Outside the window, there is an icy serenade of snow,falling like the pure tears of the residents of the pearly gates.Days like this are transient and rare where the cloud is thick with heavy fog and the weather still looks beautiful. Forget-me-nots in decadent red, something blue, something borrowed and something old. Everything has been handpicked for this ceremony, the wedding of the year. As Zara’s designer zips up her dress, she feels chills run down her spine. Guilt burns through like gasoline in her guts, suffocating her slowly. Over the years it had come back to haunt her but in slower durations as the time passed. The last time she was on this island was the summer of ’10 before mom’s cancer diagnosis and Emma’s death. In one hour, she would walking down the aisle to Vicente avella’s modern version of here comes the bride. You can still tell them, set things straight, she thinks. Zara looks into the mirror and for once she does not recognize herself. Her skin looks almost as pale as the silky white dress she is wearing and her cheek bones have been highlighted so much that she feels like maleficent. Someone knocks the door, perhaps to tell them it is time.
“Delivery for the bride.” Zara’s designer, Tyra collects the bouquet from the courier. Typical of Jake to send her flowers even on their wedding day, he was just so big on romantic gestures. At six feet, Jake’s broad shoulders, baby blue eyes and chiselled abs were literally to die for.His only flaw was the scar running down from his forehead to his cheek, a result of a drunken bar fight. Tyra hands the bouquet over to her and leaves the room to get a vase for the flowers. There is snowplace like home, the card says. Only Emma told wacky snow jokes like that. Mom says that bad things come in threes and this is the second one to arrive in the space of four days. Someone knows, after all these years of thinking she got away with it. But then why not just rat me out, why the torture for something I did as a child? Zara thinks while pacing up and down the room. “At this rate, you are going to wear out that carpet, wedding jitters I presume.” “Mom, you came, I didn’t think you were going to make it on short notice.” “And miss my baby girl’s wedding, of course not.” “I know, it’s just that the doctors said it is not safe for you to travel across the country so soon afte another round of Chemo.” “Well, I’m here now, aren’t i? flowers!!! I see Jake has not changed a bit.”
At this point, Zara is plagued with two choices. To either tell mom the truth or go along with what she thinks. Just then Tyra walks in. “we have to go, its time.” “Mom, will you do me the honour of walking me down the aisle?” “Oh honey, I thought you wouldn’t ask, of course I will.” Instead of the song that she and Jake chose, she hears the first chord for Morning has broken, father’s favorite song playing on the night she lost Emma forever.This is it, after all the running, my past catches up with me on my wedding day. Whatever will be, will be, I’m tired of hiding anyway, she thinks. They say their vows and through the whole process, Zara is dazed. Series of thoughts in her head, some distorted and making no sense. They head over to the reception venue, an ancient hall in the middle of the island. Zara wonders why she agreed to this place when Jake suggested it. Back then she thought it was because his family had business ties with the owner and in a way coming back seemed to honour Emma’s memory. She recalls Jake’s conversations with an unknown caller, the late nights and him showing up in her life at exactly when he did. Now she thinks could it be Jake sending those letters? How well do I know my new husband?
The reception is decorated with daisies, the one thing that Zara cannot stand. Trying not to make a scene, she beckons to Tyra. “Care to explain why my reception venue is filled with daisies, the one thing I specifically told you I didn’t want?” Tyra looks confused almost as if she does not understand what Zara is talking about. “you sent me a text two weeks ago saying you wanted to change everything, the procession hymn down to the menu.” “no I didn’t , I’m sure I would know if I had told you to do something like ruin my wedding.” “which was why I tried to make sure you were not having a bridzilla moment but you insisted that I follow your instructions without question.” Tyra scrolls through the messages which appear to have come from Zara’s phone. If I didn’t send those messages, then who did?, she wonders. In a bid to salvage the situation, Zara feigns recognition of the messages and apologizes. Someone on this island has it out for her and she is determined to find out who is behind this.
During their first dance as a married couple, she stares into Jake’s eyes hoping she would see something to help her understand this mess she was in. After all, eyes are the key to the soul, aren’t they? Instead all she sees is a sappy dude in love. Flanked by their friends, loved ones and a few members of the press, they seem like an ordinary couple deeply enamored with each other. But something sinister lurks around the corner waiting to pounce. One is left to wonder, could Jake really be so good at pretending to be clueless? The emcee of the occasion announces that it is time for the toast and Jake’s best friend, Tom steps forwards to say a few words. “I remember years ago at a bar when Jake told me he was going to marry Zara. The first thing I said was ‘you are a douchebag. What makes you think she’ll say yes?’ Yet here we are, a few millions richer and all I can say is you made the right choice bro. If he ever messes up Zara, call me. I’m only one punch away.” Trust Tom to constantly remind the world about his financial status. He raises his glass and everyone does the same as well.Zara’s mom, Andrea, goes next and sways so slightly, it’s hard to tell if she is actually drunk or just cold. “I have waited years for this day. When Zara was younger, she used to tell me everything. Her first crush, the first time time she stole booze from her father’s cabinet, anything you could think of”. Zara tears up remembering the good old days. “then suddenly, she stopped. At first I thought it was grief, we had both lost someone close to us. And then the autopsy result came in and I realized it was guilt, fear even.” Everyone present at the party sits up paying rapt attention, wondering where how the story ends. Zara on the other hand is startled, she has kept this secret for 10 years and now she finds out that the letters, the box of chocolates,even the wedding was Mom’s doing. “Zara dear, do you mind coming down to tell these people what I found out?’ “Mom, I think you’re tipsy, let me take you inside”. “don’t you dare call me that, I’m not your mother, Emma told you, didn’t she? That was why you killed her.” Pullling out a gun from her clutch, Andrea aims at Zara.
A murmur arises from the guests but no one seems to be brave enough to try to calm her down. “mom please put the gun down, we can talk about this, it was a mistake.’ ‘it is too late for that, you had ten years but you chose not to say anything. You let me think my baby was suicidal and she jumped off the clip. I even sent you those letters thinking you would be remorse and speak up but you little wench, you smiled in my face and asked me to walk you down the aisle.” ” you want to know the truth about what happened that night at the cliff, fine I’ll tell you. I had just found out that I was adopted and I ran off to be alone. But Emma followed me and tried to calm me down. I told her I was going to find my real parents but she didn’t want me to. We had a happy family and she didn’t understand why I would jeopardize that for people who never wanted me. An argument ensued and I pushed her off me. She slipped and fell off.” Disbelief shows on Andrea’s face. “if it was a mistake like you claim, why didn’t you tell me the truth?” “I thought you would blame me and then decide you didn’t want me anymore.” “You should have given me the chance to make that choice and not make one for me, now I have to make one of my one.” Unwavering in the decision she seems to have taken years to think about, Andrea pulls the trigger.
Zara’s body hits the floor just as the shot is fired. This is it, ten years and the punishment suits the crime. The whole crowd is in a frenzy. People running helter sketer. She struggles to keep her eyes open but she’s slipping out of consciousness very fast. Jake leaning over her is the last thing she sees before the darkness totally engulfs her.

2 thoughts on “HIDDEN SECRETS

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