The middle-aged couple arrived in Savannah for a wedding. The high-rise hotel had one of those glass elevators on the outside. After checking-in, they wandered to the historic district by the Savannah River with the cobblestone streets where you could still walk around with a beer. The husband was annoyed they’d been stuck in a room next to a baby he heard crying loudly; the wife said she packed his earplugs.
They sat at a bar with a terrace overlooking the water; a giant tanker eased downriver. In the wake it left behind, a pod of dolphins swam and leapt. As the evening settled and the warmth in their bellies burnt soft like the red fuzz left on the roofs of the buildings from the falling sun, they returned to the hotel to shower and change for the rehearsal dinner.
As they rode the elevator up, the wife pointed out their room. On the balcony beside theirs, a tall man in a white suit smoked. He turned as a woman in a bright red dress stumbled through the balcony door and tossed what she held in her arms over the balcony rail. As the elevator rose and the object fell closer, both realized it was a baby. They kept their gazes trained straight, unable to watch it fall. The screams from the woman on the balcony grew louder as they neared their floor.
In the lobby, firefighters and police and EMS rushed about. Red and blue lights swirled in through the front doors and windows. The husband drank two mini bottles of tequila from the wet bar; the wife no longer felt like drinking.
At the rehearsal dinner, a prevailing silence dulled the proceedings. The squeaks of silverware, the clinks of glasses, amplified. Toasts uttered in soft tones. It was not enough to cancel the wedding; it was more than enough to dampen the mood.
There’d been some surprise when they RSVP’d; the man in the white suit, a childhood friend of the bride. Their plates rested on a table in the back before their empty seats; the napkins still folded on the plates. Full water glasses sweating onto the tablecloth and wetting the light blue fabric.
Why won’t somebody remove those table placings? the husband said. I hope they don’t, the wife replied.
Wilson Koewing is a writer from South Carolina. His work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Gargoyle, New World Writing, Pembroke Magazine, The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts and Fiction on the Web.
picture credit -Sanchom