The day had finally decided to do away with the presence of dawn, and it dramatically changed from the darkened and quiet sky to a much brighter and involved atmosphere. The birds were contributing their musical chirps as they had already embarked on giving the morning a soothing and colorful beginning dishing out various melodious sounds. All the birds were chirping at almost the same time.
The rhythmical beauty of it was so rich. While this transformation was taking place. She was glued to her window observing the sounds of nature with concentration and amazement of how beautiful God has structured the pattern of this world.
"He is indeed the Almighty," she muttered. She left the window side to sit at her vanity. Rachel stared into the mirror, and she mumbled to herself.
"This is it, your life is about to change forever." She reminisced about how she met Marty her soon to be a husband that she would be marrying in just about eight hours, precisely at 4 pm.
She thought about Jamal Watkins, a teacher at her school where she works as a school nurse. He introduced her to Marty Nelson when she was at a Christmas party three years ago. Since then she and Marty had been an Item. She couldn't stop thinking about the moment he proposed to her. It started out just like any other ordinary day. In fact, the week had been quite hectic for her. She had dealt with too much disappointment at work. It was as if he knew what she had gone through over the week. It also seemed to her like something was up Marty's sleeve when he took her up into a rented hot air balloon.
She had not been in a hot air balloon before, so the new adventure was quite fun for her at least to ease the stress of the week as if it wasn't pleasing enough in the midst of nothing. His grin caught the attention of Rachel's eyes. She thought. "What does he have up his sleeve?" She continued in thought,"
"What is he...and he popped the question." Even before she finished the thought, they were so many feet in the air and as a result of being so high up in the air. She lost her lunch on Marty's brown penny loafers. She saw the look in Marty's gorgeous blue eyes when she told him yes before she regurgitated. Rachel was always drawn to Marty's blue eyes, and she would get weak in the knees. Every time he looked at her. His short blonde crew cut hair and six foot two in height were another obsession of hers.
Rachel had a perfect hourglass figure at one hundred and forty pounds, five foot six in height, beautiful brown eyes and light brown hair. She wanted her future children to take after their father. She looked forward to starting her family with him in a year. She always wanted a little girl. She had bought some little pink bibs and onesies that she kept secretly hidden away from everyone including Marty. She stored them away in her closet for the future believing that one day they would bring her some luck for a baby. She had planned that her baby girl is going to be her best friend when she becomes an adult and they will relate and chat casually as if they were the same age.
She was sick of seeing all of her friends get married and starting families and it that it made her sad. She was never one to be jealous, but indeed she was. She was always asked to be one of the bridesmaids often at her friend's weddings. One thing Rachel did not want to be was to end up being an old maid. She felt thirty years old was too old. A knock on the door snapped her out of thought. It was her dad checking in on her to see if she was awake. With a coffee cup held in his right hand, he said. "Buttercup, I thought you were still in dreamland." "Good morning dad, no I had been up since five am."
"I had rough night thinking about the wedding. I'm a bit nervous," Rachel replied. "Oh, you have nothing to be worried about, everything is going to be fine you'll see," Mark said as he tried his best to reassure his daughter. "Your mother has made a mess of pancakes and bacon on the table. Its best you come down and eat," Mark demanded.
"I don't think I can eat, dad." Rachel said as she displayed a playful frown on her face. "Now Buttercup, come and try to eat a little, that is a command," Mark said. Joking with her dad, Rachel replied, "I should have stayed at home at my own apartment if I knew I was going to be treated like a little kid again."
"Let me be your controlling dad for one more day before you land that controlling husband," Mark said. "Dad, Marty isn't controlling," Rachel replied.
"Well, we all have our different opinions of people, but I know you my dear will change him," Mark said as he kissed his daughter on the forehead and shut her door. Rachel went over to her bed and fell across it reaching for her cell phone. She dialed Marty's phone number, and his phone went over to voicemail. She left a message. "Marty darling, please call me ASAP." In two minutes Marty called Rachel, and she answered. "Hi darling, are you ready for our big day?" Rachel asked with enthusiasm. With an aggravated tone in his voice, Marty said," You didn't give me a chance to say good morning to you. "But are you ready for our day?" Rachel asked again. As he tapped his pen on his kitchen table. Marty managed to utter, "Oh, I ah...yeah what do you think?" Looking down at her pillow Rachel said sarcastically," Wow, don't you sound excited." She sensed some hesitation in Marty's voice. "Please don't start with me, Rach, I had a bad argument with my partner last night," Marty said.
