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Hidden Behind Bright Blue Eyes (Adam John Shexnayder-Crowley, LA)

It was the perfect day for a wedding. It was a cool 65 degrees without the sight of clouds for miles. The grooms family were all on one side and the brides adjacent. The flowers were perfectly set in the best places. The aisle was lined in teal silk. The stage had lattice vined with the prettiest flowers anyone could ever hope for. I don't know how she pulled it off, but there was even the slight fragrance of lilac in the air as if it was being blown over by an invisible fan. The groom, oh how he was magnificent. Straight laced and freshly trimmed, he was towering over the audience like he was ready to take on the world. His groomsmen all in line behind him as if perfectly supporting his radiant aura. You couldn't tell that he was nervous, but I could tell the secret that slowly ate away at his heart. The music began, and the procession followed. Each bridesmaid slowly entered the scene, gracefully climbing on to the stage as if they practiced this march a thousand time. You could almost bet that she carefully selected only the best dancers to be in her wedding party. Then she emerged behind the blooming magnolia tree. Her dress slightly flowed with the wind. She clenched on to her father as if this was the end of her days. You could tell the stress from the barely visible circles around her eyes.  The concealer needed to be returned because it wasn't up to par against the brides worries. Her father slightly placed a kiss upon her forehead. She closed her eyes and embraced him. She took the grooms hands and shivered in excitement. This was the moment she waited for her entire life. He looked her in the eyes as if he was reading his own future in her hazel gaze. The preacher began the ceremony. Everyone was on the edge of their seat as if they were watching the blockbuster hit of the fall. And, as protocol to the ceremony, the preacher asked the audience if there was anyone who had reason to object to this holy matrimony. I had been waiting for this moment my entire life. To profess my love for the man that gave me everything I had ever dreamed. To show the world that I was the one that made someone the best they had ever been. I couldn't let her take the credit for the man I had shaped into what you saw upon that stage. My words failed. I couldn't even move. I was paralyzed with realization. Next thing I knew, the preacher was announcing the newly wedded couple and the kiss followed. Of course, it was the most beautiful kiss I had ever seen. I had longed for such a kiss. As I sat in the back row, the couple passed me. And I turned to watch them enter the sunset. He turned around and stared into my eyes. Just as he did a minute ago. But there was something different now. Something distant that would send me spiraling down. It was the goodbye look that I wished would never given to me. His bright blue eyes were gone just a moment later. And that was the last time I saw him. He assimilated into a life he was never meant to live. Without as much as a goodbye. And he deserved every second.

A few hours before my fiftieth birthday, I heard a rapping at my apartment door. I was curious to find a gentleman with roses and balloons at my door step. My only thought was that it must be a gift from the ladies at the office. They were always trying to cheer me up because they thought I was a lonely old man. To my surprise, the words that came out of his mouth were all too familiar. It was him. Thirty years later. He told me of the horrible guilt he had about what he had done to me. He told me of the previous morning conversation telling his wife that he was leaving her to be with his true love. It was as if it were a scene from the most romantic love story ever written. I sat back and listened as he told me of his life over the last thirty years. Not saying a word for an hour, I began to formulate the only sentence I had ever wanted to say to him. His mouth dropped in awe when I kissed him. It was just like the kiss I had saw thirty years earlier. Only this time, it was all mine. Then I slowly got up and ushered him to the door. The only words that I got out before the door slammed in his face were , "too late."

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