The Wedding Day - A Short Story (October 31st, 1950)
Under the bright lights of the big city, a young girl nervously awaited her first date beneath the grand pavilion that lead to the velvet carpet of the newly opened movie theater. Julie was a little shy. All of this was a little new to her.
She had yet the young man, Jack, no more than a handful of times, though they had seemed to click immediately. He arrived on his bicycle, leaning it against a nearby wall before meeting the young lady with a polite smile.
"Shall we?" He asked, nodding towards the ticket booth. His arm reached confidently yet delicately over Julie's shoulder, immediately resting her nerves as she strolled towards the theaters entrance.
"Please," Grinned Jack as he noticed her beginning to reach into her purse, "Allow me to pay for this, I've been saving for weeks." Julie was dearly flattered at such a notion although Jack was a lot less privileged than she, he had taken it upon himself to treat her this evening.
For the first time in her life, Julie took her seat inside a cinema. The screen at the front of the hall was larger than life, and the sweet scent of buttered popcorn filled the air around her. It was a simply marvelous experience, and the caring gentleman by her side made the evening truly perfect.
After the film, Jack gave her a brief tour of the city before walking her home to her apartment block, watching her fade away behind the crystal clear glass doors and into the elevator. It was a far cry from the derelict slums in which he himself lived, and he could only marvel over how his luck had thrown him such an opportunity.
Weeks passed by, and Julie began to grow nervous about finally introducing the man of her dreams to her parents; after-all, he was but a bar-worker, a league below the position that her father held at an investment firm. She worried that they may pressure her into dating a man with a history of wealth within his family's background, like a majority of upper-class families such as her own preferred their daughters to.
Julie was proven wrong, however, when her parents took an immediate shine to the boy, hearing about how he had treated her to such a fine evening. In fact, they took to him almost as if he was their own blood, treating the couple to an exquisite wedding at a beautiful chapel on the outskirts of town once they had agreed to marry. Without a single hitch in their relationship, the wedding day approached, with Julie becoming evermore excited about the big day, and how she would be fortunate enough to marry such a gentleman.
This was it. Wedding day. Julie was a little tense she wanted to look flawless for the big occasion, and despite her father's insistence that not a strand of hair was out of place, the bride believed otherwise. On the back of a horse-drawn carriage, she approached the church, the autumnal breeze stroking her cheeks.
She couldn't help but admire the beauty in the falling leaves, shades of crimson, magenta and gold twirling from the branches as they made their new home on the gravel below. She took one last, deep breath as she linked arms with her father, the church organ singing a beautiful tune as she approached the arched doorway.
As soon as her father opened the doorway, however, her dreams began to crumble. At the alter was not the handsome figure of her fianc้, yet rather the solemn, crushing humiliation of an empty slab of concrete, to a shocked gasp from her two hundred person strong audience. Her idea of the big city dream died in an instant. She had been stood up at the alter, falling into a deep depression in the coming months, that seemed to gnaw away at the tender flesh of her mind.
It was a somewhat vicious state of mind for Julie, who turned to a series of self-destructive traits such as neglect, self-harm, and anorexia, her mother, though usually supportive of the girl, turned somewhat cold as she struggled to cope with the empty shell that Julie had become. In a desperate attempt to please her mother and avoid being disowned, Julie began to attend a help clinic.
It seemed dull and futile at first, but as the weeks rolled into months, she encountered a young health-care work at the clinic by the name of Timothy. Over the next half a year or so, herself and Tim did indeed become rather close, with Tim Proposing to her at the peak of the summer's heat a proposition that Julie accepted, eager to put her pained memories of the past behind her.
The big day came once again, and Julie reached into her wardrobe for her wedding dress. It had lost a little shine from the previous year In fact, little did she realize, that it was a year ago to this very day that she had been stood up. She slipped into it, the silk blend of the dress stroking her skin with a bitter-sweet burn. The memories came flooding back, and the fear of a repeat of the previous year lingered dangerously at the forefront of her mind.
Once again, she arrived at the church late in the day, full of love and hope on her wedding day, determined not to let the layer of fog dampen her mood. Yet, just like before, the man whom she thought to be the cleanser of her deep emotional wounds, was nowhere to be found, never to be seen again.
Julie was distraught. She wondered if she would ever settle down with someone, or even love somebody again. Her doubts were proven wrong by a charming banker named William. Things between them were fantastic, and so they agreed to settle down. Julie was more confident than ever that Bill was the right man, though her nerves once again began to itch as the big day loomed ahead like a lingering storm-cloud.
She prayed twice per day for a month hoping the wedding would go as planned, emotionally scarred by her many weddings. Curiously, the church had to re-arrange the wedding which was originally planned to have occurred in the dying days of summer due to a roof leak, and the wedding was, once again, on the same date as the previous past weddings, which brought back all the more painful memories.
As she donned her wedding dress for the third time, alas, in a somewhat twisted turn of events, her husband-to-be was not awaiting her arrival at the alter, sending her body crashing to the floor as she burst into tears...
"Poor girl," the nurse said as she gazes into the padded cell.
"Yes, it's sad", Doctor Riggs Replied.
"But one thing I don't understand... why is Julie in a wedding gown?"
"She's getting married today."
"You haven't heard the story? It was 60 years ago today, October 31, 1950 - Julie was supposed to be married, however she was stood-up at the alter. It destroyed her life and she went mad, stark raving mad. Our poor Julia is doomed to relive her failed wedding every Halloween for the rest of her life..."