"What sort of argument could you be having with Amber?" Rachel asked in curiosity. "She's just very difficult lately that's all," Marty replied."
"Well, that's how it is with co-workers you'll get used to each other." "Maybe you're right," Marty said while grinding his teeth." "What happened to you two, to make things so difficult?" I thought she was the perfect partner to work with." "She blames me for letting a few drivers get away without writing tickets on them," Marty said. "I can see why she was angry about that, you two have a job to do," Rachel explained as she scolded Marty. "Did Amber get the invitation I told you to give her for the wedding?" Rachel asked. "I guess, Marty said." "What do you mean you guess?" Rachel asked in an angry tone. "Rachel, does everything that comes out of your mouth have to be about that wedding?" You know there is more to life outside of talking about getting married!" Marty yelled.
"Wow, you are minimizing something that is supposed to be very special and life-changing for us," Rachel said as she hit her forehead with the palm of her hand while shaking her head. "I'm not minimizing, I have some things on my mind, and our wedding is only adding more to my plate," Marty explained. "We will be married soon enough so why harp on it, babe?" Marty asked. "Because we are going to be married in less than eight hours, we will be standing in front of family and friends exchanging our vows, so I'm taking that serious."
"Fair enough, I will see you at the church later, I have to call Jamal to see if he's found the ring," Marty said. Rachel yelled, "What! What do you mean by found the ring?" "Just like I said, found the ring. He misplaced it during the bachelor party last Saturday," Marty said nonchalantly. "Marty, if you don't want to get married just say so now."
"Rach, of course, I want to marry you see you at the church, honey," Marty hung up the phone. Rachel got up from her bed and made her way into the kitchen where there was a big white banner draped from one wall to the other which read, "Congratulations Rach, on your wedding day! Her family loudly and simultaneously read the words from the banner congratulating her. Tears welled up in Rachel's eyes as she hugged her mother Tricia and the rest of her family. Ben jokingly told Rachel that it was about time someone took her off their hands. Ben hugged his little sister tight, and her sister in law Susan who was pregnant also walked up and put her arms around Rachel.
It was finally time for the wedding. Rachel and her bridesmaids, friends of Rachel's from college had gotten to the church where they went into the dressing room to start preparing for the wedding. Susan and Tricia were helping them all get ready. The girls talked about marriage and relationships. "I can't believe my little girl is finally going to be married, I have always dreaded this day; however, I welcome this day too," Tricia proudly said. "I wish my mother would have been around to see me get married," Susan said as she rubbed her eight- month old pregnant belly. Rachel smiled and said. "She was with you in spirit."
"That is quite comforting to know but I know my mother isn't with me in spirit, she's dead as a doorknob," Susan replied. "That is not a good thing to say," Carol said. She was also a part of the bridal party. "Might I remind you and Susan that we are in mixed company," Rachel said. "Oh, yeah you would pick Christian bridesmaids and a Christian church," Susan obnoxiously said.
On hearing this two bridesmaids became offended and walked out of the dressing room quickly after they got dressed; however, Carol remained and defended her faith.
"Yes, I'm Christian, and I'm offended by how you disrespected my Christian faith especially since you are standing in a Christian church," Carol said in an offended voice. It's only for my wedding I won't be back," Rachel replied. "You're marrying my cousin Marty, and maybe he does not believe in God like I believe but at least he does not put down Christianity like you," Carol said. Then she left the dressing room in a tizzy. "Rachel, let's not forget why we are here, we are here to witness you marry the man of your dreams. Now, are you ready to be a wife?" Tricia asked. "Yes mom, I'm ready for it, I have wanted marriage since I was ten years old," She blurted out while her mind gave her quick flashbacks to her childhood days. She always stood in front of the mirror and acted like a bride to be. She was able to get hold of a bath towel from the linen closet which she used as a veil. She quickly came to from her flashback when Tricia hugged her daughter a second time before Rachel's cell phone ranged. Rachel answered the phone, and it was Jamal Watkins, the best man. "Hi Rach, have you seen Marty?" "No, you're the best man you don't know where he is, what is going on, Jamal?" Rachel asked in a vexed manner. "Oh, it's nothing I can assure you. I was just wondering if you talked to Marty this morning." Jamal asked. "Of course, I had to tell my baby good morning, why?"
