By Invitation Only

women s brown and green floral dress
Photo by Dmitry Zvolskiy on

The invitation was lying on the entry table unopened. Monica looked at it laying there. Another wedding and I’m still single. There had been no dates in the last six months and every man she was interested in was either married or dating. The rest were too old or not attractive. Like other social media websites, dating websites were a place where men and women could create a false impression of themselves. It is only when you meet the person that you discover that they misled you and you cannot wait for the date to end.

She picked up the invitation and looked at its glossy seal. It was from her best friend, Monique, who after six months of dating was embarking on her future of getting married. Monica carefully opened the invitation so as not to rip it apart.  Pulling out the invitation she read:

Daniel and Monique
Together with their parents
Request the honor of your presence
As we join together to become husband and wife
On the third day of June, Two Thousand Seventeen
At four o’clock PM at St. Matthews Catholic Church
1321 Hargrove Way Wichita, KS
Reception following at
The Loft
29 North Main Street Wichita, KS
Daniel and Monique are registered at Macy’s

Macy’s was expensive, but she would look at the registry and buy the same item for less money online or at another store. That might be my only option, she thought. Being a maid at a hotel is not what she thought she would be when she grew up.  At first she thought it would only be temporary until she got on her feet and could make a new start in her life, but finding jobs in the small town of Hickory was difficult.  If only she could afford to move to a bigger city then she might have a better paying job.

Monica’s move to Hickory was sudden.  She had been married and found out her husband was having an affair.  When he finally admitted it and said he wanted a divorce, she acquiesced.  After all, what was the point if he didn’t want to be married to her.  It was devastating to her and she could not imagine getting into another relationship after her experience with Jeff.  It was odd, because he was attentive as he always had been and their sexual activity did not diminish.  Yet, he wanted out and she moved away.  She couldn’t handle the possibility of running into him at the store. It would have been awkward to her and maybe him.  There too was the possibility of seeing her husband and his lover together and that she knew she could not handle.

So she left Chesterton and headed to a nice small town Hickory, Iowa.  She had no plans to settle here, but it seemed lite a beautiful place as she was passing through.  Monique still lived in Chesterton, so she would need to go back there to attend the wedding.  Unfortunately, there was the possibility of running into Jeff as he knew Daniel through work.  What a conundrum she was in now.  She either accepted the invitation and take the risk or decline and miss out on her dear friend’s wedding.

She place the invitation back on the table and headed to her bedroom to change.  Time to get out of her work clothes and make some dinner. While changing she saw her wedding dress that had been preserved in its box. She had hoped for children and to pass on her dress to her daughter, but Jeff would have none of it. His career was important and he was always coming home late. Now she knew why. Jerk! How could he do this to me. I loved him so much and still it was not enough.

She looked at herself in the mirror as she finished dressing. Still a slender figure and her shoulder-length hair framed her face creating a fresh look that she loved.  She cut her hair as soon as she was settled in Hickory Falls. It was time for a fresh start and a new look. It really helped her leave her past behind her, except in moments like this where suddenly reminders brought the pain and anger back.

She headed to the kitchen to scrounge up some food. No need to prepare a meal for two anymore. Her dinners consisted of simple sandwiches, salads, or a bowl of soup.  It was all homemade, but much easier to plan and she no longer needed to make big meals for Jeff. He certainly had an appetite. I will not think about him now. Time to relax and take my mind off of him.

She made herself a sandwich and some soup. She grabbed a book and sat down at the table to read while she ate. The book was a refreshing read after so many of the romance books she had borrowed from her library in Chesterton. She changed to mystery novels to avoid the happily ever after endings. Life was not like that. It was difficult and painful.

And there it was again, her mind heading back to the pain of her marriage. The invitation was not far from her. She grabbed it and looked at the date. Maybe I have something on my schedule or I have to work. Monica got up and pulled her cell phone out of her purse. Please, let something be on my calendar, something important.

After bringing up her calendar, she saw there was nothing on her schedule for that date.  Of course, there were not many events on her calendar since she moved here. Her life was pretty simple and she liked it that way.

She decided for Monique’s sake to attend her wedding. As painful as it would be, she loved her friend and could not justify a good reason to not attend. With a stroke of her pen she marked the box she would attend, her name, and her choice of food. After placing the RSVP card in the envelope, she sealed it before she could change her mind.


©Kimberly Balles 2017


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