Terrified Heart

Up until the day before that day, Suzie had the impression she was about to experience the most glorious moment of her life.

So why wasn’t she exploding with happiness? Why was she so scared?

They loved each other, this was a fact. For everything she has always believed in, that certainty should be enough to go through with it. After all, they’ve planned it for so long; they’ve fought for it for so long. Why now, for the first time since they made that decision, was she having second thoughts?

Almost everyone said she was making a mistake. Almost everyone tried to talk her out of it. “It’s just not right”, they said. “It won’t last”, they said. “Think about how difficult it will be for you two”. Nonetheless, she has remained steady on her decision. Not only because she believed that was her right, but because she believed it was the right thing to do.

However, now it was different. There were no more arguments to discredit, nor prejudices to expose and debunk. The last person she had talked to that evening was the make-up guy, and he was gone for almost an hour. There were less than a couple of hours left and, for the first time that day, Suzie was alone.

Like a warrior at the edge of her final victory, Suzie was looking back at the debris over the battlefield and wondering, now that she had survived all her enemies, what were the reasons that led her into beginning that battle in the first place.

Suzie wasn’t a religious person. It was definitely not about getting God’s OK over who she decides to share her medicine cabinet with. Actually, the ceremony would be performed not in a church, but in open air, in a small farm owned by the family of one of Suzie’s closest and most supportive friends, Annie. There would be no one there but themselves, some of their families and friends, and the registrar. No priest or similar in sight, whatsoever.

It was not about having children, either. This would be a far too complicated project to execute and, in the end, Suzie agreed that they were simply not fit for it. For every aspect that composed the person she was, Suzie felt she had no predisposition or talent to be a mother. Truth be told, she hated kids.

So, she seemed to have concluded, what was about to happen was about no one but themselves. “We love each other”, she kept saying to herself, mentally. “We love each other, this is the reason. And it is a reason good enough.”

Except that, she knew, deep inside, it wasn’t. It couldn’t be. They loved each other alright, but love isn’t the same yesterday as it will be tomorrow. Love is a living thing, always transforming. Itself is not to be concealed, shine and perfect, within the frames of a posed picture. Especially a love bound to exist under such heavy fire like theirs.

“If it is not for our love, then for what?” the question ringed all sorts of alarms inside her head. “What are we doing? Or, even more important, why are we doing it?”

There was an uneasiness in her heart, a disturbing feeling that they were making that move as a way to settle some debt with an unidentifiable subject. She knew it was not about their families, their friends, or even God.

Perhaps it was all of them at once? Indeed, such a collective entity had a name, a name that embodied a set of concepts Suzie had been, since her adulthood, fighting against.

Society.

No, it couldn’t be that. If it was, then she knew the honest thing to do for herself would be to call the whole thing off.

God, she hated herself right now. She hated all the doubts she was having, hated the way they seemed to grow as she pulled off each layer of her secluded fears. Most of all, she hated the conclusion all those doubts were apparently leading her to.

Getting married shouldn’t be this much of a big deal… should it? Maybe everyone was right. Maybe it was a big mistake.

Before Suzie could realize, tears were dripping from her cheeks, threatening to smudge the make-up she spent so many hours getting on. Suzie reached for the small paper box next to her, grabbed a tissue, and started trying to dry out her tears. She was sitting in front of a big mirror, but all she could see facing her back was a scared little girl.

Suzie stared deeply at herself for one moment, her whole life flashing behind her reddish eyes. It was not supposed to be this difficult. It simply wasn’t.

She felt a delicate touch over her shoulder. A touch she knew very well, and promptly recognized.

“What’s wrong, my dear?”, asked Christine, Suzie’s mother.

“I don’t know why I’m doing this. I just don’t.”, Suzie replied, grabbing her mother by the waist and burying her face in her mother’s belly. She was crying softly. “All the reasons I can think of seem wrong. And if I can’t see a reason, I can’t accept it. You know me.”

“Yes, I know you. Oh, I sure do!”

“We shouldn’t need any of this. No dresses, no party.” Suzie continued. “Everybody told me it was a bad decision. I don’t want to do it just to prove them wrong. I don’t want this need of proving anything to anyone!”

“I know, dear. Trying to prove others wrong is only a way to deal with our own fear of failure.” Christine said. “And realizing we’re afraid to fail makes us wonder, if the love we feel is in fact, as strong as we think it is.”

There was a moment of silence when Suzie, recognizing the wisdom in her mother’s words, realized that what Christine have just said had perfectly summarized all her confused thoughts.

“How did you do it, mom?” Suzie asked. “How did you made it work, so wonderfully, for so long?”

Christine hold her daughter’s face between her palms and looked deeply into her eyes. “One day they stop being just people for us, you know? They become beacons. They become our guiding star, our safe trip home.”

Suzie felt as if her mother had just touched her heart with a fingertip, putting it in rest from all anguish.

“In the beginning it is hard to tell.” continued Christine. “But if the love of yours is for real, one day you’ll understand. Today is just a celebration for the first step you two are taking towards that moment.”

“Then what?”, Suzie asked.

“Then there is time. Next ot the one person you truly love, time seems not to pass at all. And at the same time, it goes by faster than you can possibly imagine; a year, a decade, or three.”

“What about the pain? What about the struggle? Is it worth it?”

Christine took a deep breath. “There will always be people trying to bring you down; it doesn’t matter if it’s someone like you, or someone like me. It’s easier for the world to say no. And you will never know for sure whether it’s worthy or not.”

Suzie lowered her eyes. Even knowing her mother was being honest, she was in need of closure. She needed something to make her stand up and change her life forever.

It didn’t take more than a second, during which Christine raised her little Suzie’s face once again.

“But it is the best you can hope for.” Christine said, her voice had a sweet, delicate tone. “In the end, the only certainty we can always carry with us is the certainty of our own hopes.”

Christine smiled tenderly, getting a soft smile from Suzie in return. Suzie closed her eyes and raised her forehead, receiving a gentle kiss from her mother.

Suzie opened her eyes, but she was no longer in her mother’s bedroom, sitting in front of the mirror. She was at the countryside now, in the Daniels’ old farm, stepping down an aisle on a red caret, several rows of lined-up chairs on both sides.

Suzie was being conducted by her mother, and all the guests were looking at the beautiful bride. She, however, didn’t look anywhere but forward. Her heart was unafraid now, and all she cared about was the person standing by the registrar, waiting for her at the end of the red path.

Christine let go of her daughter’s arm. Suzie, more resolute than ever, stopped in front of the registrar and held the hand of the man she was about to marry with. Despite every single big, fatal problem so many people seemed to see in their relationship, they were going to be together. She would take that one first step, for better or worse.

Hopefully, it would be for the better.

Suzie turned back to her mother, about to take her seat on the first row, right in front of one of Suzie’s best friends, Annie Daniels. Christine sat down, holding her companion’s hand, and Suzie looked at them, filled with pride. There they were, both her mothers, the two women whose unconditional love and affection for her had brought her that far in the road of her life.

Against all odds those two women fought, and hard they fought, for over thirty years. Against all odds and comments and advices and threats, and all the “It won’t last” and “It’s just not right”, they were still here, forever victorious.

Now, it was Suzie’s turn.

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