256 Words

Second Chances

M. Stanley Bubien

"Speak now," the priest intoned, "or forever hold your peace."

I scooted myself upright. Would someone speak? Certainly I had---all to avoid this very day. My first chance. And I'd blown it.

"What?" Marcy, my fiancee had yelled upon my announcement. "You're kidding, right?"

I looked her in the eye.

"You're not kidding! I don't believe this!" The tears streaked instantly down her face. Oh, how those tears always made me melt. But this time I was taking a stand.

"I'm sorry, Marcy. I care for you deeply, but I can't get married."

"Care for me?" she accused. "I thought you loved me."

"I did." I had a flash of me holding Marcy, she pushing her chin against my neck, and that sickly, wonderful feeling it gave me in my stomach---a feeling I hadn't had in so, so long. "At least, I thought I did."

"But you said you loved me. You even came to Los Angeles with me!"

I sighed, "That's because I believed I loved you. But, well, but I guess I was wrong."

She tore the ring from her finger and threw it at me.

How long afterward---six months? seven?---did I realize my mistake? Truly, I did love her.

But by then it was too late.

And so I sat straight upright, watching Marcy, the woman I loved, saying wedding vows to another man. My stomach felt sick as I hoped beyond hope that someone, anyone, would speak now, and give me the second chance I so desperately needed.

Copyright ©1997 M. Stanley Bubien. All Rights Reserved.

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October, 1997
Issue #18

256 Words