"Did he tell you about the argument he had with Amber?" Jamal asked. "Yes, he didn't write some stupid speeding tickets. What's going on, Jamal?" "He might get into some hot water for fixing tickets, and he's worried. I think Amber spilled the bean that's all," Jamal replied.
"You know, this is me and Marty's perfect day and I'm not going to let anything jeopardize it so when you find Marty tell him to get it together because I will not let today be ruined, please find him." Rachel said before hanging up the phone. She continued letting her mother help her get dressed. Hold still! Tricia said as she was trying to apply the final touches of eyeshadow to Rachel's eyes. "Oh, mom I look beautiful, just wait until Marty sees me," "Darling, he will be mesmerized," Tricia smiled as she told her daughter. Tricia was an expert at cosmetology because she used to work in Hollywood as a make-up artist for the stars. Mark came to the door and knocked. "Are you dressed, Rachel?" "Yes, dad comes in," Rachel said as she smiled. Tricia was putting a necklace around Rachel's neck. "I thought you said you were ready," Mark said. "I'm ready dad. Mom is just putting the necklace you bought me on. I feel so strange. Like a fish out of water, it's been a while since I had been in church. I think I was four years old the last time," Rachel said nervously, and she twisted a Kleenex tissue in her hand. Tricia nodded yes and she said. That was when your Granny Nana died," "Marty's last time in church was his aunts wedding seven years ago and his brother Don's funeral three years after his aunt's wedding," Rachel said.
"I think your nerves are really getting the best of you so let's get this over. " Mark said as he took his daughter's hand and led her to the door. When they had gotten to the door, Jamal ran up to them looking frantic. He grabbed Rachel's hand away from her dad's hand. "Jamal, what are you doing?" We are ready to go down the aisle," Rachel said. Marty isn't out there. I received a call from him. He's out on the beach drinking whiskey. His brother Ted is out there with him, and he called to tell me," Jamal explained. "I don't understand why he out is on the beach?" Rachel asked. "A frown came over Mark's face as he said. "Yes, where is he?"
"He said he wants to talk to Rachel in private. Rachel, I will take you to him, maybe you two can work this out, but please leave me out of this. I respect and love you both. Mr. Gallagher, can you help Ben calm the guest? While I take Rachel to the beach," Jamal asked. "No, I'm going to the beach with my daughter!" Mark yelled. "No, dad I'll be fine, you stay here and calm everyone down by playing something on the piano until I come back with my frightened groom," Rachel said while her lips quivered as if she was about to burst out into tears. Tricia ran up to Rachel. "Buttercup, what's going on?" "Mom, I don't know, but I think Marty has cold feet and he has been dealing with job issues that have been bothering him. I have been ignoring him for it. I have been too focused on the wedding, and I should have listened to him more," Rachel explained. Tricia wiped a tear from Rachel's cheek and said. "Just go get your groom, sweetheart and stop blaming yourself."
Rachel left with Jamal. The walk out to the parking lot to Jamal's red Jeep Cherokee seemed like a mile long. Rachel was afraid of what she was going to hear when she got to Marty. But she remained optimistic believing that Marty just had wedding jitters that he would get over it as soon as she talked to him. Jamal helped Rachel into his Jeep. He helped to protect her wedding gown from getting slammed in his Jeep's door. On the ride to the beach, Rachel was very quiet as she bit her bottom lip because she was nervous and angry. Jamal drove her to the beach. She got out and walked barefoot in the sand in her wedding gown. She left her white satin pumps on the dashboard of Jamal's jeep. Standing near the edge of the water on the beach Rachel saw Marty. She quickly walked over to him. Marty uttered. "Oh my, you're so beautiful." Rachel slapped him and told him to get his act together and to come back to the church and marry her like the decent man he portrayed was to her family. "Marty grabbed Rachel by both of her arms and shook her as he yelled. "I don't want to get married to you do you understand, I just can't." Marty cried out loud and fell to his feet on the sand in front of Rachel with a smell of southern comfort whiskey on his breath. His brother Ted said nothing, shook his head in disbelief and walked away. Marty rolled his fist up as he said, "I'm engaged to be married to Amber Smith."
