Lonely Lights

              Room 103, 9:45 p.m.

              I choose Hotel Apoti Thalassa as a destination wedding hotel because, ever since I was a little girl, I always dreamt of getting married by the sea. Having lived all my life near the sea, I could not imagine it not taking part of my big day. Fortunately for us, the hotel was pretty empty at the time so we managed to book a couple of rooms together. This way, we could keep mostly to ourselves. The wedding party, consisting of only Owen, my future husband / love of my life, myself, my mother and my sister, and his mother, father and brother. We were getting our simple wedding, with a wedding party consisting of my sister and Owen’s brother, as well as his parents and my mother.

              I had just gotten into bed, all warm and snuggly, feeling so cozy I could not envision getting out of bed, when all of a sudden, the enormity of the event started weighing me down. All the doubts I had ever had came racing – was I doing the right thing? What if we aren’t meant for each other? What if we get divorced? What if I made a huge mistake? Suddenly, this “sleeping in separate rooms” idea sounded silly. I needed him to reassure me… or maybe I just needed somebody to talk to. As I put on my dress robe, I realized just who I wanted to talk to – my sister! I walked past the door to the balcony, and got ready to knock on her door, when I heard my husband’s voice from within. I hesitated for a moment, thinking of all the panic from before, thinking about who’s idea it was to sleep in separate rooms, about all his “late nights at the office”, how it had seemed to me, even in the weeks before the wedding, that he had grown so close to my sister. I had been happy to see that, because it meant I had a chance to have a united family. Man, was I wrong! As I push the door open, I see my half-naked husband’s jaw drop, as he races into the bathroom.

Room 107, 9:45 p.m.

              “Go on, try it on!” my sister-in-law urges. “See if it fits!”

“I have tried it on, it’s all right. It’s just…I’m not so sure if this is a good idea!” I mumble. Truth is, her father’s military uniform fits like a glove. We had to do a bit of digging to find this particular uniform, as it is the one her father wore when he married her mother. I must admit, I feel like a fraud for wearing it. Not because I’m not part of the Army, because I have done my duty and served, but because I am not sure of the message it sends. And, if I am being reaaaally honest, it’s because I am not sure I have earned it. Better said, I am unsure of whether or not my late father-in-law would approve of me marrying his youngest daughter. Yes, we have known each other since kindergarten, and yes, we have dated for almost ten years now, but I am still not sure. His convoy was blown up before he had a chance to give us his blessing, and it has always weighed heavy upon my heart. I have blamed myself for not proposing earlier, but I just wanted us to be settled as a family before we can take this last step. Before I get a chance to finish my thought, the door to my sister-in-law’s room opens, and I see my future bride standing in the doorway. I manage an “Oh shit!”, as I jump in the bathroom, before it dawns on me that I can’t keep this a secret anymore.   

1st floor lobby, 21:50 p.m.

              “Wait! It’s not what you think!” my sister manages to catch the door as it closes, coming after me. I brace for this moment. They make me the mad one, it’s just like it was with dad, before he died, when he was having an affair with his second Lieutenant. She was almost half his age, and they made mom doubt herself, made her think she was crazy. It’s not what it looks like. I must be imagining.

              I need a second for myself and I need some fresh air, so I head over to the end of the hallway, with my sister a step behind me. She keeps trying to reassure me that they weren’t doing anything wrong, and just as I reach the door and try to jam it open, she admits it was all a surprise for the wedding day. She tells me how they tracked down the uniform dad wore when he married mom, because Owen found out I slept with their wedding photos under my pillow when I was 4. God, I hope that’s not true. Just as I decide her story makes enough sense for me to head over to her room and hear them out, I manage to pry open the door, and end up staring down at the sea below us, as it turns out the “balcony” is just a narrow gap between the door and a small rail. I instinctively step back, in order to avoid an accident, and my sister reads my gesture as going in for a hug, and tries to embrace me back. I raise my hands to ward her off, but she slips and bumps into me. As I stagger backwards, I feel the rail graze the back of my knee as I fall backwards and manage an “Oh shit!”

***

“Well, the X-Rays look fine, I would just say take it easy for a couple of days, and try to get some rest!” Giorgios, the young doctor turned to face me. I was thanking God in all the languages I knew for making Owen get us extensive insurances for this trip. “I would maybe advise postponing the honeymoon, but I don’t see any reason why you can’t get on with the wedding tomorrow” Giorgios smiled.

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