“I do” I said, looking straight into the eyes of Zach, the man I’d loved since our first kiss in grade 11.
“You may now kiss the bride,” the priest told my fianc
He moved forward and I was brought into the magic of a kiss from my husband.
Our family and friends stood up and clapped when he moved back from me. He smiled and grabbed my hand and we walked down the isle, smiling the whole way.
He held my hand tightly as we walked, almost as if he was showing me he’d never let me go.
He brought me to where we’d been told to go; just outside the doors of the room. He grabbed my body and kissed me passionately.
“From now on until forever, you will be my husband,” I whispered,
“From now on until forever, you will be my wife. From now on until forever, you will always be in my heart; I’ll always be with you. I love you.” He whispered back.
I kissed him again before we realized we better get moving. The guests were getting up from their seats and moments later; the hall way would be filled with people.
A friendly usher told everyone goodbye as they left for the dinner and dance.
“Congratulations!” He told us as we walked out the door, hand in hand.
We walked to the limo that was waiting for us just meters away from the front doors of the church. The driver smiled as he opened the door and we got into the back seat. He closed the door behind us, but waited for the friends who we’d invited to share the ride.
The door opened again and some of our best friends excitedly jumped into the car.
“Congratulations!” My best friend, Bess, yelled as she jumped in.
The dinner was a party of food, dancing and laughing. But that wasn’t what I was looking forward to…. It was the party we had planned together afterward that I was waiting most for.
At 2:30, almost everyone had cleared out of the hall. Our friends had always been a group of late-night-partyers so it was no surprise that all that was left was a bunch of people in their twenties. I spotted my friend Andrea from across the room and walked towards her. My dress was seeming more heavy and the veil was just driving me crazy. She smiled at me but I could tell she’d been drinking. Her boyfriend waved from across the room and she stood up saying, “my ride”.
I walked back to my husband when she left and grabbed his hand.
“Can you believe it, it’s all over?” I said.
“The best part is still to come” he whispered into my hair.
I held his hand tighter and he walked me to the limo, which had been waiting there for the last half hour. My parents had already packed up everything else and brought it to my apartment, so we were free to go to the hotel we’d rented for the night.
The limo drove slowly through the dark streets until it came to the hotel, which was only a few blocks away from the hall. The driver got out and opened the door, while Zach helped me out. We walked through the silent hotel lobby to the checkout desk. It looked like the attendant was half-asleep, but her eyes widened when she looked up from the book she was reading.
“Newly weds!” she exclaimed.
Zach did the talking since I was already half-asleep as well. We’d been up late last night doing last minute preparations. Making it even harder, we weren’t allowed to see each other, so we were on the phone from different friends houses, enjoying our last night apart.
He took the key out of the woman’s hand and started walking from the desk.
“I’d suggest you take the elevator, that dress doesn’t look like it’s easy to walk up the stairs in” the attendant yelled after us.
“Will do!” Zach yelled back
We stepped into the old, creaky elevator and Zach pressed the button for floor 5. We stayed silent as it moved up, maybe because we were both thinking about what would happen next or maybe because we were both wondering whether this old thing would get us up alive.
The doors opened and we stood staring into an empty hallway. I’d already realized this was a pretty old hotel. The lights were dimmed and the walls were dark. It was comforting, but at the same time it was a little spooky.
Zach walked confidently towards room 203 and put the key in the lock. As he opened the door, my heart skipped a beat, I’d been expected more than an empty hotel room. He grabbed my hand and let me into the room as he turned the light on. I looked around, it was a small room with a comfy-looking bed, some candles, two heart shaped lights and pretty curtains. It was not like the rest of the hotel which looked old and uncared for.
Zach sat on the bed, “is it good enough?”
“Yeah, it’s fine, it’s kind of cute” I told him, sitting next to him on the bed.
He leaned over and kissed me softly. He rubbed my back and undid my dress. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy getting out of it, it was big and bulky, yet beautiful.
