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Monday, 22 December 2008

The Bride of 5th Avenue

By Linda Davis of Grammology

It may be the only place on earth where we could be happy in the throng of a crowd forcing us to walk ever so slowly: Fifth Avenue, New York City in December. A blur of sights and sounds entranced us.

Giant sparkly snowflakes suspended over traffic looked like a big storybook come to life. Bows the size of a house wrapped pristine marble buildings. A singing skyscraper calibrated lights and sounds to move with the Christmas carols. Shiny white carriages laced with garland were pulled by horses that jingled bells as they sauntered. And windows, windows, windows!

White-faced mannequins peered out of feathered, bejeweled facades in every color imaginable. Families, couples, groups huddled under hats to peek into magical, moving glass-covered worlds.

Distracted as I was, I couldn’t miss the man next to me. Walking backwards, he carried a camera lens as big as a man’s arm. Peering through the lens he shot at something behind me.

Someone famous perhaps?

Turning to my right, I saw her. Dressed in a flowing white gown, draped in a white fur, she carried red, red roses in one arm. Her Dad’s arm was wrapped firmly in the other, steadying her as she walked. Down Fifth Avenue! The crowd parted as she walked on.

A bride, her skin fair, her eyes gleaming, she was impossibly beautiful; it as if we were all seeing a fairy tale princess.

She strode alongside me and it was then that I saw the man in the doorway, so dark, he blended with the shadows. He was shivering in a too-small coat, standing among his life’s possessions.

He saw the bride and emerged from the darkness, moving toward her. He was close to her now, as if he had joined the wedding party. I saw him draw next to her, saw her father stiffen. It was only then that I saw his face.

The peaceful smile, his eyes tear-filled. His shoulders raised, suddenly forgetting the cold. His head dropped slightly as if in reverence - as if he was seeing a vision a human shouldn’t gaze upon too closely.

And then, while clasping his hands as if in prayer, in a soft voice I’ll never forget, he said: “Good luck to you, Miss.”

As quickly as he had approached, he exited into the shadow of the doorway once again, disappearing. She moved on never losing pace, as if she hadn’t seen him. Her stride never disrupted.

I’ve replayed this scene over and over in my mind. How, in the midst of the cacophony of light and glamour, this small second of magic appeared. At that very moment. Like a gift from heaven. That leaves you somehow changed.

Except each time I’ve replayed the scene in my mind, the outcome is very different.

I see the kindness in his eyes once again. He says those words again.This time, I imagine the bride stopping.

She loosens her grip on her father’s arm, a leap of faith. She hands him her roses to hold. And taking the stranger’s hand in her gloved hands, she looks him in the eyes.

She says, “Thank you, and I wish you the very same.”

Leaving them both forever changed.

[EDITORIAL NOTE: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. Instructions are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 02:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


Linda, you have told your tale so enchantingly. Like you, I prefer your ending. Yet, we are all so very selfish and near-sighted when in love, and certainly, on such a wedding day as the one you described. I see the man with the kind eyes being a modern urban fairy, so you can count yourself lucky to have seen him.

A beautifully told story. I would like to think that the bride was just taken by surprise so quickly that she couldn't react, and that to this day she wishes she could go back and make the gracious gesture that you imagined.

Oh, so beautiful - and it made me tear up for the poor man. I wish the story had your ending!


I loved this story! Very nice, indeed. I was there, on the street too. Thank you for sharing this with us.


Well told!
Moments of enchantment are gifts wrapped in wonderlight.

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