Left Behind. Short Story.

This was supposed to be such a happy day. Everything was supposed to be perfect. She dropped her flowers, she didn’t need them anymore. She sat on one of the pews, the church was already empty. All her family and friends had fled the church when they learned that Brian wasn’t going to show up. She didn’t blame them. She sent everyone ahead to the reception. They might as well, it was all paid for, too late to get any of the money back now. She dropped her head into her hands. There had been no warning signs, no clues, nothing. Nothing but that phone message. He couldn’t even do it in person, he was a fucking coward. She had been waiting for him to turn up, no one had heard from him, people were panicking, but not her. She knew he’d turn up, she had felt so smug, so fucking smug when her phone rang, expecting him to tell her what happened, about how his car broke down, about how he was on his way, but just delayed. She had went to her phone, though not fast enough. She tried to ring him back but there was no answer, instead, there was that voice mail. “I’m sorry. I can’t do this.” She couldn’t even speak. Could barely move. She had simply handed the phone to one of her bridesmaids, she wasn’t even sure who, and she had listened to the message too. It wasn’t long before everyone knew. The priest was somewhere in the building, doddering around. She had changed out of her dress, it was so beautiful, but no one would see it now. It was supposed to be a day for celebration.

She stood from the pew, she wasn’t sure how long she had been sitting for. There was no use moping around, at least not here. Right now, what she wanted, more than anything else, was to get ridiculously drunk. It would help soothe the wounds. She was still in shock, it hadn’t quite hit her and she wanted to delay that moment as long as possible, alcohol would numb her, enable her to make the phone calls she needed to make and return all the gifts. She didn’t feel comfortable keeping them now. She gathered her bag and stepped outside the church, she left her flowers lying where they had dropped.They had been so expensive too, so hard to find. She closed her eyes as a breeze blew past, the air smelt nice, fresh.  She walked down the stone steps of the church, towards the car. Steve had waited for her, she sat into the car, “Where to?” “Where everyone else is.” “Are you sure?” “Yeah. I want booze. It’s already bought and paid for. I don’t want to be alone either.” Steve nodded. “Ok. If you’re sure. I won’t be drinking, so I can give you a lift if you need it.” “No. Stay. Drink. Hotel rooms are book  already. Why let it all go to waste?” Steve sighed, “ok. Well, if you need anything at all, you know you can come to me, right?” “Yeah. Thanks.” She leaned over and hugged him. As they drove, she drank from a bottle of wine Steve had, the more she drank the better she felt. It was better this way. She hadn’t realised it but their relationship was faltering, not that it was her fault, Brian was such a prick. All those times he missed dinner or broke his promises, she was better off without the fucker.

Everyone paused awkwardly when she entered the hall, she raised her bottle of wine “Drink up everyone! Woo!” She took a drink, everyone cheered and went back to what they were doing. It was going to be a happy event. It was always the way with her family. They took the bad by turning it into good. She meandered over to the head table, where she and her husband were supposed to sit, she passed by the cake and paused, she cut a giant slice and continued onwards, she took a mouthful of it, it was good. “How are you holding up sweetie?” “Awesome. Just awesome.” Servers came out with food,  she had been looking forward to the sit down meal before this. The food was delicious, she washed it down with more wine. She had been getting drunk until the food, but it seemed to sober her up considerably, she finished off the bottle she was drinking and had a glass of champagne, then, she moved onto the liquors. She had three more drinks and stopped, she was comfortably drunk now. Everyone was dancing and having fun, she went to the dance floor and located some of her friends and together, they danced.

When she moved off the floor she was tired and thirsty, she downed a glass of water, then had some more booze. No harm in keeping her buzz going.

When the night ended, she stumbled up to her room, a very luxurious suite, though she noticed none of it. She felt gross and sweaty after dancing and decided a shower was in order. She stripped off and after a few minutes of careful twisting, she figured out how the shower worked. She showered and, after partially drying herself, she stumbled to the bed. She woke the next morning on damp sheets, feeling cold and miserable. Her tongue felt thick and carpet like and her head pounded steadily with the beat of her heart. She sat up, groaning slightly as the contents of her stomach shifted dramatically. She breathed deeply, she wouldn’t throw up, she’d wouldn’t throw up, she wouldn’t-she dashed to the bathroom, just making it to the toilet, vomit burning her throat. When she had finished, she rinsed out her mouth and went back to her room. She looked at the clock, it was still early, she had arranged for a late checkout. She picked up the phone and called room service, she couldn’t face people right now.

She ate her breakfast slowly, rashers, sausages, pudding and toast, enjoying each bite. Once she had finished she showered again. There was nothing in the room that needed packing and still feeling slightly hung over, she left the room and went downstairs. She met her parents at the front desk, they too seemed worse for wear.  She sat in the lobby while they checked out for her. A steady stream of sickly looking guests passed her, a few saw her, most were headed straight for the breakfast buffet. Her parents motioned that they had finished and together they walked out to the car.

It wasn’t a long drive to their house, that was one of the benefits of the hotel. She waved to her parents as they drove off and she unlocked the door and stepped inside. Everything would need to be arranged, figure out who owned what. She walked towards the kitchen, wanting a glass of soft drink, she paused part way there and took a few steps back, looking into the sitting room, something was different. It took her a few seconds to realise that the painting was gone, other stuff was missing too. She wandered the house, noting the items he had taken. She finally reached the kitchen, sitting on the counter was an envelope with her name on it. She picked it up and went back to the sitting room. She sat on the couch and looked at the envelope, willing herself to open it, but she couldn’t. Hot tears streamed down her face. It was really over. It hadn’t been a dream or a mistake. She opened the envelope. She could do it, she could read it. She unfolded the paper and began to read.


About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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