He started sliding it off, it seemed to come off easier than it was to put it on. He dropped it on the floor and I suddenly wondered if I should put it on a hanger.
He smiled at me in the darkness but said nothing as he began undoing his own clothing. I grabbed him and kissed him viciously.
“Whoa, baby!’ he said,“let me get undressed, then we’ll have our fun.”
He slid off his suit, piece by piece and dropped it beside my dress. I fell onto the pillow, tired as hell.
He came beside me and we lay there for a few seconds in just our undergarments.
He wrapped his arms around me, kissed me softly as he undid my bra. He threw it down and I could hear it land on the fabric of my dress. He pulled me against him and I reached over, running my hands up and down his chest.
He started easing down my underwear, so I reached over and did the same to his.
After our long preparation, we were laying there, naked against each other. I kissed him softly and looked into his deep green eyes.
He broke the silence, “Are you ready?”
When I woke up, the sun was shining in the large windows of my apartment. I could hear the shower running and I assumed Zach was already awake. I rubbed my eyes and glanced at the clock, it was 7:00. I yawned remembering that I had to be at work for 8:30. I crawled out of bed and found my slippers that were sitting on the floor where I’d left them the night before.
I opened the closet to find something formal for my meeting today. Just then, Zach came out of the bathroom wrapped in only a towel with another on his head.
“Morning sweetie” He gave me a quick kiss before rummaging through our already-messy closet to find something for him to wear.
When he went back into the bathroom, I went though what I had on hangers. My fingers slipped over my wedding dress which was hanging neatly on its hanger. I smiled, remembering the day I became Zach’s wife. It had been almost a year since that day.
Zach came back into the room and saw me staring at the ring on my finger.
“Our anniversary is next week!” He smiled.
“I know,” I said, giving him a romantic hug.
In a way, I couldn’t believe we’d gotten through the last year and still loved each other. Money was really tight and we were living pay check to pay check. We were still living in my small apartment, which was hard to hold all of our belongings and he was still in school, trying to become a doctor. Despite all things stressful, Zach always found time to love me. He was always happy to see me and he always found time to be with me, in-between work and school. We rarely fought and when we did we always laughed about it after anyways.
“Well, I’ll be back,” He said, “I have to go get the mail, then I’ll be back.”
He kissed me goodbye and told me he loved me before walking out the door. Never before had he left the house without me knowing he loved me.
I jumped in the shower and got dressed before he got back. I was eating breakfast when he walked in. He had a very angry look on his face and for a second it looked like he was going to cry.
“Are you okay?” I asked, walking up to him,
He walked by me and into our bedroom, slamming the door behind him.
I gave him a few minutes before knocking on the door. I’d never seen him this angry before and I was worried something was really wrong.
“What?” He said angrily.
“Can I come in?” I asked softly
“I’d rather you didn’t” he said in the same tone.
“Are you okay? Did something happen?”
“No and yes”
“Can we talk?”
“No!” He screamed
I walked from the door, completely unsure what to do. I had to leave for work in 25 minutes and I didn’t want to leave without knowing what was wrong. But if he wasn’t going to tell me, I couldn’t wait, I’d been late for work so many times my boss had already warned me I might get fired. I knew we couldn’t deal with that.
I walked up to our bedroom door again and knocked quietly.
“What do you want now?” He yelled.
“Why can’t you tell me what’s wrong?” I asked, trying not to sound impatient.
“It’s none of your business!” He screamed back
“Maybe not, but you seem really upset, you should talk about it,” I said, trying to remain calm.
“Honey, we can’t do this anymore…” his voice drifted off.
“Can I come in?” I asked
I opened the door and found him lying on our bed.
“What do you mean?”
“We can’t afford to live!” He screamed at me.
“What? We’re doing fine?”
“I just lost my fucking job, I just got the bill from the fucking school and then there’s the bill for this apartment which came in the mail today too. Not to mention the fucking credit card bill. Oh, and before I forget, our fucking wedding bill that still isn’t paid!”
“It’s okay, we’ll get through this,” I said more calmly than I was.