Rachel backed away slowly from Marty and started to cry. She was speechless as she ran away in tears back to the jeep and told Jamal to take her back to the church so that she can be with her family. Rachel and Jamal arrived back to the church. Tears darkened by mascara fell down her cheeks. Jamal took a Kleenex from the glove compartment and handed it to her. "So you knew he and Amber had a thing going on didn't you?" Rachel Asked.
"Look, Rachel, Marty, and I have been friends since we both were in the fifth grade. We are like brothers, and I have always been loyal to my buddy, and he has been loyal to me." "I guess boys will be boys," Rachel sarcastically said. "Rach, Try and understand," "You want me to try and understand why Marty has humiliated me on what was supposed to be our wedding day?" Rachel asked as tears continued to roll down her cheeks. Rachel looked at Jamal in disgust as she slammed his Jeep door and went up the church stairs. She went into the church and walked past the entire guest that was looking around in curiosity for what was happening. Rachel asked the priest if she could speak into the microphone. He set it up for her and politely sat down. "Mom, Dad, family, and friends I want to thank you all for coming to this day that was supposed to be very special. There has been a change in plans. Marty and I will not be getting married due to some circumstances I don't want to discuss at this moment but you will find out later, and also I will return the gifts that you thoughtfully purchased. I appreciate you all coming, and I thank you. Please attend the reception that my dad paid for, eat and please me merry. Don't worry about me I'm happy." Rachel dropped the microphone after her saddened speech and walked over to her mother and fell into her arms crying. Tricia patted Rachel on the back as she held her. "Darling, it will be alright. Let's go and get something to drink at the reception." Mark said as he also patted his distraught daughter on the back. "No, dad. You guys go, I'm going to get Ben to drive me home," Ben escorted his sister to his dark blue Ford Explorer. As Ben drove, he was very upset and complained about how he wanted to find Marty and beat some sense into him. All Rachel could do was cry and listen to her brother rant on the way taking her home. When she got home, she told Ben that she didn't want anyone to disturb her, that she needed some time to get her thoughts in order. He promised her he would tell everyone to give her some space for a while.
Rachel had been home for three weeks without eating anything. She had lost fifteen pounds. She didn't groom herself nor did she clean her apartment. She was in a deep depression, and she turned everyone away that tried to cheer her up. She felt her life was like someone who reasons to be alive had just been trampled on, most especially because of the tragic incident happened on what was supposed to be the best day of her life. No one could get her to leave her apartment. However, one day she thought about the whole thing and decided to leave the apartment and go take a stroll on the beach. The very spot that Marty broke up with her. His beach home was not far away, and Rachel's apartment was in the same vicinity of the beach as well. In fact, Marty's beach home was within walking distance to Rachel's apartment complex. She hoped that she would run into him just to pour out the pain and hurt she had in her, probably by punching him out for the humiliation and shame brought to her but she knew it wouldn't do her any good and it was only a passing thought.
Rachel walked along the ocean shore crying, and at one point she stopped and looked up at the sky and said. "Why did my relationship go this way, what did I do to deserve this?" She was furiously yelling at God. She thought that her life was wasted and that she would be better off dead. A quick thought about ending it all at the same place her life was ruined seemed the best idea to her. She went into the choppy waters hoping that the waves could wash over her and drown her taking her in contact with her creator almost immediately as she had leaped into the wavy water.
Rachel wasn't a very good swimmer, but she had managed to swim further out into the water. Once she got out in the open water she went under. Some of the salty ocean water got into her mouth. She started to struggle knowing fully well that death was at the corner. The fear of death gripped her while she struggled with the water, but she embraced it in no time having concluded that it was the best way to relieve her pain. A man who was walking his black Labrador retriever on the beach saw her. He let go of his dog's leash as he ran and jumped into the water. The dog also followed behind his owner. He got to Rachel with the aim of saving her, but she fought him. "Let me go, Marty I want to die," She scratched him and screamed. The man struggled to get her back to the shore as she continued to fight him. He laid her on the sand and got over her shaking her. He tried to get the water out of her lungs. "Get off of me, who are you?" "I'm Zac Chambers, what were you doing out there?" Lady, that was very stupid. Why are you trying to die?" "It's none of your business!" Rachel yelled.
"Well, nothing in this world is worth taking your own life. When I'm down about something I turn to God and pray," Zac said.
