Tegan was one hundred percent right about the timeline before the ceremony. She knew what she was talking about when she mentioned that we’d get there on time and then end up sitting for hours. Part of me wonders what she was so concerned with, there was no way that we would have been late to the ceremony— but that didn’t stop Tegan from freaking out about everything.
Her panicked state started after she got done showering. She became increasingly agitated while she waited for me to take my own shower and was a wreck by the time I finished. She was paranoid that we’d forget something and kept demanding that we scrutinize every detail so that we wouldn’t neglect anything.
Thus, we checked (and rechecked) to make sure that we had all the components of our outfits, safely stowed in garment bags, so that we could get dressed once we got to the venue. She heckled me needlessly as I gathered up our things and didn’t stop until we were out of flat and headed to the Botanical Gardens. We allowed extra minutes for traffic and parking— just to be sure that we would be here on time. Because of all the running around and worrying, we ended up arriving super early for the ceremony.
I can’t blame my sister though. I would be just as nervous and probably ten times more neurotic if this was my wedding day. I know Tegan wanted to make sure that she had the opportunity to fully prepare herself for the ceremony, which is why we’re here way ahead of schedule. I have to be supportive and understanding so I just let her have her chance to decompress and try to digest the magnitude of the day.
However, the extra time we have before the ceremony is now spent worrying.
Tegan is nervous and anxious. I can hear her mumbling under her breath, going over her vows again and again. I am restless and listless, barely able to stay in one place. I try not to wonder where Jamie is any given moment. I’m on edge because I don’t know when she’ll suddenly come into view and upset my whole existence. Again.
I beg myself to remain calm and focus on Tegan. I remind myself to breathe. I try not to panic.
We wait in a small greenhouse set aside for the wedding party. I sit by the largest window and watch Catherine sprint around. She’s doing her damnedest to make sure everything is perfect. I smooth out the material of my black dress pants, trying to avoid any wrinkles. A persistent movement nearby distracts me, causing me to glance over at my twin.
Tegan sips a cocktail and paces around. She has been doing this same repetitive action for the last forty-five minutes. The ice in her glass clinks every time her body swivels as she walks back and forth across the greenhouse floor. Her mouth moves, with only whispers emerging past her nervous lips. I hear syllables that sound like words of love and promises of forever, but she speaks so low that it’s hard to tell. We still have at least hour before the ceremony is slated to begin, but she seems to be getting more nervous by the second.
“You want to sit down?” I ask for the fifth time, somewhat annoyed. She’s making my head spin with her quick movement. “We have time… you can take a breather.”
Tegan just shakes her head repeatedly and plays with the unknotted bow tie around her neck. “I can’t sit,” she mumbles, clinking the ice in her drink again. “I’ll crease my pants if I do that. I can’t have creased pants on my wedding day. I want to look perfect, Sara. I have to be perfect today.” I nod to placate her as Tegan carries on. “I’m getting married in an hour. One hour.”
Her eyes are wide and I meet them with my own. I shoot her a small reassuring smile. “I know, Tee. You’ve been talking about marrying Lindsey for so long— I can barely believe that today’s the day. Aren’t you happy?” I ask honestly, fiddling with my own unfastened pink bow tie.
Tegan stops mid-stride, dead silent. I struggle to read her body language and examine her for clues as to why she’s standing there, rigid.
For a second, my heart drops in my chest. I worry that she’s going to tell me something terrible, answer with a response that she regrets what is about to happen, admit that she’s not quite sure. I swallow hard, unsure about what I would even respond to that.
I never give Tegan enough credit.
She snaps her head to look at me, insulted that I’d even ask her if she was happy that her wedding day was upon us. I feel guilty for a moment, shamed that I underestimated the strength of her character. I owe her more than that, I know.
“Of course I’m happy. Are you insane?” she gawks at me. “I’m fucking ecstatic that I’m marrying Lindsey today. I’m so filled with crazy butterflies that I just don’t know what to do with myself for this hour. I want to fast forward time and be at that altar already.” I don’t say anything in response, letting her speak. Tegan starts her pacing again. “And I’m terrified that I’m going to throw up. I’m so nervous I could puke.” She shifts the ice in her glass again, the amber liquid swirling languidly.
I shrug my shoulders at her. “Maybe you shouldn’t be drinking,” I advise. “You don’t want to vomit all over your bride on your wedding day.” Tegan stops her steps and pauses to look down at her rum and cola. I hold my hand out to her, my palm open, and nonverbally gesture for the drink.
“It’s helping with my anxiety. I won’t puke on Lindsey either. If I start to, I’ll just swallow it down,” she jokingly grumbles, refusing to relinquish her grasp on the glass. She takes the opportunity to change the subject. “Let’s just run through everything again. Please?”
I nod, unwilling to add to her stress. “Ok. We’ll run through it,” I agree. I try to remember everything that has to be taken care of before the ceremony starts. “Um… first of all, you’re all dressed, right?” Tegan nods and gestures to her outfit.
I have to admit, my twin resembles a sparkling new penny. Tegan looks wholly impressive today. Her black and white wing tip shoes are polished and so shiny you can see your reflection in them. Her pants are expertly tailored and ironed; she looks trim and sleek in them. Her crisp white shirt is tucked into her pants without sacrificing any of its starched perfection. She’s rolled her sleeves up just slightly, giving her overall appearance a more relaxed look. Her pink suspenders are adjusted to the correct tightness and complete the outfit nicely. The only this amiss is her bowtie, which she’s asked me to knot for her just before the ceremony starts. Her hair is slightly tidier than it normally is, but still in the style she likes to wear it. I almost feel like a proud parent, feeling overwhelmed at now nice she looks.
I study her briefly before nodding approvingly. “You look great, Tee. Seriously.” She smiles bashfully. Returning her grin, I get back on task. “Um ok. You’ve showered right?” She nods. “Deodorant and cologne?” She sniffs her underarms with a laugh and then nods her head again. “Vows?” I ask her finally.
Tegan points to her head. “They’re up here, sis. I’ve been practicing them for weeks now. I know them by heart.”
I can’t think of anything more on our checklist. “Well… then I think you’re good,” I reassure her. “I don’t know what else we might have forgotten.”
Tegan’s head snaps and her eyes widen once they find mine. “The rings. I don’t have the rings.”
I furrow my brows. Shit. Tegan was supposed to give the rings to me for safekeeping. I was in charge of handing them over during that portion of the ceremony. Except, I don’t have them. “Where are they?” I ask her as she starts pacing again.
“Lindsey has them. You have to go find her and get them.”
I nod and stand up from my seat. I smooth my pants again and urge Tegan to relax. “It’s fine— I’ll go get them. Lindsey is just in the other building next door. I’ll be right back.” I head to the exit, but turn back before I leave. “Don’t go all Runaway Bride on me, ok?” Tegan looks like she wants to snap on me due to her nerves, but she doesn’t. Instead she rolls her eyes and keeps pacing.
I wonder, for a split second, where Jamie is… before remembering that I don’t have time for that. I have to find Lindsey and get the rings. I have to make sure Tegan is standing at that altar, looking flawless and ready to embark on the rest of her life. I have to keep my head on straight and not watch for those unforgettable blue eyes or that head of blonde hair. I have to. I can’t do this neurotic, lovesick puppy thing with her… not today. Not when there’s so much at stake.
I open the door and venture out of my little safe haven.