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Prologue

The Wedding

Saturday June 17, 1978, 3:30 p.m.

Copyright © 2024 by Nancy Garner

 

 

 

“We are gathered here today in the sight of God, and in the face of this company, to join together Daniel Michael Hanson and Nina Gabriella Banner in holy matrimony, which is an honorable estate, instituted of God, since the first man and the first woman walked on the earth.” Father Alfonsi’s rich baritone voice resounded around every corner of the sanctuary as he addressed our wedding attendees. “Therefore, it is not to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently and soberly.”

I still couldn’t believe Daniel and I were about to take our wedding vows. I’m a sweating bundle of nauseous nerves, but not Daniel. Mister steady and confident. I must’ve changed my mind about Daniel a half-dozen times, but he knew. He always knew.

One week ago, during dinner, he said, “I knew you were the girl for me the first day we met.”

A little less than a year ago, marrying Daniel Hanson was the farthest thing from my mind. I had planned a trip to France this summer. But here I am, dressed in white, wearing Maman’s wedding veil and staring into the most hypnotic blue eyes I’d ever seen. It was those eyes and how they seemed to look deep into my soul that drew me in.

To say I was stubborn, difficult and had given up on love would've been a huge understatement. I tried hard not to fall for Daniel. After all, he was too old—me, only twenty-two, and Daniel pushing twenty-eight—when we met, and he has a five-year-old son, Charlie. Silly me because it doesn’t matter anymore since I’m deeply in love with Daniel and I can’t wait to be his bride.

“Into this holy estate these two persons present come now to be joined. If anyone can show just cause why they may not be lawfully joined together, let them speak now or forever hold their peace.” Father Alfonsi paused and peered over his glasses at the congregation.

Honestly, I didn’t believe anyone would utter a word given what it took to get us to this point, and yet, a familiar voice echoed throughout the church. “I have a reason why they shouldn’t be married.”

My heart thundered and I turned in what looked like slow motion. The room took on a surreal haze. Our guests no longer faced the alter but sat with necks craned toward the church entrance.

Was it him? But how? His eyes locked onto mine and I couldn’t catch my breath. The man with the familiar voice and face I knew so well, walked down the aisle. What started as a low murmur grew into a cacophony of gasps and utterances of disbelief increasing with each step he took until he stopped directly in front of me and all I could hear was his voice.  

“Hi ya, Cookie,” the familiar voice with the familiar face said. “Did you forget? You promised to wait for me forever.”

Waves of nausea rolled through me. The church whirled or maybe I was whirling. Voices morphed into an ear deafening buzz. Was this real? His face blurred and the outer edges grew dark until his face completely faded to black.

“Hello, Nina,” an echoey deep voice said.

A foggy white haze impeded my vision. “Who’s there? Where am I?”  

“It doesn’t matter who I am but where you are is someplace in between.”

“In between where? Am I dead?”

The disembodied voice chuckled. “No, you’re not dead, you’re at a crossroad and it’s time to choose.”

“Choose what?”

“Not what but whom.”

I peered down at my wedding dress. “I already chose Daniel. We’re getting married.”

 

“But there is another. Don’t you remember?”

I tried to focus on the other but couldn’t remember. “I’m sorry I can’t. Could you help me?”

“Why don’t we start at the beginning. Focus on the sound of my voice and think back to when you were a child, before Daniel.”

As I stared into the mist, my home and parents came into view. “Yes, I see.”

“What do you remember?”

“My life.”

All rights reserved.

This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means without the express written consent of the copyright holder, except in the case of brief quotations for the purpose of reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.

About the Author

Nancy Garner is a lifelong resident of Illinois and shares her home with her husband and three rescue dogs. She is retired after working 25 years at a local newspaper. For several years she volunteered at an animal rescue shelter. Her dream was to write novels. Now that her two children are grown, she spend her time walking her fur children, and writing.

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