For my dearest Z.
This story begins right smack in the middle of May 2016.
It was a beautiful day for a wedding. Warm sunshine, cool autumn breeze.
I entered the golf course reception lobby in a hurry, my poofy champagne-coloured bridesmaid dress swishing and my beige heels clacking on the floor. We had hit traffic en route from the church, and we had no idea where the bride and groom, who’d arrived ahead of us, were.
The sounds of someone playing piano made me aware of the presence of one of the two guys sitting in front of it. I shouldn’t have thought twice; of course he’d be sitting at the piano. Hadn’t I always admired how his fingers made every piece of music sound so beautiful?
And didn’t he look so handsome in that blue suit of his as he played the piano for the wedding service? I had wanted to say hi to him at the church earlier–we were friends, after all, and we’d been messaging each other verses and “praying for you”s once a week for months (and more recently on my trip to the Philippines, messaging a lot)–but seeing him in that suit sent waves of pain through my heart, waves of pain that reminded me that he could never be mine.
It was, after all, an ongoing thing in my life that I just never got the guy I liked.
And so I tried my best not to look at him that day, or even acknowledge his presence. At that point, however, as we rushed into the lobby, we really needed to find the bride and groom.
I approached the guys at the piano, then, and being the most vocal, I avoided eye contact and asked the guy next to him, “Have you guys seen A and M?”
“No,” they both shook their heads, and I mumbled my thanks and rushed off to the powder room as an excuse to get as far away from him as fast as I could.
I heaved a sigh of relief once I was out of his sights. As I looked in the mirror, a thought came to me. Alright, I told myself. Put on some lipstick and smile. Let him see what he’s missing. I dusted my face with some translucent powder and walked out the door, not even bothering to look back at the guy behind the piano.
“M! I’ve been looking for you!” my beautiful girl friend Rhianna walked into the powder room later on as I was taking another break mid-reception, her eyes ablaze. “I need to tell you something!”
It was hilarious how I knew what she had wanted to talk about.
“What is it?” I still asked, my heart painfully beating in both anticipation and dread over what she was about to say.
“Please don’t get upset,” she asked, reaching for my hands, concerned that I would ruin my makeup.
“Rhi, please, just tell me now. I’ve prayed about this and I’ve told God that the moment I find out that he is praying about or in a relationship with another girl, I won’t be okay. But I’ve already asked God to catch me and not let me go when that happens.”
I could already feel my heart breaking and my eyes were starting to tear up.
“M,” she looked me in the eye with intensity, gripping my arms tight, “he’s been praying about you!”
My face went white, and I felt that for the first time in my life, I could probably faint.
“How…?” I must have muttered, because Rhi explained, “Well, he was praying about you a couple of years ago as far as Jed (Rhi’s brother) knows, but we’re not sure if he still is, because apparently he had stopped.”
“I found out just the other day from Jed,” she continued, as we sat in the lobby to help me calm my nerves and to talk about the details of how she found out. “I couldn’t figure out when to tell you.”
“Isn’t it a blessing to find out that he prayed for you?” Jed, who had seen us huddling together in the corner, had joined us.
“Yes…but no,” I said thoughtfully. “That will give me more heart ache, knowing that we both prayed for each other, but that maybe it just wasn’t God’s will for us to get together.”
“Yeah, true,” they sympathised.
“I shouldn’t assume anything,” I concluded, fifteen minutes later. “That was two years ago. He might have stopped praying a long time ago.”
We agreed to go back into the reception hall as if nothing had happened, my heart both lighter and heavier at the same time. After all, I had just found out that the guy I had been praying specifically to have for almost a year, had been praying about me, too.
Had been praying. Past tense. And now I had to hide all these things in my heart and stay still.