[reddit writing prompt]
Kaitlin is getting married to the man of her dreams. When the priest asks if there’s anyone who objects to this marriage, one person stands up. No one recognizes who it is, but Kate does, it’s herself from the future (20 years from now).
Kaitlyn could not believe what she was seeing! A woman wearing a dark dress with hair a faded version of her own was standing in the second row. She had risen slowly, with difficulty from her seat before the minister completed his sentence, “Does anyone object….” Her hands and arms moved in quick motions….that only Kaitlyn recognised.
Her morning had begun with a knot in her gut that translated into frown lines between her brows and around her mouth. It was going to be difficult to look like a calm, serene, bride when she was worried about her former college roommate—a sweetheart but a scatterbrain—being late for the ceremony in which she is supposed sing and the caterer who called at 6 a.m. to say that they were having technical difficulties getting the main course for the reception meal. Could they make a substitution instead?
“Are you kidding!?” came Kate’s shrill response. “Thirty thousand dollars! You charged me in advance with a promise of being the best in the business and you’re calling on the morning of my wedding to say tell me that you can’t get the lobsters? Is it possible that you could have found this out yesterday… or last week? I’ll tell you this—I don’t care how you do it, but lobsters better be on those plates by 1:30 today or you’re going to have my lawyer to deal with.” She’d slammed down the phone and was about to begin a tirade when a warm hand came to rest on her shoulder. It ran down the length of her arm as another arm wound around her from behind pulling her back against the warm length of his chest.
The contact and his reassuring comment was like releasing a valve from a steam gauge. Angst and frustration flowed out of her like vapors into thin air as she snuggled into Stephen. He is worth it, she thought. He is worth every ounce of effort to make today perfect. Our marriage will be great, our children will be great…and even our pets will be great. Although a tiny, superstitious part of her wondered if it was all too good to be true.
The bridal party arrived filling their quiet house with voices and laughter. The hair stylist and photographer came next. There was a constant flow of activity as everyone made their preparations. By the time they were at the church and putting the final touches on, Kate was making a concerted effort to not break down into tears. I can’t do this….I can’t go through with it. I am going to trip on my dress and fall in front of 700 guests!
photography by John Ryan Cordova from Philippines
It wasn’t until she stood at the end of that long isle and laid her eyes on Stephen, all drop-dead gorgeous, dressed his finest and wearing a broad smile, that her fears vanished. It was only the two of them now. Nothing else mattered. She glided down the red carpet, without a hitch, knowing that her happily-ever-after awaited at the end. He took her hand in his; she looked up at him, glowing with confidence.
The ceremony droned on. Kaitlyn wasn’t really paying attention to the words until, “Does anyone object…” A collective gasp from the crowd traveled through the building like a wave. Stephen and Kaitlyn turned to see what had happened.
Stephen felt Kaitlyn’s hand turn ice cold. Her face lost all traces of color. “Who is that Katie? I’ve never seen her before.”
But Kate had no words, her eyes were locked on the woman. She was having trouble making sense of what she was seeing. If her identical twin had lived and had gotten…old, Kate would have thought that that was who she was seeing; they had a invented a silent hand and body language between them so they could communicate without anyone else knowing what they were saying.
The woman was spelling something out, but Kate wasn’t grasping the complete words.Kate was trembling like a leaf. Stephen, worried that she would topple, wrapped a strong arm around his bride, “Should we get someone to escort her out?” he asked softly.
“No,” Kate shook her head, “don’t touch her.” She failed to notice that nervous conversation had broken out among the congregation. Kate’s eyes never left the woman. I am you, the hand movements said. Kate looked closer. Her hands look like mine, the nose is right, the hair…. Kate also saw baggy deep, dark circles under the woman’s eyes, sickly yellow skin and a too thin frame. As the knowledge hit her, Kate’s hands clutched the front of Stephen’s suit to keep herself upright.
“Kate!” Stephen called out in confusion, his arms tightening around her like fierce bands; his knees bent slightly as he supported her weight.
If I were given the choice, I would not do it again, the fifty-something Kate was saying. Tears gathered at the edges of her eyes. The children are in terrible pain. They moan even in their sleep. They scream if they are touched. Every breath is a struggle. I wish death would hurry up and take them. I have given everything I had…I am already dead inside. You must stop it before it begins. That choice is right here, right now, with you.
Stephen could not maintain his grip. He guided them down to the floor. Kaitlyn’s dress billowed out around them like the petals of a white rose.
Her head finally snapped around in his direction, “Stephen we have to talk to her!” Kate cried. But when he stood up to find the woman she was gone.
It was only then that Kaitlyn began to recall the words that her older self had been spelling.