©2009 Rebecca Emin
Melissa stood still and gazed around the marquee. The decor gave the illusion of being under the night sky instead of under tarpaulin. The deep blue satin contrasted with hundreds of tiny lights in the shape of stars, and if you looked carefully, you could spot the occasional model planet. It was truly a sight to behold. On each table, as a centrepiece, was a tiny intricate model of a bonfire, complete with oil burner at the centre.
Melissa shivered involuntarily as Tom joined her in the marquee. “Isn’t it beautiful?” she exclaimed, more as a statement than a question. “It’s perfect for us, just perfect,” he whispered in her ear. They both surveyed their surroundings, absorbing the backdrop, and enjoying the creation that would both enthral and entertain their guests later that evening. They stood silently, one in their togetherness, enjoying the scene.
The caterers had arrived, and were starting to set out the buffet as Melissa left Tom and wandered out of the marquee to check how the entrance looked. It was a sight itself, with two dwarf waiters either side of it, holding trays of champagne.
Walking back into the marquee, she enjoyed the way the scene before her both surprised and fascinated. That was just the reaction that she hoped their guests would have as they arrived. She looked for Tom but he was no longer in the marquee. Melissa sighed, and decided to place the gifts on the tables. She had bought a silver pen for each guest, which was beautifully encased in foil wrapping. Melissa was pleased that she had decided to go to that expense so that everyone would have a keepsake from the event.
Melissa brushed down her dress and smiled to herself. She was finally ready. As the band started to tune their instruments, she walked towards the entrance and started to greet the first guests as they arrived. The audible sighs and exclamations delighted her. That was just the reaction that she had hoped for.
As the sound of chatter and chinking glasses gradually grew louder, Melissa looked around nervously, wondering where Tom was. She walked towards a group of her friends, gathered in a corner quietly. She noticed their concerned looks as she approached but just as she was about to reassure them, Tom appeared at her side. “I think this is going to be a wonderful evening, Melissa,” he said. “Me too,” Melissa whispered, “I love you, Tom”. She felt herself shiver slightly as she walked over to her friends. Tom did not follow her, so she assumed he had other conversations to hold. Melissa’s best friend Sam gave her a hug. “This all looks amazing,” she said “but are you ok?” Her friends followed her gaze as she smiled and turned to the gold banner at the far side of the marquee ‘Let’s celebrate the life of Tom Dunning 1976-2008’.
Melissa raised her glass for a toast: “It’s finally time to say goodbye.”
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