Friday, September 12, 2008

Lori's Choice Part 23

Not for younger readers. The subject of Lori's Choice should be screened by parents before minors read it.

Finally the guests and bridal party were gathered at the little reception. Cake was cut. The bouquet was thrown. Rebekah caught it. Lori had to borrow it back a few minutes later when they went up for the final pictures.

The photographer asked the groom to kiss the bride and the rest of the bridal party exchanged glances. Caleb looked at them all and reassured them, “It’s ok. I’ll be good.” He closed his eyes to envision the picture-perfect kiss, and Lori impulsively stood on tiptoe to plant one on him instead. He forgot about looking good. The photographer got a perfect shot, several perfect shots, in fact, before they were done. Mom rolled her eyes. Pastor Greg tapped Caleb on the shoulder. “Your guests, they’ll want to greet you,” he said.

Caleb wouldn’t let her hand go. The young Mrs. Donnigan tugged it free to hug her dear friends before they left in his blue, um, Ford. For one night Anna was staying with Mom. One night. Lori shook with excitement and held tighter to Caleb’s hand.

The truck was decked with streamers and cans trailing off the bumper, but nothing worse. They made plenty of noise bumping over the dirt road to home. At the homestead Caleb parked the pickup and carried Lori over the footbridge, careful not to drop her in the water, and over the threshold into their new house. It looked quite different than the last time she’d seen it, that fall. Tess and Ryan and Caleb had all been busy arranging furniture and putting up the curtains Lori provided them.

“It’s early, yet. You hungry?” Lori opened a cupboard.

“Yes,” Caleb said, but his eyes hinted he didn’t mean it literally.

“Caleb, you’re a fool.”

“Come on. You going to start nagging already?”

Lori smiled a huge smile. “Everyone in that whole church back there is thinking it. You didn’t have a goofy smirk, for which I’m grateful, but you had that eagerness I can’t explain. It’s not quite like you.”

“This is the married me,” Caleb said.

Lori shook her head.

“Tell me. Describe what I did. I know I rather lost my head.”

“Well, you did ok at first. You weren’t paying much attention, but that’s understandable," Lori's smile was teasing, like the afternoon driving back from town. "At least you were following the general flow. When you started whispering, I knew you’d been thinking your own thing instead of whatever the lyrics were saying, but that was ok, too. Then you paid close attention for the vows and the ring, which is the most important part. You said ‘I do,’ just fine. In fact incredibly." One tiny tear glistened in her eye. The emotion had been carried away on the moment before. Now, in remembering, she was more vulnerable. "I wasn’t sure I could make it through my part after that." Mischeivous again, she went on, "However, after you said ‘I do,’ the married you seemed to want to hurry up and get to the married privileges. Is that what you were thinking, or is it just me?”

Caleb laughed at the impression he’d given. “I’d say that’s not really what I was thinking. I was reviewing our vows, and what you meant by how you said it, and your little fingers in mine, including the one with the ring. I missed Pastor Greg saying to kiss you, and then I didn’t know what to do. After hopefully not too long a time, I recovered, but then I was embarrassed and just wanted out of there. Sorry.”

“Oh Caleb,” she laughed for him. She stroked his cheek. He blushed a little, but mostly just stood there admiring her.

“The day for which we’ve waited. Isn’t it precious?” he asked.

“I love you,” she said.

“We should have put that in our ceremony somewhere,” Caleb added. “Do you want me to tell you how you did?”

Lori tilted her head to listen.

“You came into sight just as your entry music finished the first bar. Clinging to your dad’s arm, you walked towards me. Or maybe you flew. I know it seemed fast. You were graceful every time you moved. I got mesmerized watching the way the dress flowed when you stepped aside, turned, even just shuffled. When Anna made a little noise you gave her a quick look. Otherwise your eyes were on mine. I suppose that’s because I was watching you, too. Probably not the plan for success in making it through a ceremony as scheduled. Your voice was soft and tender." Caleb seemed to listen to his memory. "I thought you were bypassing the mind filter and speaking straight from your heart. When I missed my cue and looked to you, you waited, then hinted without moving anything but your eyes. For a second that seemed like eternity I thought, ‘This is it,’ and you leaned in when I bent to kiss you. After that you looked so stunned by my kiss that I was worried you would faint. Rather than catch you as you fell, you ended up off the ground, crying out in surprise, just as a young bride should, and clinging to my neck. Your veil fell into my eyes as I walked, but you were smiling, delighted, in the moment. And then the moment I will never forget. I wish I had a picture of it. Not for me to remember, but so I can show our great-grandkids. It will be so hard to explain you there, that ring of white flowers,” Caleb caressed her circlet, “and you beneath it, waiting and trusting and loving.”

Lori got a more exhaustive tour of the house. “I moved some of my things into the bedroom,” Caleb told her last. There were flowers on the dresser, reflected in a large mirror that hung just above it. And a whole stack of throws and quilts lined the hope chest at the end of the bed. In a corner was a space for Anna’s crib. But there were other things, things that reminded her of Caleb. There were books, and a shelf full of journals. A picture hung on the wall opposite their window. Lori spun around slowly to take it all in. Once she’d made two full rotations, Caleb closed the door behind them.

The room was small. It took him not two steps to reach her.

Lori’s eyes fluttered open when the sunlight made it to their window. Caleb looked down at her disheveled crown of white flowers. He was propped up on one elbow. He didn’t know how long he’d been like that, but his arm was asleep, so he estimated it was a while. She smiled when she saw his face. Instinctively she sat up and pulled her knees under her chin.

“Good morning, Caleb Donnigan,” she said.

“Lori,” he kissed her, “Donnigan,” another kiss, “I love you.”

To God be all glory.


åslaug said...

I am so pleased, Lisa, even if I'm sad it's the last one. Waiting on your next part have taught me a lot of patience. Everytime (don't think for one second that I read it once and forget it)I read this story (now all of it) I am reminded by so many things I tend to forget, i.e. God's perfect ways and will. I am always led closer to God. The Lord bless you, Lisa. And as for Lori's choice; To God be all glory!

Lisa of Longbourn said...

Thank you for your encouragement!

I am blessed by this story. Strange how writing works, how the stories seem to come from somewhere else. But I know also that so much of me, what I have learned and pondered, is in this story. With all of my writing I want to share myself with the hope of encouraging others, particularly towards faith in God, faith for the big things and the little decisions of everyday.

To God be all glory,
Lisa of Longbourn

åslaug said...

I'm so pleased to read your comment =) I couldn't have written it better myself. It's exactly how I feel when I write; the stories just come. I am, in way, not able to change them, they're already made. Still there is so much of me in the stories, my experiences, thoughts and all. It's strange, but it's a blessing! What better reason is there for writing than to encourage others to faith in God. Big things and small decitions.

God bless you, Lisa. I'm so pleased to find a kindred spirit in you! To God be all glory; Soli Deo Gloria!