I recently entered a writing contest where I had to submit a short story..no more than 500 words…about any relationship. I drafted two stories and then chose — what I hope — will be the winning story. I figured I’d share the other story here. This story is dedicated to my sister-in-laws.
Michael watched his new bride glide across the dance floor with her father and he wondered how it was possible to miss someone he never knew. Most days the loss of a woman he never got to know was simply a dull ache, but on days like today the pain was almost unbearable. Even though his father and sister told him countless stories about his mother, they were just that, stories. He was only three when she passed, so he had no memory of her. It was hard for him to feel connected to someone that he couldn’t even remember. The one person, however, that he did feel connected to was his sister, because when his mother died she took over that role in his life.
His sister had convinced him to leave out the mother/son dance. She thought it would be too painful for him. At first he agreed, but the more he got to thinking about it, the more he knew what he had to do. He wanted her to know how much she meant to him and he wanted it to be a surprise. He tried his best to look attentive while his wife danced with her father, but all he could think about was what he was going to say when the deejay handed him the microphone. He probably should have prepared something, but he was never good at putting pen to paper, so he decided to wing it. He was seriously regretting that decision as the last few bars of the father/daughter dance echoed through the room.
“The father of the bride, ladies and gentlemen. Let’s give him a hand.” Applause thundered through the room. “Before the dancing resumes, the groom would like to say a few words.”
He took the mic and then a few calming breaths before he began.
“As most of you know, my mom passed away when I was very young. For reasons I will never understand, she was taken from us way too soon; but unlike my father and sister, I was the lucky one because she left behind a daughter who did her best to fill her shoes. She didn’t have to do that, for she was just a kid herself, but she did. So, while most of you think I grew up without a mother, that’s where you’d be wrong. Callie filled the void my mom left behind. She held me for almost three days straight after my mom died, because nothing else would pacify me – a fact my father made sure to point out whenever I got mad at her. She missed out on being a typical teenager to help care for me, and for that I will always be grateful. I am the man I am today because of her. I know my mom would be disappointed in me if I let this moment pass without honoring the sacrifices my sister has made over the years. So, Callie, may I please have this dance?”