"if an object or expression can bring about, within us, a sense of serene melancholy and a spiritual longing, then that object could be said to be wabi-sabi." -Wabi Sabi: The Japanese Art of Impermanence(2003)

Prelude to a Wedding

She looked at him from across, descending the stairs gracefully and fell in love with him all over again. He looked sure of himself, his hair swept back, a happy hint of a smile on his radiant face. He did not rush down the carpeted staircase, but climbed down one step at a time, his head held high, not looking anywhere in particular. He had one hand in his trouser pocket, while the other hung loose by his side.

The audience below cheered, then raised their glasses, but she didn't hear any of it. Her gleaming eyes followed him, a slight smile spreading, as she felt her heart pound louder in her chest. Subconsciously, she stopped curling the single strand of hair the stylist had let fall from the high chignon and grasped the handrail with trembling hands.

He hardly noticed the cheering crowd. He was just looking at the spot he had chosen beneath the crystal chandelier where he would stand and wait for her. The staircase spiraled down towards it, its rich maroon carpet soft under his soles, leading him like beacons on a landing strip guide a descending aircraft. Guests stood in groups like small islands in a cove, dressed in their best for the occasion. A live band played soft jazz at one end, their brass instruments shining in the warm glow of opulent lighting. He heard nothing, just a tranquil silence. He might as well have been taking a stroll in the forest.

She saw him stop and turn to look up at her, his eyes warm and inviting. She suddenly felt weak in her knees, and tightened her gripped on the banister, blushing. For a moment, she thought she would collapse. Then, hypnotized, she began climbing down slowly from the other side of the staircase, as if he were a magnet pulling her towards him. She neither noticed the crowd nor the music. He was all she saw.

He looked at her mesmerized. She seemed like an angel descending from heaven, her white dress gliding softly behind her, her eyes smiling. Long earrings dangled from her lobes and bounced at every step. Her stilettos left behind soft indents in the thick carpet. The spartan necklace was prominent against her glowing skin. He was certain he could see a halo around her.

He offered her his hand as she reached the bottom of the stairs, as if inviting her to a dance. She let go of the rail to take up his offer, without realizing it. His warm hand was reassuring, unlike the cold handrail, his grip light, but firm. She immediately felt a rush of energy surging through him, as if he were an electrical outlet providing her the charge she needed to function. He helped her off the stairs and brought her gingerly in the center of the room, underneath the chandelier.
Still holding her hand gently by the fingers, he dropped to one knee, and felt stronger, rather than weaker.
The crowd gathered automatically around them as they saw him present her the ring. It did not see him look lovingly into her eyes, now moist with a thin film of tears clouding her vision. Nor did it see her nod her head imperceptibly, as she returned the look with an approving smile.
"Yes, a thousand times yes", she thought, fighting to keep her eyes from tearing up, but failing.
He slipped the ring in her finger, its solitaire refracting light in her eyes. She blinked, her long eyelashes covering her eye for a brief instant, then abruptly glanced upwards, afraid that the levee would break and tears would come streaming down from her eyes.
When she looked back, he was standing right in front of her. Their fingers locked, as did their eyes and they had lived a lifetime in that instant.

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