Walking by a wedding/ As the church doors tumble open/ And the cousins and the colleagues/ Stagger out into the street/ You imagine your own wedding/ As you float on down the aisle/ To the man up on the altar/ Who will make your life complete/ Who perhaps someday you'll meet/ And she will never look so beautiful/ And he will never stand so still/ And this day may last forever/ But tomorrow never will/ And life will never seem so beautiful/ Or troubles seem so far away/ Or the answers be so easy/ As "I do"/ And "I do"/ This once/ This day/ Walking by a wedding/ On East Tenth, near lower Broadway/ In the dying afternoon/ Of a should-be-summer day/ Standing there and knowing/ The world will never seem so lonely/ As when you're walking by a wedding/ And waiting/ And watching/ Then walking, walking away
The brisk spring breeze plays with Beth's hair, blowing it across her face as she walks down the sidewalk. Bustling, but quiet for New York City. At last she reaches her destination, and right on time. No sooner than she's taken a seat alone in the back pew does the music begin to play. Beth steels her heart as each of the bridesmaids walk down the aisle; they are all beautiful on the outside, and she remembers the face of every single one. Grad school…college…high school. None are strangers to her. Her heart throbs as the maid of honor enters. Of course it would be her. Bride, maid of honor, and…outcast guest. The three of them were inseparable, back before….everything. Before Beth had decided she'd rather stand for what she believed in, and before she paid the price for it. She fought for who she was, and even when things were okay again, too much had happened. They were too different by then. Cordial, polite, even friendly…but there will always be the gap of what could have been. Hence the fact that Beth now sits alone, in the back pew of a church, for the wedding of the woman who'd once been the girl she called her bet friend. To be honest, the invitation had been a surprise. Beth had long since stopped hoping for rekindled friendship. It's primarily out of gratitude that she chose to attend the wedding. So many happy people, while she remains so conflicted, lost in a sea of pros, cons, and unshakable worry. Her hand floats to her still flat stomach, squeezing her eyes shut tight against the onset of tears. This is not how my life was supposed to turn out. Thirty-nine and divorced, pregnant out of wedlock, from a man she might not even love, just as her career is finally taking off. The ceremony crawls by, Beth spending most of it lost in her anxious thoughts, trying to ignore the physical ache of loneliness. They look so happy up there on the alter. She wonders if she'll ever find someone who makes her that happy. God knows Oren didn't. Or to just be happy within herself. To Beth happiness feels like a far off dream to only be achieved in fairy tales and the lives of others. The couple kisses and the crowd cheers. Beth claps along and tries to muster up a smile, blinking back the tears at bay. The bride and groom walk from aisle to aisle, giving each guest a hug and thanking them for coming. Beth steels her eyes and heart, refusing to cry, forcing the corners of her lips upward as she embraces the ecstatic newlyweds. The words fall from her lips as though scripted as she wishes them the best in all that may come. The crowd flows out of the church doors, scattering off in lovesick couples and happy little families. Beth takes a deep breath, no longer bothering to hold back the tears flowing from her very soul, before turning and walking, walking away.