh spread throughout the room.

“Can you be quiet? Just please finish getting dressed so we can get out there.”

“Wow. I was just kidding.” The guy moved across the room to jokingly hug him.

He shrugged him off.

I’m not ready for this , He thought to himself. He began to tie his bowtie.

They started to do the same.

They walked through the hallway and walked out into the foyer and were met by a few
guests. They stood in the foyer for a moment. Short and subtle greetings were exchanged. It was
the usual; “Hi. How are you? Good to see you. Glad you’re here. You look great” and mostly
everything in between.

He took a moment to gather himself before her parents walked up.

“Hello, my dear. You look fantastic. I’m glad you came,” her mother said as she took his hands
in hers. Her father chuckled and patted him on the shoulder.

“I wouldn’t miss it for the world. You already know that.” A slight smile crept from the corner of
His mouth.

He hugged her mom. He shook her father’s hand.

They parted ways and he met with his friends and they walked through the doors of the
sanctuary together. The sanctuary was almost full. Guests had packed most of the rows towards
the back. The ribbons lining the rows were golden with a royal purple accent. Her favorite color.
They walked towards the front and stood there for what seemed like eternity. The piano began to
play.

He took a deep breathe.

The audience turned towards the entrance of the sanctuary and looked for her to walk through
those doors.

He kept his back turned.

He couldn’t bring himself to look at her at that exact moment. The blood in his veins began to
pressurize. They were so close to bursting. That familiar song played, strings and piano echoed
throughout the cathedral.

The audience gasped as she walked through the door. He imagined every step she was taking.

Every single step.

She was getting closer and closer. He could see her through his peripheral vision. He
could see Her veil and he could smell Her perfume. A familiar scent that reminded him of home.
She made the air around him feel like like a cool burst of air in the middle of the summer heat.
Without looking at her fully, she already took his breath away. She became even with the row he
was standing in. In that moment, the world faded away and they were equal, standing side byside, even if just for a second.

She walked away.

She walked further and further and further. She walked up to the podium where the
pastor was standing and to where her fiance was standing.

He stood there, in the front row of this church, for forever, it seemed.

The rain clouds began to part. Sunlight erupted from the stained-glass windows and
baptized the sanctuary in light.

The light shone in such a way that it didn’t quite reach him.

Before he knew it, the words, “I do,” reverberated against the walls of the church, and in
his aching heart.

She was the type of girl that you lose chasing others. Mistakes were made in the past. She
wanted something more, he wanted something different. He had a few mistakes to make before
he realized that it was her. But it was too late.

The sun was starting to set. Shades of violet mixed with the bright pinks and reds were
painted across the sky, with the rain clouds in the distance, lighting flashing ever so faintly.
The rest of the time seemed like a blur. The reception was held in the backyard of the church.
Tables were set with dimly lit candles at each of them. Christmas lights were hung from the trees
across the courtyard. It invoked a sense of nostalgia. A sense of a time where everything wasbearable, when things could’ve been different.

She was dancing with Him in the middle of the yard.

Couples were scattered across the yard. He remembered their first dance as well. He
remembered sweaty palms and unorganized steps and irregular heartbeats. She taught him how
to stay on beat. She taught him how to feel the music and let it flow through him.

Now, the music stopped. His world went silent. Everything felt out of order and chaos rose
within him as he struggled to hold back his emotions.

The rest of the ceremony went on.

The cutting of the cake commenced. They did that cliche thing where they smear a slice in each
other’s faces.

He wanted to leave but he wanted to stay, and talk to her, at least for a little bit.

She was outside of the church now. At the primary entrance of the church, on the steps
talking with her guests.

She was constantly being surrounded by the friends she invited. A few of them he met.

Her high school best friend was there, as well as her college roommate, a couple of her old -and
new- coworkers were in attendance as well.

It was almost impossible to get to her. She looked so happy and he wanted Her to stay
like that forever. He thought that maybe if they talked, the illusion would break. Some kind of
morose feeling would take over. He hated that thought, even though he couldn’t feel anythingelse but that, in these moments.

He walked back into the church. His friends were there, gathering around each other.

They turned to pat his back and give him some sense of encouragement.

He felt nothing.

He could hear her laughing, he could see her smile.

He felt something in his soul that could be compared to how leaves wither and fall from
the branches of trees in autumn. He walked through the entrance of the church, past her.

He walked down the steps on to the sidewalk that lead to the street. He heard her call his
name. He stopped and reluctantly turned around to meet her face.

Her raven black hair was curled in a way that made it look like a waterfall was twisting
and turning around her shoulders.

The sky was turning dark blue with a maroon tint now. He looked past her for a split
second before finding the courage to meet her gaze.

Their eyes locked. In that moment, he could see everything he ever wanted and more.

“Are you alright?”
“I’m okay. It’s just been a long night. I’m pretty tired, so I was just going to head home.”
“I’m glad you came. It means a lot to me.”
He broke their eye contact and looked down and said,
“I’m glad you’re happy.”

They embraced. Her head met the center of his chest and his head rested on it for a split second.

She rubbed his back, he returned the action. Her perfume was fading but even when they let go,
he could still smell it, ever so slightly.

“ Sometimes I wish I could tell you everything, everything about how much you mean to
me. I wish I could tell you straight up that you’re the woman that I’ll always be in love with. At
the end of the day, I still find myself reaching for the phone to call you, just to hear your voice
and tell you about what happened throughout my day. I really wish I didn’t care about you and I
wish I could move on and I’ve tried so hard. But everything’s about you, and it will always be
about you. I wish I could turn back time and undo all the mistakes I’ve made. I feel like I could
spend a whole lifetime looking for someone to replace you, but they don’t even come close.” He
thought to himself.

His voice began to break as he tried to speak.

“ Even if I can’t say ‘I love you’ anymore, I love you. ” He thought once again.

She put his face in her hand and smiled a melancholy smile.

They turned, and walked away.

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