Editor's note: The following is a short story by Bridget Eileen McFadden of Jim Thorpe. Bridget, 17, is a 2013 graduate of Jim Thorpe Area High School. She plans to pursue a degree in journalism/communications.
If you are a high school student who would like the opportunity to see your work in print, the TIMES NEWS invites you to submit your work for possible publication in our newspaper.
Poems, essays, short stories and works of non-fiction will be considered for use in our Lifestyle section, as part of the "Young Voices" series.
For more information, contact Karen Cimms, lifestyle editor, at email@example.com or call (610) 377-2051, ext. 3140.
I look through the glass window on the side. I see a room full of people, all there for me. I am standing here like a leaf in the middle of a storm. That is how nervous I am.
My friends all gather around me in a huddle. They each give me a huge hug. A raindrop begins to fall from my eye. It falls and falls until it splashes onto the lilac cumberbund of my white cotton dress. It evolves into a river. My father, standing next to me, squeezes my hand.
"Everything will be alright. You will not regret what you are doing today. This will be the happiest day of your life," he assures me, trying to make me feel better.
"Imagine" begins to play.
My tears grow stronger.
I am losing control.
The doors, as big as oak trees, begin to open, slowly. My best friends begin to walk down the aisle in sync. Two by two, I watch them leave me. The doors shut. I walk and turn the corner. My tears make me lose oxygen. I am gasping for air as if I am in a room with toxic gas.
There are two men, dressed like they are going to a banquet, slowly opening the wooden doors.
At the sight of my guests, my tears suddenly begin to dry up, like they were never there. I begin feeling more confident than I ever have in my life. "Heaven" begins to play.
I watch as all my guests' heads turn toward me so they can get a glimpse. Everyone rises. All of this is for me. I begin walking to the beat of the music as slow as a snail. I finally reach the altar. My father kisses me on the cheek, leaving behind the warm feel of his lips. I take the hands of my husband-to-be.
My sister, Molly, wraps her arms around my waist from behind. She gives me a loving hug, while giving the man in front of me a look that says, "You better take good care of her."
My grandfather, a pastor, stands behind the altar.
"Welcome. Thank you for being here this evening," he says.
My mother steps to the podium and begins reading Song of Solomon 2:10-14. I begin to cry again.
As my mother finishes up, I notice a raindrop land on the podium. She walks down and hugs me on her way back to her seat.
After a couple more readings, I notice my mom walks to a microphone in front of the altar. She smiles at me and then opens her mouth.
The words to "In my Daughter's Eyes" comes pouring out of her mouth. At the tip of the song, she gets choked up. Her voice sounds achy. She finishes up while leaving a puddle of tears and sweat behind.
Michael Trainer and Molly take her spot. Their voices erupt into the powerful ballad of "One Hand, One Heart."
In my head, I think, "Stay strong. Don't cry. Don't ruin your make-up."
They finish singing. I look over at them and smile. I smile the biggest smile I ever have in my life. That made me feel so much better. Whenever they sing together, my heart warms up, and I feel like nothing bad will ever happen again.
"I do," I finally hear, waking up from my daydream. I look into his eyes and smile a warm smile.
"Now do you, Bridget Eileen Maria McFadden, take this man to be your lawful wedded husband, to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do you part," I hear my grandfather say.
"I do," I reply.
Now he looks at me and smiles. Beads of sweat are beginning to form on his forehead.
"With this ring, I thee wed."
"With this ring, I thee wed."
"I now pronounce you husband and wife! You may now kiss the bride."
I press my lips against my new-found husband's. We gallop out of the church, arm in arm.
Outside there are rows of people, swarming to catch just a glimpse of the newlyweds. I notice the carriage outside, and we run together and jump into it as quickly as we can.
It's not the fact that we would be riding to the reception in a carriage, the exciting factor is that I am starting a new life with the man I love.