Book Series: IRISH BLUE Author: Sheila Willar Copyright: 2021 Sheila Willar ISBN #: 978-0-9867101-4-8
Book Title: THE CHAPEL Chapter #: 14 - MAGGY’s WEDDING
The day of Maggy's wedding began with a jolt of sounds.
Whirring hair dryers, clicking curling irons, ringing phones, a whistling kettle, a popping toaster, the zip-zip slide of Finola’s furry slippers, and the whooshing sound of dresses and garment bags, all filled the apartment as the ladies hurried from room to room.
They took turns standing in front of the full length mirror to preen and primp while the others caught glimpses of themselves as they passed by. Each one tried to be ready in time for the limousine that would arrive at exactly 10 am.
When it was Erin’s turn for a final look in the mirror, she raised the string of pearls over her head and adjusted them around her neck so that she could see the little butterfly on the clasp as it rest on her chest. Somehow she felt that it would see her through the day.
As they added final touches of lipstick and blush, Maggy stepped out of her bedroom dressed in her wedding gown and the others were struck speechless. She was absolutely radiant and when she moved, the silken leaves on her dress rustled like the sound of a gentle breeze moving though an Aspen tree.
“It’s time,” said Maggy as she motioned for them to head out the door.
When they reached the cathedral the guests were already seated. The other bridesmaids, flower girls, and Maggy’s father were waiting for them and soon the music played for them to walk down the centre aisle.
Erin couldn’t help but notice the pots of Irish Blue hydrangeas that filled the apse at the front of the cathedral, and how Ms. Stattin’s negative intentions had been turned into something good.
Then, all eyes turned to Maggy and her beaming smile as she gracefully approached the rise of the chancel where she and Peter stood together.
The priest began the ceremony by saying, “Dearly beloved.” Then he repeated, “Dearly beloved,” and stopped. “I’m sorry, but I seem to have forgotten my glasses.”
Thankfully an assistant found them and the priest apologized for the delay.
“Dearly beloved,” he began again as he looked at his notes. “Seriously!” he exclaimed. “These are the wrong vows.”
There was an awkward silence as the assistant hurried away and the congregation shifted uneasily in their seats. Soon he returned with a folder of readings that were prepared for Peter and Maggy’s wedding.
The priest cleared his throat and looked at the stack of papers.
“I have performed weddings for over twenty years,” he told the crowd. “Two of them earlier this morning, and there will be four more this afternoon. And nothing I have ever said has made a bit of difference as to who stays married and who doesn’t.”
The audience grimaced.
“Maggy and Peter,” he began. “I will not speak of the love you feel for each other this hour, because it may not last. I have seen it fail the very same day. I have read the vows that you have prepared for each other, and while they are lovely, they do not touch upon the heart of the matter.”
The congregation held its breath.
“Unless you are both generous, caring, respectful people who naturally put others first, then you will not be able to weather the challenges of life as a couple. The love you feel today is no match for the demands you will meet tomorrow. True love is not about how you feel towards one another, but about how you feel about all of God’s creation.”
Finola gasped. This was not what she paid for.
“You ask me to salute your love for each other, but I ask you to salute love itself.”
Maggy was paying attention.
“You already have a natural attraction for one another but I am asking you to go beyond that. I am asking you to move forward as a team, to set team goals and to celebrate and endure those outcomes together. I am also asking you to go one step further, where your success is shared with the world around you, and where the trials of your neighbours are borne by all.”
Peter was onboard.
“Your goal is to help each other become the best versions of yourselves.”
Someone seated in the back shouted, ”Amen!”
“Maggy and Peter, will you commit to a life of growth and mutual respect for one another?”
They eagerly beamed, “We will!”
“Will you choose a path that serves the love of God?”
“Then I pronounce you partners in the business of life and laughter.”
There was a silence in which no one seemed to know what to do next until the assistant waved at the musicians. As the music began, Peter, Maggy, and the wedding party left the stage with the priest and disappeared into the vestry.
The congregation erupted in arguments about whether a marriage had been performed or not. Some said that they were married and others said, “No!”
“What has he done?” fretted Finola.
“Leave it alone,” urged her ex-husband who warily sat beside her. “They’re more married than we are.”
“They’ll have to do it all over again,” she cried.
“No they won’t. It’s fine.”
Maggy and Peter and their entourage emerged from the back of the cathedral with huge smiles on their faces, and their confidence was so contagious that it put everyone else at ease.
“As long as they signed the certificates then they’re married,” exclaimed Finola who hurried to keep up with the party as they celebrated and danced down the aisle and out the door to the waiting cars.
The drive to the reception gave everyone a chance to de-stress, and the sight of the beach house nestled in the dunes by the sea, launched a carefree atmosphere that lasted the whole evening.
