The rehearsal at the church was chaotic with conflicting instructions from the wedding planner and priest for how the attendants should enter and where they should stand. To further complicate issues, our numbers were lopsided--we were short one groomsman. Behind the chaos there was a quiet whisper--the bride's brother isn't going to make it.
L was one of my college roommates. A friend of a friend to fill the extra spot in our suite my sophomore year, she had quickly become one of my best friends--someone to laugh with, to shop with, and to plan crazy stunts with. Her brother enlisted in the Navy while we were living together and I was there to share souvenirs when she came back to school from visiting him. As her wedding approached, he was still on a ship in an unspecified location.
The morning of L's wedding dawned cool and clear. After getting all dolled up, the bridesmaids were trying to pass the time at the bride's parents' house without mussing our hair or carefully applied makeup. There was a phone call as we started eating lunch and the level of tension in the house rose--L's brother was in the US. After a sleepless night spent in a helicopter, he was one quick plane ride away. Common sense said he wouldn't make it in time for his sister's ceremony, but suddenly there was a reason for seeds of optimism.
Soon our time arrived; we dressed and then helped the bride dress. The photographer arrived and we posed like supermodels. During this time, the phone kept ringing--hurried conversations indicated her brother's plane had touched down. Then there was the call trying to locate his ride and one to confirm directions. As the photographer moved on and began taking family pictures, we waited in a clump on the stairs and readied ourselves to leave for the church. There were excited murmurs and L's mother came running through the entry in her mother-of-the-bride dress and heels to clasp her son standing in the doorway. Next came his grandmother and aunt to rush to greet him. Everyone was sniffling and I had to turn away to keep from ruining my makeup.
When I turned my head back, he had stepped into the living room and was clasping hands with his sister. The light from the windows behind them was muted by sheer drapes and there was almost a halo surrounding them, her in her lace dress and veil and him in his Navy whites. Their heads leaned together, I had to blink back tears watching this unspoken moment of love between sister and brother.