Father of the bride

sun reflected on a bare wall and closed door.

Days of anticipation carried him through the chaos surrounding his daughter’s pending wedding. As much as any little girl imagines a fairytale ceremony, fathers dream of walking their daughters down the aisle.

When he and her mother divorced, she was only a child. He went from spending each morning of every day with her, to squeezing in a weekend here, a holiday there.

It was hard for him to see his wife and daughter go on with their lives without him, to feel that he was so easily disposable. It was hard to hear his only child tell him about all the wonderful things she was doing, all the fun places she was going, without him.

Weeks turned into months, turned into years, and he lost is way and lost sharing in many of her milestone moments. If not for his daughter reaching out to him from college, he would not be standing in a rental store, trying on ill-fitting tuxedos.

She asked him to escort her to the altar, to place her hand in her intended’s, to give her away again. Only it was different this time.

Once he fulfilled his duties before the congregation, he slid over into a white, satin ribbon adorned pew, across the aisle from his ex-wife. That he wasn’t included on the Bride’s Side of the church didn’t escape his notice.

The reception following the ceremony was a whirlwind of hugs and kisses, fruit punch and canapés, dancing and garter tossing. He stayed on the fringe, sipping from a tiny glass cup, his meager snacks enveloped in an embossed cocktail napkin.

This was no family reunion for him. No one clapped him on the back to congratulate him on his new son-in-law, no one cooed over what a beautiful bride his little girl made. The whole evening passed in slow motion, while he tried to memorize his daughter’s glowing face.

Holding her close during their father-daughter dance, her small, delicate hand engulfed in his huge, callous-covered paw, he remembered a long-ago dance. Her feet on top of his, while they both swayed to the music. He mourned their lost years.

A quick embrace, and he gave way to her bridegroom, as the new Mr. and Mrs. took a twirl around the room. As she spun around, their eyes met, and she smiled a genuine smile of love. He blew her a kiss, then he took his melancholy out the back door.

This week’s Studio30 Plus prompt is “… he took his melancholy out the back door…” from Katy Brandes, “On the Cusp of Spring

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I believe all good fiction includes an element of truth, and all good photography includes an element of fantasy. In this journal I hope to give voice to the stories swirling around in my head, and to capture the images I see through my camera’s lens.

9 thoughts on “Father of the bride

  1. Isn’t it sad how people treat each other, even after all those years? I’m speaking mainly of the others at the reception, who had nothing to say to the man who was once family. Anyway, a nice take on the prompt, and some really fine father-daughter relationship imagery. I especially liked the descriptions of their hands.

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  2. This is beautiful, Tara. How sad for both father and daughter that so much was missed. But the piece left me with hope that things would be different for them in the future.

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  3. This was so bittersweet. So sad he missed so much of his little girl’s life, but touching that he came to this important event, and he got to see her love for him. This was beautifully written.

    God bless you,
    Cheryl

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  4. I felt a tightness in my chest imagining him feeling like it wasn’t enough. But then ending was good, the prompt used well, that sometimes we must be grateful for what we do have instead of wishing it was something else. His daughter loved him and that in and of itself says so much.

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  5. That is such a perfect character portrait. I love how you let him fuck up, too. As a reader, I kept thinking, “but he could have…. but he should have…. but he can ….” and that’s not the point at all. Perfect.

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  6. I think that father should be really proud he has a daughter with a kind spirit and he should know he had something to do with that. Life might not have happened the way he wished and he may not be “accepted” as he’d hoped but he should know he can be very happy again. It is up to him. Great piece. Very touching as I read it through his eyes. Thank you for sharing.

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