I looked out the picture window in the parlor. Oak trees lined the drive, heavy with Spanish moss
hanging like silvery garland. The black bruise of a storm rolled towards me. The envelope in my
bra shifted. Paper crumpled up against my skin.
A crowd was gathering below watching the storm roll towards the venue. Frantic ants motioning
with alarm, directing the venue staff to cover the chairs. Wet chairs don’t matter to me. I won’t
be marching down that center aisle. Hank would be my consolation prize, standing at the end
with the same face as his mother.
The clouds started to shift, signaling they were waiting to position themselves directly over my
outdoor ceremony and then purge themselves. I wanted to purge too. Not only rid myself of
Hank but of all my bad decisions. How did I let it get this far?
The chatter in the room below was tinged with excitement and jealousy. I pulled at my bridal
robe and pressed the envelope into my chest, as if the words would leave an imprint on my soul.
These words would echo my own. I knew it. There was happiness in this envelope, even
Hank was what every girl wanted. He was what Mama wanted for me. What Mama wanted for
herself. When he asked for my hand, I cupped my face in surprise, displaying my perfectly
manicured fingers painted in my signature color. Hank had slipped the tasteful two-carat emerald
cut diamond set in a perfect ring of platinum right on my finger. The only finger that mattered.
And now the day had come where I was expected to see this contract through. Close the deal.
I watched as silver dollar-sized rain drops pelted at the window. Slipping the envelope out of my
bra, I pressed it between my hands. I ripped one corner and slid the note out with speed. A few
words smattered the card. It doesn’t take many words to declare love.
I’m so sorry. Marry Hank. Try to be happy.
The note fluttered to the floor. Then it started to hail.
Katy is a writer and editor for a national engineering and surveying organization and a fiction editor for Identity Theory. Her writing has appeared in The Dead Mule School, Reckon Review, Cowboy Jamboree, Salvation South, and elsewhere. Her first job was being the Easter bunny at her local mall. She peaked early. She was born and raised in South Carolina and lives with her spouse and two pups, Finn and Betty Anne. You can find her on Twitter at MarchingFourth and katygoforth.com.