“The Processional” A Short Story

Have you ever wondered what people at a wedding are thinking?

Elijah Nix

More stories from Elijah Nix


Elijah Nix

Short Story by Elijah Nix

As the pianist began to strike the familiar notes to Canon in D, Jason, along with all the other wedding guests, turned their heads to the sanctuary’s entrance. The first pair of the bridal party  walked down the aisle with slow, nervous, practiced steps. 

Jason sighed. 

Jason had seen all of this during the rehearsal the night before. If the point of the bridesmaids was to make the bride look good… well… they were doing a good job. He knew already that none of them had anything on Ava. 

As the groom’s brother, his seat was right up front. Why he wasn’t a groomsman was beyond him. Something about only having adults in the wedding party or something. Patrick probably just didn’t want to have to forgo drinking at his bachelor party because a stupid 16-year-old kid was hanging around. 

Jason adjusted the cuffs of his green button-up, growing with impatience. 

He hated being sixteen. The number was an unbreakable barrier between him and what would have probably been an epic relationship. Ava was just so cool and so beautiful. She always showed interest in whatever Jason had to say, always gave honest laughs whenever he told a joke, and really seemed to understand him.  

But she was twenty-three. Seven long years of experience apart from Jason. The thought sickened him. 

If there was ever a place worse than the friend-zone, this was it. 

For a brief moment, Jason caught the eyes of his brother who stood nervously at the altar, and he immediately broke eye contact, and scooted back in his pew. 

Of course, it would have been easier if Patrick were equally as cool as Ava. He was in fact, the exact opposite. He was so stupid and boorish and insensitive. Ava was kind and gentle. How could someone so kind and gentle fall for an imbecile like Patrick? And it seemed like everybody else was always talking about Patrick’s charm or his looks or his business intelligence, but that all seemed like nothing to Jason. Jason knew the real Patrick, and the real Patrick was not good enough for Ava. 

Jason sighed as his eyes boredly gazed around the room. He looked at the bride’s family across the aisle. Faith, the bride’s oldest sister sat stoically, setting her eyes on the altar steps. 

Jason wished he could be as apathetic to romance as Faith was. Faith was a total girl boss who made a competitive six figures in some important corporate… something. Jason wasn’t too sure. He had only met her once, and when she explained what she did for a living, it all went over his head. But she seemed really satisfied. Jason wanted to be satisfied.  


Faith looked at her watch as the slow-walking parties tiptoed down the aisle. Why were they going so slow? 

Faith had used up all her brownie points to persuade her superiors to reschedule the board meeting until 7 PM, and time was ticking. She counted herself lucky, of course. Changes in time zones and countries allowed the new meeting time to work. Just barely. 

This was a meeting she didn’t want to miss. If this one went well, the merger between Insight Inc. and QuestingRL was more likely to reach next steps, resulting in huge profit margins. If things went poorly, project funding would require her work even more than she already did to secure grants and donations. This was important. 

However, it wasn’t just the board meeting that made Faith impatient. She began to fidget with the rings on her fingers–yellow to match her dress. She had one on practically every finger, except her ring finger. Everyone seemed to look, too. They would notice the plethora of jewelry, and then an expression of slight confusion when the awkward linger of their eyes on a single bare finger would turn to pity, which briefly revealed their disapproval. 

Being the oldest of four girls came with some expectations. When Aurora, the second oldest, married, everyone joked that she had beat Faith to the punch. When Gabriela, the next oldest, married, comments shifted from jest to light concern. Now that Ava was getting married… Faith didn’t even want to know what people would say. 

If Faith was honest with herself, this type of sibling one-upmanship was a part of her family and had been for years. It really all started after high school when she decided to take some time before going to school. Originally, Faith had only planned on taking a year to work and save money until she knew what she wanted to do. 

What was supposed to be one year morphed into three. 

In that time, Aurora had already started classes at a state school. Then she got married, had kids, bought a house. She dethroned Faith as the family’s pioneer child. 

