The Bomb Drop

New Orleans - French Quarter: Jackson Square a...

“Worst thing I ever witnessed?” Rory said, and perked a brow at me.

I nodded.  I didn’t know Rory very well, but he was sort of a big-shot in Catholic music circles.  He’d written settings for masses used all over the country.  He’d had multiple albums recorded.  What brought him from Phoenix to our little craptastic burg was anyone’s guess, but it probably wasn’t money.  More likely he wanted to get away from the scrutiny of his former church.  His divorce and subsequent involvement with another (young) woman probably didn’t sit well with the parishioners there, even if the priest didn’t mind.

So he moved two-thirds the way across country and settled into an affluent, small suburb an hour out of the Big City.

It was sometime around 1993, maybe ‘94.  I’d been singing in church for a couple of years with my (now) ex-wife, but we were newly married at the time.  She used to be the music director at that church, and the people adored her.  She’s incredibly talented, beautiful voice, great eye and instinct for music.  But for some reason, the pastor brought Rory in.

We were trying to get to know him.  See what he’s like under the exterior, which appeared aloof, a little full of himself.  Instead, we found him gentle, nice, courteous, a little shy privately.

I nodded at him.  “Yeah, worst thing you ever saw in church.”

Rory rubbed his chin, contemplating.  “Hm.  Well, I did the music for a wedding once.  The church was all decked out in expensive flowers, ribbons, streamers, the whole nine yards.  A red carpet runner up the aisle.  During the procession, I played Pachelbel’s canon.  There were about fourteen people in the party, seven on each side.  The groom took his place on the steps in front of the altar.  Then we all paused, and I turned to the back of the church.

“It took a minute, but the bride and her father finally appeared in the doorway.  I started the traditional wedding march and she came down the aisle, just a vision in her long-trained, lace-and-gossamer dress.  The embroidery was amazing on the bodice and sleeves.  She was stunning.  Her veil was so thick I was surprised she could see through it.”

He paused, sighed.

“Her father walked her to the altar, right past the groom, which seemed weird.  Then they stopped and faced the congregation.  The groom – and the rest of us, really – were a little confused.

“When the church fell into an uncomfortable silence, she lifted her veil.  Her mascara had run down her cheeks, and she wiped the streaks with her fingers, ruining her blush.  She’d obviously been crying, and from her expression, it didn’t look like tears of joy.

“She held her head up high, and in a clear, calm and projected voice, said, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, there will be no wedding today.  I’m sorry.   Last night, my fiancé had sex with my maid of honor.’”

I let out an involuntary gasp.  “Oh my God.”

Rory nodded, a sardonic smile on his lips.  “So her dad took her arm again, and led her down the aisle the way they’d come.  And as they left, you could’ve heard a pin drop on the carpet.”

I sat agape, stupefied.  I had no idea what to say.  I still don’t, some fifteen years after hearing the story.

Life often seems to be leading us in one direction, but delivers an unforeseen surprise when we least expect it.  Have you ever been blind-sided by something so unforeseen even your worst-case scenario didn’t account for it?  Were you on the bride’s side of that unexpected blow, or the groom’s side?



9 thoughts on “The Bomb Drop

  1. I have to say that I am struggling with this one. I do have one moment that blind-sided me and forever altered who I thought I was or would become. Our son died almost 21 years ago of SIDS. Most things that happen pale in comparison. I was only 23 years old at the time and hadn’t learned yet that control is a pretense we put on to get us through the day. Now I pay more attention to my response to what is.

    Jaymie. I have no words. None. Everyone, please read the poem at this link. If you aren’t jolted emotionally, I’d be more than surprised.

    God bless you, Jaymie.

  2. I can’t remember being that surprised by anything that has happened. I’ve had the whistle blown on me, but I sort of expected it. I’ve been on the bride’s side, too, but again, it didn’t seem like being blindsided. Maybe it has more to do with the way I process things, but … I don’t know. That’s a hard one.

    I’ve been sort of the groom’s side, I guess … probably more than once if I’m honest. It IS hard.

  3. My mom and I spent a lot of time preparing ourselves for my grandma’s death. My mother was worried about how she would feel without her mother. My grandmother was doing fairly well — to the doctors’ surprise — but we knew that eventually things would take a turn for the worse.

    Then I got the phone call that my mother was dead. Dropped dead at work. Just like that. Gone. I felt like I’d been waiting for a train to come, staring at the oncoming light, and someone came up behind me and bashed my head in with a bat.

    My grandmother died 3 months later.

    To this day (20 years later), I feel that anything can happen at any time. You never know.

    Wow. I’m being humbled and stunned into complete stupefied silence by the power of the stories you guys are sharing. This one is strong, Mapelba. And I’ve learned from it. Thank you.

