My collar was too tight. I could feel it irritating the skin round my neck. The heavy cloth material on the kilt itched. The tight socks were making my feet sweat. I looked around the room at the other guests. All the men were in standard suits or hired kilts. The women displayed more variety. Bright dresses of pastel oranges, blues, yellows and greens. No red as that would clash with the bridal party theme. I gripped the piece of paper tightly in my hand. I had learned the words off by heart but needed the reassurance of having them in front of me as a back-up.
The Humanist minister droned on. I heard the odd ripple of laughter but I wasn’t taking in anything that was being said. I had to keep my nerves under control. I looked towards the front, where I could see the back of the bride and groom. I felt my mind start to drift.
Mel nudges you in the side. You look up and realise faces have turned in your direction. It’s your time. Feeling like your legs will collapse underneath you, you manage to get to your feet. You walk down the aisle to the front. You give a smile to the bride’s mother as you pass. You reach the front and find the spot the minister had pointed to as your place to stand.
You look up at the hundred faces staring directly at you in anticipation. You notice a white bit of paper lying in the middle of the aisle and realise your hands are empty. You gulp. Could you quickly run back down the aisle and grab it? You look at the bride and groom staring at you expectantly. There is no way out of this. You open your mouth and start to speak.
‘O My Luve’s like a red, red rose,’ you croak. You clear your throat. Then you feel a wave of relief. It’s all there. You will be fine. ‘That’s newly sprung in June.’ Your confidence begins to grow. Your voice builds. The lines roll off your tongue until you reach the end.
‘Tho’ twere ten thousand mile.’ There is a round of spontaneous applause. You take a bow, nod a smile to the bride and groom and head back down the aisle to your seat. Mel beams at you as you sit down next to her.
I felt a dig from an elbow in my ribs and started out of my daydream.
‘It’s your part, get up,’ Mel hissed at me.
‘Cal, if you would come up and give your reading now, please,’ the minister beckoned me. I blinked and wiped my forehead. I tried to pull the collar away from my skin. I slowly got to my feet and made my way down the aisle. As I reached the front I turned to see the hundred faces staring expectantly at me. The pastels of blues and oranges and greens and yellows blurred. I nodded to the bride and groom. I looked at the crumpled piece of paper in my hand and began tentatively reading.
‘O My Luve’s like a red, red rose.’ I didn’t look up from the paper until the end. There was silence. The hundred faces looked at me still.
‘Thank you, Cal, that was lovely,’ said the Humanist minister. I walked back down the aisle in the silence. The faces looked passed me to the bride and groom at the front. As I took my seat the minister carried on his Humanist service. It was over, I had survived.
Written as part of a Creative Writing Course – this assignment involved looking at point of view in a narrative and I chose to use a mix of first- and second- person narrating.