Once Faith finally did start college, she became spiteful of her sister’s success. The family wasn’t sure why Faith had grown so distant, but the exciting success of their other daughter seemed to distract and redirect their concern. 

Faith glanced at her mother whose eyes lovingly watched the pairs as they strode down the aisle. Faith really hadn’t seen her mother for months, and when she did, it was for brief holiday pleasantries; not much more. 

Faith sighed. 

Perhaps she was being a little too self-focused. This was, after all, her sister’s wedding: the day Ava was relinquishing her family’s name to another person. This wasn’t about Faith or her job or her feelings. Those needed to take a back seat for now. 

Of course, that didn’t change the family tension, her age, or her relationship status, and every wedding she attended, every niece or nephew’s first birthday, every house-warming gift–they all reminded Faith that she was behind. No matter how much money or success she garnered with her corporate position, it wasn’t going to change that. 

That was the real reason Faith didn’t want to be here. In the corporate world, childlessness was an asset, her focus on success and achievement approved. This ceremony—this familial world–was not part of her world. 

Her rigid, business-like gaze shifted toward the groom’s family, and Faith noticed Roger, the father of the groom, who tapped his brow with a handkerchief. 

To Faith, Roger was a reminder of something she would likely not attain. The family, the kids, the low-stress routine of parenthood. She grieved her high-stress life at the sight of him. Here was a man who had found satisfaction in the simple things. Satisfaction. Good for him 


Why was it so hot in this damn sanctuary?! 

Roger loosened the top button of his dress shirt, which allowed his chest to gasp for air from underneath his ruby-colored suit. He looked around and perceived that he was the only person suffering from such heat. Perhaps it wasn’t the heat that was making him sweat. 

Patrick had gotten his master’s in business. He was on his way to a probable world of success. Pat had such incredible charisma, such intelligence. He could climb the ladder, build finance, establish security before he started a family. It just made fiscal sense. 

Not only that, but Pat had always prematurely bragged to family and friends that he was going to be the most successful out of his entire grade, and though it was perhaps brash—maybe arrogant–there was something about it that Roger always latched onto.  

Roger had always supported Pat’s participation in the Students for Businesses of the Future when he was in high school, every summer workshop, every potential summer job, every Ted Talk, whatever it was. 

And now, it seemed as though all his hard work was for nothing. Patrick was moments away from selling all of it. And for what? A girl and a premature family? 

Patrick had talked to Roger in an attempt to convince his father that he wasn’t giving up any part of his dream by marrying Ava, but Roger was too wise to be swayed by Pat’s young hope. Roger knew how it really worked. Roger himself was proof. 

The doctoral degree in Roger’s home office had, since his graduation, acted as a taunt to his foolish decision to marry his wife Deborah so young. Roger had once been the inspired young man who wanted to take the business world by the horns and gut his way through the ranks to success.  

Of course, after he got married and had kids, there was no time for financial experimentation. With mouths to feed and security needed, all investment opportunities transformed into savings accounts and a mortgage and minivan payments and atrocious grocery bills. 

Rather than gaining respect in the world of finance, he wound up facing the idiotic questioning of foolish frat-boys at a state college teaching introductory business classes. He was nothing but a man who transacted completed paper and worksheets for passing grades. 

Roger sighed. 

He realized his mind was being slightly dramatic in the moment. Was the wedding making him particularly upset about his son’s choices? Yes. Did he love his family regardless of the opportunities he lost along the way? Of course. That’s just how life works. Or at least he had attempted to convince himself it did. 

Roger looked behind him towards his son, Jason, who smiled awkwardly at his father’s glance and to whom Roger awkwardly nodded his head. 

Roger was hopeful for his younger son. Jason was bright and a clever thinker. His talent, if nurtured well, would certainly lead him to success. The only question was whether Jason would follow the path of success or follow the path of his brother. Success meant satisfaction, right? Who wouldn’t want that? 

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