Perfect sunshine. Perfect breeze. Perfect everything.
Grace sighed, giving Wilson’s hand a soft squeeze as they waited for the wedding of the year to begin. Wilson leaned to his side to give her a gentle kiss on her forehead in response.
It was the 24th of December. Ashley’s wedding. Incidentally, it was also Grace and Wilson’s anniversary as a couple.
I can’t believe it has already been six years, Grace mused. I can’t believe it has already been six years since I gave this man beside me my sweet, sweet ‘yes’ as a Christmas present.
“Everyone, get ready!” The planner’s voice came loud and clear, making Grace jump a little in her and Wilson’s spot at the back.
“You’re daydreaming again,” the boyfriend teased.
“I was. It’s starting. I’m going to pay attention now.”
Te-te-te-tennn… te-te-te-tennn… te-te-te-tennn tennn tennnen tennn tenn tennn te-ne-nennn tennn tennn…
In walked the flower girls. In walked the beautiful bridesmaids in their deep red dresses. And finally, in walked the radiant bride — young, glowing, all dressed in the purest of white.
Tears gathered in Grace’s eyes. She was beside herself with happiness for her childhood friend, Ashley. After a string of heartbreaks, the girl finally got her happy ending. Ash deserved full attention on her special day. Yet, a portion of Grace felt a little bit of longing for her own special day, too. But as Ashely gave her parents a teary “mano po”, and as her groom, Joseph, did the same, Grace willed herself to bury those feelings and focus on the glorious ceremony which was already starting to unfold.
“You okay, love?”
“Shhh. Don’t mind me, Wilson. I am.”
* * *
“Bye! Bye, Shirley! Bye, Grace! Thanks for everything! Wilson, take care of those two… Bye! Oh — and Merry Christmas!”
Grace felt a bit guilty for leaving Laura, Ashley’s sister and maid of honor, to all the post-wedding cleanup. But she and Wilson had promised to drive Shirley, who had an early shift at The Bean, home at the soonest possible time. They didn’t expect the reception to be that long. Oh well. They would all have to spend their noche buena on the road.
Instinctively, Grace reached for Wilson’s hand as they started walking through the parking lot. Shirley was trailing a few paces behind. Once they dropped their friend off, maybe they could have coffee somewhere, to celebrate their sixth? But Wilson looked so tired. Perhaps they could have a post-celebration in the morning.
They entered the second-hand Toyota. The engine came to life and Wilson started to make small talk with Shirley. As Shirley gave him a reply, Grace’s mind started to flutter a million miles away.
* * *
“Love, is anything bothering you? You’re more silent than usual.”
“I’m just… thinking. This day has been crazy. We never got to celebrate our anniversary.”
“We can celebrate tomorrow. I mean, this morning. It’s still the 24th in another timezone.”
“Haha, there you go again, love, making me laugh. I love you, do you know that?”
“I do. But now it’s time to get you home.”
The two drove in silence all the way to Grace’s studio apartment. Slowly, they walked to the front door. Grace smiled as Wilson gave here a gentle kiss on the cheek.
“I’ll see you later, okay? I’ll come by with coffee and donuts.”
“You better. Merry Christmas, love.”
* * *
Despite having fallen asleep at 3am — over-thinking caused one to battle with insomnia — Grace found herself up and about at 8AM. She didn’t know what time Wilson was going to come by. He loved sleeping in, especially during the holidays.
Since the boyfriend was bringing coffee and donuts, Grace decided to make room for caffeine and sugar by starting the morning off with a cup of chamomile tea. She heated water in her electric kettle and rummaged through her cupboard for her collection of tea bags.
The thoughtful woman headed to her large easy chair, mug in hand, photo album in another. She was old-fashioned, yes. But in the age of digital storage, she liked to have something both tangible and nostalgic at hand. Sipping her tea, she leafed through more than half a decade’s worth of memories she and Wilson shared.
There’s us in my hometown. There’s us when he met my mom and dad. There’s us at the beach near his place. Those selfies look incredibly goofy. There’s our picture at so and so’s wedding. Here’s another one at another so and so’s wedding, too.
Slowly, the emotions Grace felt the night before trickled back to the surface. Wilson, oh Wilson. When is it going to be our turn? A deep sigh rose from her chest.
Snap out of it, Grace. She closed the album and finished her cup. God makes everything beautiful in His time. Be thankful for what you have and be grateful for the season you are in right now.
The truth was, the 27-year-old wasn’t really in any hurry. She felt a bit of discontent from time to time. But in all honesty, she was more than happy with where she was at the moment. She guessed women were just prone to comparing and coveting. But really, each girl should just enjoy the season they were in.
She thought about Laura and her present state of singleness. She thought about Shirley and her long distance love. She thought about Ashley and the beginning of her forever. And she thought about the wedding planner and her undeniable chemistry with that dashing photographer. They were all in different stages in their lives. But they all had lessons to learn and they all had life to appreciate.
“Ugh, it’s not even 9AM and I’m already thinking a lot! Where’s Wilson and the donuts?”
“Did anybody say donuts?” Wilson had heard her talking to herself and laughed as he knocked on the door. “Open up or you won’t get any.”
Grace scrambled out of her chair, rushing to open the door. “You’re here early!”
“Don’t be too surprised. Happy anniversary! It’s still the 24th in California!”
“Happy anniversary, love!” She gave the chuckling man a tight squeeze.
“Careful, you’ll squish the donuts!”
Grace pulled away, eyeing the box of confectioneries. “Which ones did you get?”
“Your favorites, of course. Want to see?”
“I don’t want to see. I want to eat!” She popped the box open and was met by the sight of six donuts in flavors of cinnamon, strawberry, chocolate, vanilla, blueberry, and peanut butter.
“One for each year,” said Wilson with a wink.
“Yummy!” Grace reached out for the cinnamon (“I knew you’d get that first!”) and felt her teeth sink into something hard. “What on earth?”
Buried inside the donut ring was… a real ring.
“Wil, is this what I think it is?”
“It is, my love. Grace Garcia. The love of my life. Will you eat donuts with me forever and be my wife?”
As Grace proceeded to give Wilson another hug, she was certain that, indeed, God made everything beautiful. In His perfect time.