Six months earlier. "She said yes, Mother!" Gerald shouted, ecstatically. "Can you believe it? She actually said yes." Gerald knew his mother was lurking somewhere nearby. She usually did when he was alone in the garden.
Allison sat cross-legged on the floor in the living room amidst a mountain of catalogs and brochures. Her blond hair hung in ringlets around her face as she bent over a cake catalog, murmuring "chocolate with vanilla icing, or butter cream with chocolate icing? No, I'd rather have carrot cake."
Gerald had been watching from the next room, thinking she had never looked lovelier than she did now in her faded jeans and Bon Jovi T-shirt, representing Allison's favorite band. They went to see them the month before in Atlanta when they had picked up her wedding dress. She deemed "Thank You For Loving Me" as 'our song' and they danced in the aisle as the band played.
Spotting him she smiled. "Gerry, have you talked to the photographer and videographer?" "I want to make sure they can be here for the rehearsal dinner, too. Did you mention that?"
"Yes, dear, we are on their schedule for Friday night, and they will be at the church at noon on Saturday," replied her future husband patiently. "Everything is under control. You have gone over every detail to the utmost and then some."
"Are you saying that I have obsessed over my perfect day?"
"Not at all, sweetheart, not at all."
"Well, I still have to choose the cake. What do you think? Chocolate or vanilla? Traditional or carrot cake? Maybe even carrot cake squares with little miniature candy carrots for decoration? I like it! It's settled."
"I love a woman who's not afraid to make a decision" said Gerald, laughing.
All brides have issues and obstacles to contend with to make it the perfect wedding, and there is seldom such a thing. The food is overcooked or undercooked, or someone has one too many cocktails and causes a scene or botches the toast to the bride and groom. And so after many months of planning, comparing prices, interviewing photographers, and sampling countless hors d'oeuvres, the big day finally arrives.
As Gerald dons his rented tux, he fumbles with the tie. Frustrated, he mumbled "how does this go again?" Then he smiles, remembering their first lunch in the rose garden. It is so fitting that they exchange their vows in that same garden. That's why they planned a Spring wedding. The vestiges of Winter have faded away, but the wrath of Summer was not yet upon them and Mother's yellow roses were in full bloom just as he knew they would be.
Allison emerges as the music begins. Dum dum de dum... Her bridesmaids lead the way, their matching pale blue dresses swaying as they walk. The bride was a vision of loveliness in her gown of satin and lace, strolling down the aisle as if on air. Her hands cradling a bouquet of beautiful yellow roses. She chose to wear her hair down covered with a lacy veil dotted with seed pearls.
Allison's face was radiant as she turned to Gerald. He, himself, beaming to rival the sun. What a glorious day. Gerald wishes his mother could be there, and yet, at the same time he knows she is. After all it is her garden.
The minister is speaking. "Do you, Gerald, take this woman...? Do you, Allison, take this man...?"
They recite the vows they wrote together to each other. The minister pronounces them husband and wife..."you may kiss your bride" he said.
"Ladies and gentlemen, may I introduce Mr. and Mrs. Gerald McLandon. Congratulations!"
When they reached their table with their cake and champagne, Gerald notices a small box with a note at his place. He opened the box and his eyes widened with a mixture of disbelief and amazement. It was the diamond brooch that his father presented to his mother on their 25th anniversary. The note said "For Allison".
Allison did, indeed, have the perfect wedding day.
If you haven't had a chance to read the first three parts here they are:
The Rose Garden
The Rose Garden: Allison