"There is no God," Rachel replied. "You're very wrong lady, but I guess if you're trying to kill yourself you have no faith." "You don't know me or what I'm going through, you have no right to judge me." "Like I said, when I'm down I pray to God." "Well good for you but I don't believe in God I had faith in Marty, and he let me down," "Oh, this Marty is who you were calling me out there when I was trying to drag you in. Who is he a husband or boyfriend?" "He was my fiancé' we were going to marry, but he broke it off with me to marry someone else."
"I see you're putting your faith in a man and not in God," Zac said. "I loved Marty. We had been together for three years." "God has been with you from when you were in your mother's womb and maybe even before that. He loved you before he created the foundation of this world," Zac explained in a concerned manner. "Look, don't preach to me about your God, I don't believe in fairytales." "I'm not preaching to you miss. Can I call someone to you like maybe a family member or a friend?"
"No, I have my car." "I don't feel comfortable with you going off alone. Why don't you come and we get some coffee together?" "I don't know, you're a stranger," Rachel rudely said. "You're correct; however I am a stranger that just saved your butt from drowning." Who asked you to save me?"
"I believe God asked me to so how about that coffee? After I promise to bring you back to your car. I have a towel in my truck I can get out for you to dry off on." Zac's dog jumped up to lick Rachel. "Oh, and this is my dog Bonz, Zac said as he scolded Bonz for jumping on Rachel. "It's alright." Rachel said as she pets the top of the dogs head. Zac led Rachel to his white Dodge Ram pick-up truck. He reached into the back seat and got two towels out. He handed one to Rachel and he took the other towel and they both dried off and got into the truck. Zac drove to a coffee shop not far from the beach. There were chairs and tables outside of the coffee shop where they both got some black coffee and sat down. Rachel took a deep breath as she inhaled the fresh air outside the coffee shop. She definitely preferred the feeling to that than of the sea experience. She sipped out of the hot savory coffee and told Zac that she needed to get back to her car. As long as your car is locked up, it's safe. I just want to sit and talk a while. "So, what is your name, mam?" "It's certainly not mam, my name is Rachel." "It's nice to meet you but not exactly in this manner. I would have preferred meeting you in sound mind," Zac said. "I'm not bananas or anything. Just heartbroken," "I'm guessing you don't go to church," Zac said. "I went to church three weeks ago when I was supposed to be getting married and before that when I was four years old my grandmother died and I went to her funeral." Zac chuckled as he said. "Well, I meant on a continuous basis." "I don't believe in God, didn't I tell you," Rachel replied sharply. "Before you jumped into the water I saw you yelling to the heavens, of course with a profane choice of words so maybe you do know there is a God and you're blaming him for your breakup."
"Oh so you're a mind reader and a preacher," Rachel obnoxiously said. "I'm neither a mind reader nor a preacher just a baby in Christ wanting to know more and more about my Lord Jesus Christ," "I see you go to church?" Rachel asked as she took another sip of coffee. "Every Sunday unless I'm sick. I even close the shop where I work so that church will have my undivided attention," "What sort of a shop, do you sell Bibles?" Rachel sarcastically asked.
"Very funny, no I own a bike shop. Have you heard of the Bike Doctor?" Zac asked. "Yes I saw the commercial you have two of those places, right?" "Yes I do," Zac said as he pets Bonz on the top of his head. "Yeah your commercial's says that you're a Christian owned business, perhaps that's why my family never brings their bikes to your shop." "Okay, I think I had enough of coffee and your put downs about my belief in God. I'll bring you back to your car, Rachel."
Rachel quickly apologized. "I'm sorry. "No, you're not, but I'll leave that on your conscience." When Zac pulled up to Rachel's car he asked could he get her cell phone number so that he can check on her to see if she was going to be alright. "I promise I'll be fine. I just need to get home and rest." When Rachel pulled off in her car, Zac followed behind her until she drove up in front of her apartment complex. He pulled on the side of her car. "Ok, are you stalking me?" Rachel asked. "Just earlier you almost ended your life. I'm just worried about you and want to make sure you get home safely and not drive off some bridge somewhere. Sorry that I followed you." "No harm was done, I guess I should say thank you." "Just thank God I was there," Zac replied. In an irritated tone, she said. "Whatever." "Can you do me a favor since I saved your life?" "What is it?" Rachel asked as she shut her car door. "Now that your life is spared can you let God save your soul, He loves you? "I don't think you heard me earlier... Before she could finish saying what she wanted to say, Zac handed her a church business card. "Please come Sunday." "She took the card and quietly uttered. "I'll think about it, ok."i