“No! We can’t. Do you know how much money we owe? It wasn’t even worth it for the wedding!”
“It was so!” I was mad then.
“Well… You go to your fucking job; maybe you can be good enough and get a promotion. Then again, I doubt you’ll be good enough, you haven’t even been able to pay for this little apartment without my help!” He yelled
Tears came to my eyes, “It’s not like you’re going to work, you got fired, so you must not be good enough either.”
“I got laid off because my employer couldn’t afford to pay me,” He said defensively.
“Oh,” I didn’t know what else to say.
“Get to work, we need all the money we can get. I’ll be here when you get back, since I have no work or school to go to.” He yelled at me.
“I can’t afford to go to school, so I guess I’ll just have to drop out”
“Zach, don’t do this. We can get through this. You’ll get another job. Get up go to school.” I said trying to sound right.
“Get up, get to work, and make some money girl!”
I stared coldly at him and wondered why he was treating me like this, I’d never seen him like this before.
“GOOD BYE!” He yelled at me.
I walked out the door fighting back the river of tears that was coming. I looked back and he was still lying there. I slammed the door behind me and headed for the front door where I grabbed my keys and ran for the bus, hoping I’d be on time.
“I’m sorry, Miss, he’s dead,” The doctor said, looking very unsympathetic.
I looked up from my hands, which were wet from my tears and into his eyes for truth. I saw no lie, he was telling the truth; Zach was dead.
More tears come to my eyes almost instantly and the doctor told me he would give me a minute alone. I looked around the waiting room, there were only a few people there, but I didn’t care.
It had been around 1:30 when I got the call to come in. My boss had called me to her office and told me there was a call for me on line two. I didn’t know who would be calling me here but assumed it was probably Zach calling to apologize. When I picked up the phone, I realized it was definitely not Zach. Before the man said anything, I knew something was wrong.
He told me that Zach had been walking to school when a drunk driver was driving down the street. The driver took a wrong turn and hit Zach who was walking on the sidewalk,
I’d rushed to the hospital, only to be told Zach was dead. They’d tried to save him, but he’d lost too much blood.
The doctor came back after I’d been crying a few minutes.
“Do you want to go say goodbye?” He said, looking sad.
I couldn’t talk, there was a lump in my throat, but I nodded my head and he motioned for me to follow him. He brought me to a small, plain white room and pointed to the bed. He left in an instant and said he’d be back in a few minutes.
I looked at the bed where Zach lay. All I could see was his head, as the doctors had covered the rest of his body. His head had a series of bloody scrapes and I could only imagine how bad the rest of his body was. His eyes were closed and I knew I would never get to look into those beautiful green eyes again.
I slowly made my way towards him. He looked as if something was missing. He wasn’t there anymore; it was just his body. Zach was in heaven now.
I grabbed his hand and sat down beside him on the bed. The tears flowed heavily, blurring my vision of my lost husband.
I started remembering this morning, the fight, the tears, the forgotten I love you.
“I didn’t even get to say goodbye,” I whispered to his body, “Zach, I love you. I love you so much baby. Why did you leave me? I love you, we were meant together. We were going to have a family together. We were going to get through our troubles. We were going to die together,” I cried
I kissed his bloody cheek and my tears fell on his face, creating a salty mix of blood and tears.
“I love you, forever, Zach” I whispered.
The doctor walked into the room then. I looked at him through my tears then I turned my head back to Zach for one last look.
“Are you ready?” He asked me
“I’m deeply sorry” He told me.
I sat in my apartment looking through pictures of us, when he was here.
I found our high school pictures. His looked like he was holding back laughter while mine looked like I just wanted it to be over. I found some pictures of when we were together. Some we were being crazy, others were just plain romantic and sweet. Looking at them just made my heart hurt, but the memories made me want to laugh, cry or smile.
Then I found our wedding album. We’d bound and put it together so carefully one night afterward. As I flipped through the pages, I remembered the perfect day that we became one. Then I remembered the night, when we finally came together.
