As Billy sat there with his palms sweating not knowing exactly what he was supposed to do or say not that he could really say much at all. What do you say as you sit in the second pew of a beautifully decorated church in the same town that the woman whom was about to walk down the aisle held your hand when you were six years old and told you that you would be the one she would love forever? As the doors at the back of the church opened and everyone stood to stare at the beautiful bride on her father’s arm about to begin on her way past the pews, Billy stared right at the groom. The groom was Trevor Brown. He was the football team captain in high school. He went to a great college on a full scholarship. Ya, he was that guy.
Billy was not that guy. Billy was the best friend. Billy and Lauren were inseparable as long as he could remember. They lived across the street from each other their entire lives. They would go play at the park across the street everyday together and swing until the sun went down and their mothers called them inside for dinner. Lauren stood up for Billy when they were six years old and Trevor kicked sand in Billy’s face.
Sadly, as they grew older and Billy fell in love with Lauren more and more everyday, she never noticed him at all. She ran to him for comfort when her first love broke her heart and she always told him how she wished every guy could be as understanding as him. Isn’t that how it always seems to go, Billy was the perfect guy for the perfect girl but his v-neck sweater and love for a good debate was no match for Trevor’s sweaty football uniform and outstanding confidence.
When they were eighteen and graduated high school, Billy said goodbye to Lauren and went off to school on the other side of the country. He figured that since the east coast cold had never really supplied him with the happiness that had hoped for, then maybe the west coast sunshine might suit him better. Now, seven years later he was back in his hometown once more.
Six months prior to that moment when he was sweating in the church pew, he had received an invitation to see the love of his life give her own to one man he could never get her away from. He was not even quite sure why he was invited. He had not even spoken to Lauren very much over the prior years except for some exchanging of likes and wall posts on Face book. Nonetheless, he had received an invitation in the mail to the marriage of Lauren Cooley and Trevor Brown.
He was not even going to go. He had every rightful intention of taking that invitation and ripping it in half. He had all the correct notion to call Trevor and tell him exactly where he could put that RSVP that he expected. Unfortunately, Billy had never disappointed Lauren and he did not intend on starting now. Even if it was not him waiting at the front of the church like he had longed for, he would be there to support her on her wedding day.
So he got on his Harley and rode all the way back to the east coast. Things had changed for Billy and he hoped that Lauren might see that when he returned home. After days of riding he finally arrived in Tolland, Ct. A small sleepy town that to this day still has a penny candy store that sells candy dots. No it does not have any drive thru’s, it does not even posses one movie theater. The closest mall is thirty minutes away and the towns pride lies in the fact that you have to drive through it to get to UCONN. The town was nothing to brag about but it was his town. Riding through the streets a million memories flooded back into his brain. He passed the town green where Lauren and he used to go every Christmas to watch them light the town tree. He past Crandle’s Pond where they took swimming lessons together and swam to the dock not minding the stories of the snapping turtles that apparently lived underneath. Passing the old car lot he just laughed, it was one of those “you know you are from a small town when” moments. The car lot was the place to be when Billy and Lauren were in High School. It was not about doing drugs or having sex, in that town it was a different world. They did not need either of those things. They just needed a place to park the cars, then everyone would jump in the backs of trucks and head off the bonfires in the woods of Crandles2.
It had been seven years and the town even still smelled the same. He parked in front of the Tolland Inn, and walked inside. Miss. Martha greeted him at the front table and he felt so comforted seeing a familiar face. He got his key and walked upstairs to his room to change. The wedding was across the street at St Matthews church and he wasn’t going to miss this.
So, there he was sitting in the pews of the church he had been forced to go to every sunday of his childhood. It was not that he had anything against God, he just figured that going mudding on Sunday morning was a much better way of showing God how much he appreciated his world.
There she was coming up the aisle with her arm around her fathers. Billy nodded to Lauren’s father as she walked by and then the look on Lauren’s face showed Billy something he had not expected. She did not expect to see him at her wedding. The quiet laughter from her father let him know that her father did know he was coming.
Lauren could not shake from her mind the thought of Billy being there. Was this a sign? No, she was sure that she was supposed to marry Trevor. Wasn’t she? The Pastor asked if anyone had any reason that the two should not wed and it took everything in Billy’s power to not say a word. Then Trevor said, “I do.” The Pastor and everyone looked to Lauren for her answer and Billy did too. Lauren looked at Billy and at that moment he knew. All he could think was, “Thank god for true love and remote engine starters.”