Today’s the day her first love gets married. As Mia peers at her own reflection in the mirror, with the navy blue Calvin Klein dress tightly hugging her hips and bold, black mascara complementing her green eyes, she sees the gaze of a seventeen year-old girl staring back.
Zach brought her to their town’s annual festival on a cool September night, nine years ago. And while the junior high kids ran around with sugar on their lips and tickets for crazy rides in their hands, the two of them stood by a stage, where a cover band played ‘American Girl,’ and Mia giddily jumped up and down, belting out the lyrics to the second verse. God, it’s so painful when something that’s so close, is still so far out of reach. Two weeks later, Zach kissed her.
The ceremony is supposed to begin shortly, but she hoped to linger in the lobby for a few more minutes in order to delay sitting outside, smack in the middle of New York’s sweltering heat wave. Or smack in the middle of nostalgia – whichever comes first. For 2 ½ years their relationship remained untainted. Until it wasn’t.
I love you, but I’m just not in love with you anymore, Zach told her softly one night when their world unequivocally turned upside down. She called bullshit. She proclaimed how they owed it to their truth to fix what’s broken. What we have is deep. It’s rare. We need to give it another shot, she proclaimed in between muffled sobs. I’m sorry Mia, was all he could say. I think it’s for the best.
A part of Mia’s innocence died that night.
The bridal party files down the aisle, holding bouquets that feature lavender, but all the details are a blur; in fact, they are irrelevant. She doesn’t care about any of the trivial nuances, because she’s looking at Zach at the altar. It’s suddenly that cool September night again, nine years ago. And then it’s that heartbreaking night 2 ½ years later. And then it’s that Sunday afternoon, where she spotted him in the neighborhood park, only to discover that they both live in the same city. It was one of those fresh, spring days that poetically scream rebirth. And since Mia is the type of girl to believe in whimsical symbolism and signs, she approached Zach with a fondness that will always reside in the heart of that seventeen year-old girl. It took quite a bit of time, but she realized that though she’s a little wounded, she’s in a much better place now, without him.
Zach’s soon-to-be wife is standing beside her soon-to-be husband. She radiates beauty and joy as he holds her hand in his. Mia catches his eye, flashing him one of her biggest smiles. And in that precise moment, she feels nothing but pure happiness for the first man she’s ever loved.