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Our holidays started about the same time the rain set in — one week before the wedding. And I mean real heavy rain. Draught breaking, all day every day downpours. This wasn’t going to work for us. Bren was a sunny day kind of guy. Rain on his wedding day would not make his day. And would make the drive to the church a bit soggy in the duck egg blue convertible Volkswagen Beetle I would be riding in.
We bought, begged and borrowed as many umbrellas as possible during the week-long deluge leading up to our big day — in the hope of keeping our bridal party and guests dry. Hoping against hope that we wouldn’t need them. It wasn’t looking good, and when I heard whispers of widespread flooding in our area, my wedding jitters went into overdrive. Shit!
By wedding day eve we had done all we could do. The rest was in the hands of those far more powerful than us. There wasn’t much of a break in the weather for most of the day. Grey clouds hung low in the sky. By mid-afternoon the rain had eased at least, to a capricious drizzle with an occasional downpour — between downpours.
Not letting the bad weather get in the way of his last day as a single man with his mates, Bren and his two groomsmen went surfing for a few hours before they had to meet the rest of us at the church for rehearsals.
When the phone rang at 5:00 pm, I had a feeling something was wrong. It was Bren. When he said, “don’t worry, everything’s OK,” I started to worry. Brendan’s groomsman had been taken to hospital. A surfing accident had left him with a substantial stitch count in his bum.
He was badly wounded when he came off his board, and it had hit him below the coccyx. This caused a gaping wound that required an overnight hospital stay. He wouldn’t be discharged in time to attend the wedding. Bren wanted me to know before I got to the rehearsal.
I felt bad for his groomsman, but we had to find a new one, quick, who was the same size as the old one. After taking a minute to think, I suggested Bren pick up his groomsman’s suit on the way home from rehearsals. It should fit Charles. “Have they arrived yet?” I asked. “I’m sure he won’t mind filling in.” Crisis avoided.
The rain had set in again. It was heavy and didn’t let up all night. Nor did I sleep; I was staying in my childhood room and Deb and Andy were in the bedroom next to me. I heard dad get up several times through the night to check the weather.
I dozed off around 3am as the sound of wind and rain became gentler and lulled me off to sleep. I woke with a start at 5am. There was complete silence, almost an eerie quiet as I got out of bed.
Trying not to wake Deb and Andy, I tiptoed out to the front veranda.
The last of the clouds were heading out to sea as the sun rose, revealing a beautiful, big clear sky. Birds started to sing, and I felt oddly like snow white. I wouldn’t have been surprised if a robin had sat on my outreached hand while butterflies danced around my head. Of course, that didn’t happen, but I wouldn’t have been surprised.
There was a palpable charge of energy in the air I was breathing in, and it was charging my entire body. It was more than excitement. Every cell in my body was singing.
Dad walked out onto the veranda to join me. He looked out over the beach, paused for a moment and said, “looks like a good day,” and walked back inside to make a cup of coffee.
Dad was a man of few words. And in a few words, he could convey deep emotion without effort or expectation. One amongst many of his greatest traits. I felt overwhelming relief wash over me as excitement continued to tingling from my toes to my nose. I was marrying Brendan today.
By 6am we were all tucking into a wedding banquet breakfast mum had put together. All my favourites were there; coco pops, croissants, fruit, cheese and Asti. What was a wedding breakfast without sparkling wine?
We sat together, Mum and Dad, Deb, Andy and me. Chatting over top of each other between bursts of laughter at Andys jokes, discussing the day ahead and organising the logistics of bringing it all together. Mum gave me a big hug as we cleared dishes and filled champagne glasses. And I knew today, everything would be Ok.
Dad would stay at the house to take any deliveries that might turn up. Andy was picking up the flowers and running around doing any other errands that needed attending last minute. Mum, Deb and I would meet Sue and her girls at the hairdressers — for hair and makeup at 10am, after which we would all head back to Mum and Dads to get dressed. The cars and photographer would be at the house by 1:30pm, and we would make our way to the church by 2:45pm.