  4. Yeah, see? Jamie and Mapelba have both been blindsided. I don’t think I have been.

    Jeez, based on those stories I have to agree — I haven’t either. Nuh-uh.

  5. I would side with the bride. Brave thing to do especially since the family has spent all that money for the wedding. If he did something like that right before the wedding, how could she ever trust him again? I would not be able to. I don’t see how any married person can possibly trust the spouse that cheats every again.

    I don’t either. That’s the ULTIMATE betrayal of trust. And with the maid of honor, who’s supposedly the closest, most trusted friend?! Who needs enemies??

    I would be devastated but I would hope I could handle the situation with as much dignity as that bride did. The fact that he was humiliated in front of friends and family, as far as I’m concerned, he earned by his deception and philandering ways. That was the icing on the cake. I hope they had a party instead of the reception and enjoyed the food.

    Me too. I never did find out — because Rory didn’t find out — whatever became of them.

    By the way, stop in at my blog cause you are so not going to believe what happened to me this week, heck, I can hardly believe it!

    On my way! 🙂

  6. A friend of mine died unexpectedly this past December. I had spoken to him a few weeks prior — he was telling me he thought his mother was going to die within a few days because she was so ill. I told him that I didn’t think that was the case, and that she’d outlive all of us — never of course, expecting that she really would outlive him. He was only 43. He was my first love, and also my friend and a close friend of my family for 25 years. He videotaped my wedding and I read the eulogy at his funeral. When I got the call that day, I would have been more shocked to hear that the sky had fallen.

    There are no words to express what kind of blow that must’ve been. I’m sorry. With so many powerful stories right here in front of me, I realize how paltry any unpleasant surprises I may have had must really be. Thank you for opening my eyes.

  7. I drove an hour and a half each way all the time to see my boyfriend who was attending school in Akron. I hadn’t planned to spend a weekend with him, but he called me and asked me to come up since his fraternity was having a party. Got off work at 10, quickly showered, and hopped in ye olde Ford Tempo to head up there. By the time I walked in the door it was after 1AM but the party was still going strong. I quickly caught up to everyone else in the beer department and the party went past 7AM. Yeah, we knew how to have a good time.

    The next day we slept in til like, 3 PM – wow, I miss those days. Anyways, we were going to grab some dinner and he wanted one of his fraternity brothers to tag along, which I thought was weird. Had a pretty uneventful breakfast/lunch/dinner and came back to the house. He wanted me to help him with one of his papers for a history class so we went to their study room. We’re working on it when he tells me he can’t ‘do it anymore’ and proceeds to spill his guts about how he has been seeing / sleeping with a girl from a local sorority. Turns out she looks JUST like me except that she’s 3 inches taller and has a bigger ass. I grabbed my stuff, gave him a big F you and hit the road back to Columbus. I ignored his emails, phone calls, and any other form of communication.

    A few months later he leaves me this whacked out message about how he’s disappointed that I didn’t even have the heart or consideration to attend his mom’s funeral or send flowers. Completely took me off guard and I called him to offer my condolences. A few days later my parents’ computer, which he built, blew up and needed repair. He came down to fix it but felt awkward going to see his ex GF’s parents so he brought his NEW gf. Needed a new NIC to fix their issue so I told him that I’d take his new GF to town with me to get the part.

    Got to talking about his parents and if she’d had a chance to meet his mom before she passed away. Imagine my look of surprise when she told me that his mom was alive and well; they had spent the previous weekend together. What a dirtbag. I’m glad that situation happened and I got out while I could. Otherwise, I’d never have met my husband and had our happy ending 🙂

    Well. Sometimes the circuitous road is the best one. And yes … “dirtbag” seems to just about cover it. Maybe not quite. Congrats on finding the eject button.

  8. I’ve read thousands of books (I’m not bragging, making a point) and you have that “it.” You have the ability to grab the reader by the 2nd sentence,then I have to finish to find out what happens next. Whether it’s a serial killer or a jilted bride. It’s suberb writing, because I’ve been trying to get thru Janet Evanovich’s first book for 3 weeks now and it’s still on the back seat of the toilet. I’m on page 64 and will probably give it to Goodwill. More chapters, I need more chapters. Not fair.

    Simon Cowell in the finals on Britain’s Got Talent said to Aidan Davis, “I don’t know what it is, but you’ve got it.” That applies to you as well.

    That is such a flattering comment. Goodness, if you keep this up I’m going to kidnap you and have you write reviews so I can provide them to every agent and editor on the planet. Thank you so much. You’ve made my morning. 🙂

    • Tell me where to send the letters. 🙂 I write amazing letters. I’m a contract administrator by trade and have written everyday for business since about 1978 (though I hated living in a cubicle).

      Well! I’ll DEFINITELY want to remember this when it’s time to sign contracts with publishers! 😉 Thanks for the info — you might regret it later!

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