Tears fell down my face and my heart ached for him. But I knew he was gone, I knew he was never coming back.
It had been almost a week since he left me. My mother had suggested looking through our memories to help ease the pain. It only made it worse, so I put the pictures away.
I was laying in bed on the night after Zach’s funeral crying my eyes out. The burial was the hardest thing I’ve been through. Seeing his beautiful body dropped into the ground, never to be seen again, I hated it.
I decided to take a shower to ease my mind. As I got out, I had the feeling I wasn’t alone. I glanced around the small bathroom, but no one was there. So I wrapped a towel around me and opened the bathroom door.
There was rustling in the bedroom and I ran to check the scene. I glanced around the room but couldn’t determine where it was coming from.
Suddenly the picture of Zach and my wedding kiss came flying off my end table and smashed to pieces on the ground. I ran towards it, but stepped back, realizing that someone must have done it and it wasn’t me.
“Whose here?” I yelled
There was no answer, just the frightening sound of silence.
“Who did that, tell me?!” I screamed again,
No one said anything, but I realized it got my mind of mourning Zach. I walked back to the bathroom to get into my PJs. I looked into the mirror to check my hair and noticed the words, “it was Zach” written into the condensation.
A shiver went up and down my spine. I knew too well that it was not Zach. Zach was dead.
Almost immediately tears came to my eyes, but I laughed out loud and said, “Zach’s dead, that’s impossible”. But the tears kept coming.
I slid under the warm covers of my bed and turned out the light.
“It’s not impossible” I heard someone whisper.
I jumped out of bed and turned on my light.
“Who said that?” I screeched, more than frightened.
“I did, Zach” a whisper said again,
“Stop saying that, who are you really?”
“Sweetie, it’s me, Zach”
“Zach?” I whispered back, “Zach, where are you?”
“I’m sitting right beside you,”
I looked around the room, there was no one there, yet I still felt someone’s presence
“I can’t see you?”
“No, but I can see you.” He said quietly, “put your hand out”
I reached out into the empty room and looked around waiting,
“I’m holding your hand”
“I can’t feel…” I said. Somehow, I knew it was him, but I couldn’t understand.
“I know, but I’m here. Baby, I promise, I’m here… I’ll always be here.”
“Kiss me” I said.
“Close your eyes, pretend I’m here. Maybe you’ll feel it”
I closed my eyes and moments later I could feel something against my lips. It was just a brush and then suddenly, it was so real. It was almost as if his lips were really there. Or maybe they were?
I opened my eyes and the feeling stopped, I was kissing thin air.
“I felt it, but you’re not there”
“I know, you can’t see me sweetie, but I’m here, I promise”
Tears started flowing down my face and I couldn’t stop them, “Why?” was all I could say, but it wasn’t all I meant.
“Why did I die? I had no choice. Why did I leave you? I had no choice. Why am I still here? I had no choice.”
I wanted to be taken into his warm embrace and brought to his world. I wanted to be with him.
“Baby, I love you” He said
“I love you more…” I said through my tears, “is this goodbye?”
“I don’t know. I would stay here forever if I could, but I don’t think I can.”
Suddenly I wondered if my mind was playing tricks on me, but somehow I knew it was real.
“Take me with you,”
“I can’t. You have to stay here, you have to live your life, you can do it without me,” He told me.
“I can’t,” I mumbled.
“Baby, I’ll always be here, I’ll always be by your side, and I’ll always love you. From now until forever, I’ll be in your heart.”
And he was gone. Somehow I knew he was gone, there was an overwhelming feeling of loneliness. I knew he would never come back.
I cried out loud, “Zach, Zach, why? Why do you have to go? We were supposed to be together forever, now I’m all alone.” I fell onto my bed and stared at the ceiling. I waited, but no tears came, I realized I was going to be okay.
“I’ll always be in your heart” Rang in my ears. This time, he wasn’t sitting beside me; he said it from my heart.
2009 Bailey Thompson