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David A. Schwinghammer

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By David A. Schwinghammer
Posted: Thursday, January 07, 2010
Last edited: Thursday, July 05, 2012
This short story is rated "PG" by the Author.
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Recent stories by David A. Schwinghammer
· Soldier's Gap, Chapter Three
· Little Crow
· Soldier's Gap, Chapter One
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           >> View all 71
A man attends his ex-lover's wedding.

Phil hadn’t been invited to Allie’s wedding and when the usher asked him which side of the church he would like to sit on, he didn’t know what to say. “Oh, I’ll be okay back here in one of the back pews,” he said. “I have to leave early.”
“Certainly, sir,” the boy said. Phil was pretty sure the boy was the groom’s younger brother.
There was no place to sit in the back pew that Phil chose, as this was where the usher’s usually hung out waiting for collection after Communion, or else it was for people to say their penances after Confession as there was a confessional back in the corner for when three priests were hearing Confession during Easter time. Phil was a little worried he might be a little bit conspicuous out here in the open. Allie would come through the open double doors during the processional with her father escorting her, doing that funny two-step thing they did, and surely she’d see him. But he wanted her to see him, didn’t he?
The church began to fill up and other people found that there was no place to sit, so they knelt next to Phil and soon he sort of blended in with the rest. Maybe she wouldn’t see him. She’d be focusing on the groom. Some guy she’d met at St. Thomas where she’d gone to college and grown away from him. He’d spent two years in the Army and her letters had gradually become more and more impersonal until that last one in which she’d told him she was engaged.
Suddenly the organist played some kind of prelude and the grooms, the best man and the female attendants filed out of the vestibule and turned to watch the door as the organist began to play “Here Comes the Bride”. He’d expected something a little more original. They’d often talked about how they’d get married when they’d been going together. She’d said she didn’t want the traditional white dress, and the church wedding. She wanted to dive out of an airplane or something else a little more daring.
What am I doing here? he asked himself. Just wanted to see her one last time and then he’d go. She wouldn’t answer his letters; she wouldn’t let him come to see her. It was as if she was trying to erase the three years they’d spent together entirely.
The double doors opened and here she came. Eyes sparkling, smiling like a Miss America contestant. She didn’t see him, but her father did, at first out of the corner of his eye and then he’d done a double-take as if to say, “What’s that homeless person doing in church?” But there wasn’t much the bald-headed bastard could do about it as Allie was tugging him along like a reluctant five-year old on his first day of kindergarten. He actually turned his head to give Phil a malevolent stare. Oh, how I’d love to smash my fist down on that man’s egg-shaped cranium! Phil muttered to himself, clenching his teeth so hard he was afraid they’d split.
The ceremony progressed uneventfully until the part where the priest asked if anyone objected to the marriage. This was the part where he’d imagined he’d run up, take her hand, and make a run for it, like Dustin Hoffman in “The Graduate”, but he knew he’d never do it. She’d probably kick him in the nuts.
Stupidly he sat through the whole thing, and even watched the new bride and groom march down the aisle and out into the vestibule where they would greet their guests on the way out and some of the male guests would get to kiss the bride.
That was it. He’d planned on kissing her good bye. What could she do about it, holler rape? She’d be too embarrassed to throw a fit. If he had the courage, it would give him some kind of closure.
But she saw him coming and did a kind of stiff-arm when he leaned over to kiss her and before he knew what hit him, the groom had grabbed his arm and then the best man who’d been conveniently standing there had bum-rushed him out the door by the seat of his pants and he’d been hurled down the front steps of the church, tearing a hole in the knee of the new trousers he bought special for the occasion.
“Damn you!” he cried. Some of the guests turned to watch him as if he were a drunken relative. They lost interest and turned back to the more entertaining spectacle going on inside.
He limped off, thinking about how to get even. The convertible was parked at the end of the sidewalk, with a big “Just Married” banner stitched to the back. Why hadn’t he remembered to bring a knife? He could slash the tires. Why had he quit smoking? He could set fire to the banner.
When he turned to look back at the church, the best man was following him. He was a couple of inches smaller than Phil. He’d been caught by surprise back there or things would have been definitely different. “Don’t you try anything with that car!” the little troll said.
“You little shit,” Phil said. “If you get any closer, I’m going to kick your ass all the way to Minneapolis.”
“Come ahead then, asshole!”
“Aren’t you afraid you’re going to get your little monkey suit all dirty?”
“It’ll only take one punch.”
“I didn’t think they let a queer be best man in a straight wedding.”
With that the little bastard took a run at him and Phil did a toreador move. Grabbing his arm on the way by, he whiplashed him onto the grass, where he hit his head on a birdbath. People were running toward him and the wounded champion. No sign of Allie or the groom. Phil turned and walked away. He felt a little better, but not much.  

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