Here’s a short story about a wedding in Sevilla. I wrote this a couple of years back after I got married. In my next blog I’ll tell you what inspire me to write this story.
The Golden Cross
The church bells chimed and Salvador glanced at his silver watch as it jangled round his thin wrist.
“In the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit,” he whispered. He continued ironing, concentrating on the pleats on the sleeves, the cuffs, and the collar.
When he thought about the big event, his stomach tightened. Standing in front of all those people and speaking made him feel jittery. The church would be packed with family listening to him repeating the words from the Lord, saying the vows.
He thought back to his childhood and grimaced when the names the other boys called him at break times in the playground echoed in his mind; Mute, the Whisperer, No Tongue. He was a changed man now though, and had courage for his grand day.
He hung his shirt up on the wardrobe and brushed his black trousers. His clothes were ready and he had plenty of time to get to the church. As he took a swig of coffee, his mobile rang.
“Hi, I just wanted to check how you were,” said Pedro, chuckling down the phone. “You know; last minute nerves and everything. I know you’ve never done this before.”
“That’s true, first time for everything I suppose. I’m a little nervous, but I’ll be fine. What about you? Is everything in order?”
“Yeah, I checked the flowers and everything this morning. All the guests have arrived from England and I’ll be at the entrance to greet them and make sure they are all ready for when Maria arrives.”
“That’s great. Guess I’ll see you there, don’t forget the rings now.”
“Don’t worry, they’re in my pocket.” Salvador breathed deep as he placed the mobile on his chest of draws. He’d be all right, no one would suspect his nerves; besides, everyone will be looking at Maria in her dress.
The afternoon heat in September was scorching so Salvador had a cold shower and got dressed. He was about to do up his top shirt button when he remembered his lucky charm.
“My cross,” he muttered, smiling as he reached towards his bed side table, but his golden cross was gone. He felt a nervous pang in his chest. “I’m sure I left it there.” How would he get through the day? He checked under his bible, by the side on the floor, and in the draw, but the cross had disappeared.
The church bells chimed. He only had an hour before the ceremony. He needed strength. He would be unable to speak in public without his cross. He would freeze. He thought back to his confirmation, when his father had given him the cross. The month before he’d been to speech therapy classes and in front of the packed Cathedral he’d spoken his first words. His parents had cried, watching their son speak after all those years in silence. He had to have his cross.
He jogged into the lounge and knocked into a table, a glass half full of orange juice smashed on the floor. He had no time to clear up the mess. He pulled the cushions out from the leather sofa and searched down the sides, behind, and under, but nothing.
He could feel his wet shirt sticking to his back. He had to calm down or the wedding would be a disaster. He could see Maria gazing at him, wondering why he was unable to say a word, her eyes welling up on her wedding day.
He searched his bedroom one last time, but there was no sign of the cross. He knelt down in front of a picture of Jesus and prayed for strength. He put on his black leather shoes, grabbed his jacket, and left for the church. He had to find his strength alone.
As he clonked towards the entrance, he could see family members gathered outside so he went in a side entrance. He knew the layout well and figured that he could get near the front without speaking to anyone. They’d all be taking photos and waiting for Maria anyway.
The church was ready; flowers placed along the wooden benches and candles flickering on the sides. No one was inside. Salvador’s throat closed up and he wheezed as he knelt down and stared up at the golden altar.
“Please Lord, give me strength,” he whispered, crossing himself. He was surprised he could speak without the cross, what would happen when the church was full though?
Just as Salvador had finished praying, the church door creaked open. Salvador darted to the side, hid behind a wooden pillar, and listened to Pedro lead in the English and Spanish families. His throat clenched up. How was he going to go through with this? Poor Maria.
“Hola Salvador,” said Miguel, one of Maria’s nephews. Salvador smiled at the boy and tapped him on the shoulder. “What’s the matter,” Miguel said, frowning. “Can’t you speak?” Salvador’s stomach tensed, how did kids always know everything? What if Miguel ran over and told everyone he was hiding? Salvador placed a finger on his lips and shushed Miguel while crossing himself.
“Oh, sorry, you’re praying.” Miguel slipped away. Salvador stood in silence.
Pedro brought in the guests. In five minutes Maria would arrive. He had to think of something.
“Has anyone seen Salvador?” Pedro said. The groom’s family shook their heads, concerned.
“I have,” Miguel said, holding up his hand. Salvador shut his eyes.
“Good boy, where is he then?” said Pedro.
“He was praying over there.” He pointed to the pillar. Salvador wiped his brow, tidied his collar, and forced a smile.
“There you are,” said Pedro, shaking his hand. “We were beginning to think you’d got cold feet. You okay? You seem flustered.”
“Uh huh,” Salvador mumbled, nodding twice.
“What’s up, cat got your tongue?” Salvador cringed at the word; Mute, the Whisperer, No Tongue. He smiled and shook his head. “Right then, well, go and take your place and I’ll go check for when Maria gets here.” Pedro darted up the aisle and Salvador wandered along the front benches, kissing the women on both cheeks and shaking hands with the men. His palms were sweaty.
Salvador faced the altar and prayed for energy and strength to speak. He had to find the courage. The organist started and everyone stood up. Salvador peered along the aisle. Maria came round the corner, her bright smile creating a wave of energy through the crowd. She looked stunning. He prayed for strength.
When Maria reached the front, she looked right and smiled. Her eyes were a brilliant white and her face was beaming. Salvador breathed deeply and grinned. The music stopped and everyone sat down.
Salvador stood there, clenching his fists and tapping his left foot. His palms were sweaty. He reached inside his jacket pocket for a hanky. He always kept a hanky for emergencies. As he scrunched it in his palm to dry the sweat, he felt something cool and thin. He smiled at Maria and looked down to his pocket. Tangled up in the white hanky, glistening golden, was his cross. His tension oozed away. He cleared his throat and took a deep breath.
“Dear Beloved,” he said, grinning at the happy couple, “we are gathered here today…”
Find about what inspired this story in next week’s blog.