May and Bill had tents and chairs placed on the patio and on the beach, and they encouraged the guests to mingle and enjoy the buffets.
Erin offered to help, so May gave her supplies to take to the atrium, which was a gazebo known as “The Lookout”, that stood along the boardwalk to the shore. When Erin entered the glass-walled sanctuary, no one else was there, and as she removed a bag from her shoulder, one of the straps hooked the butterfly clasp and broke the necklace in two.
One by one the plastic pearls fell from the dangling string onto the floor as Erin helplessly watched them bounce in slow motion and spread out in all directions.
“No! No!” she cried.
Instinctively she dropped to her knees and scooped them up as quickly as possible.
Some of the pearls had rolled across the floor and under furniture but she was determined to collect every last one as she hunted for the strays. When her face was close to the floor, she suddenly saw a vision.
Once again, Erin saw a mirror image of herself and watched a young woman on a floor looking for something. Then she saw a monk in an adjacent glass dwelling, where the doors were wide open and a fierce wind blew through the building, drawing the monk’s robes horizontal in the gale. However, even though the girl was almost touching the tremendous force of energy, she did not even acknowledge its existence.
“There you are,” said May staring at Erin who was on her hands and knees.
Erin felt silly and stood up quickly, cupping the remainder of the recovered pearls in her hands.
“My necklace broke and I’m trying to find the last of it,” explained Erin.
“Ah,” sighed May. “The pearls weren’t tied off. They need to have knots between each one in order to prevent the whole thing from unraveling at once. The string must be pliable too so that it can fold and bend or else it will break too easily.”
“So I’ve heard,” replied Erin, remembering Finola’s words of warning from the night before.
“Come with me. I can help,” offered May. The two women collected what they could find of the pearls and headed back to the main house. Erin followed May into a games room and watched her search through an overstuffed closet from which she took a brightly coloured box.
“I used to play with this for hours," beamed May. All you have to do is put the beads in the bowl and it will string them automatically.”
Erin poured the pearls into the contraption, and when May turned the switch on, there was a ‘whir’ and a ‘ca-ching’ sound, as the mechanism threaded the beads and tied a knot in between each one.
“There you go. Better than new,” cheered May.
“Thank you so much,” replied Erin gratefully as she snapped the butterfly clasp back together.
“You’re welcome,” laughed May, but she could see that Erin did not look happy.
“Are you OK?”
“Yes,” lied Erin.
“Sometimes, when one thing breaks, it reminds us of all the other things that are broken,” advised May.
“I know what you mean.”
“What is the most powerful entity in the universe?” asked May. “Is it destruction or restoration?”
“It’s an unending loop,” reasoned Erin. “As soon as something is built, it can be torn down, and as soon it is torn down, it can be rebuilt.”
“There is an answer,” offered May. “The most powerful entity in the universe is the one that happens last."
Erin smiled but it wasn’t sincere. “That won’t help my niece,” she thought.
Erin put the pearls around her neck and followed May back to the party, where Maggy and Peter had gathered the guests to witness them cut the wedding cake.
“I have one last thing to say,” added Peter as he raised his glass to toast his new bride.
“Alas, a lass, has stolen my heart,
And I'll not be the same again,
For what was whole was but a half,
And what was mine was vain.
Alas, a lass, has stolen my heart,
And I'll not be the same again,
For what was two is better as one,
And the best of both can reign.”
“I shall love you forever and a day Maggy Clancy!” announced Peter.
The room erupted in cheers, and the sound of clinking glasses started a chain reaction of hugs and warm wishes. Soon after that the guests gave the newlyweds a tearful sendoff and everyone headed for home.
Over the next few days, Maggy’s mother and aunts left for Spain and Erin’s mother went back to Ireland.
The women were sister’s-in-law, and were deeply divided over Erin’s father and his whereabouts. Finola said that her brother could not tolerate Kerry any longer and therefore had to leave, whereas Kerry had told her children that their father had abandoned them and died in a foreign land.
Erin and Kelly sighed with relief when the visitors had gone, and there was finally a moment of silence in the apartment. There was a hush of peace, even though the sound of their mother's quarrelling echoed in their minds for a long time afterwards.
Maggy had also moved out to start her new home with Peter, and Kelly missed her a lot.
“Why don’t you come back to Ireland with me?” encouraged Erin. “We can share an apartment.”
“Maggy does want to sell this place.”
“Then do it!”
Kelly thought about it for a minute and announced, “Done!”
Erin helped Kelly clean the apartment, store the essentials and give away the rest, which gave them both a renewed sense of freedom.
On the plane back to Dublin, Erin hoped that the next chapter of her life would be distanced from the old one, but there were still some lingering doubts. She reached into her jacket pocket and held the pearl necklace to make sure it was safe and secure. She wanted to confirm that the newly tied knots had not broken and come apart.