Guiding Her Steps

Even at that distance, I can see through her veil and tell that she is smiling. I see the tears of overwhelming joy, glittering in those blue eyes wide with excitement. She is a goddess, dressed in the snow, with the sun in her hair. The arctic tundra encompassed in a glance.

She waits at the bow, prepared to step out of the boat and walk the aisle to land.

"One step at a time," I tell her before the ceremony. "One foot before the other. Just follow the music. I'll get you to the altar."

She crushes her face into my chest, crying. "I'm so scared."

I take her by the soft flesh of her bare arms and gently pull her erect, to look into her face, so pale and powdered – like a china doll's. "I'll get you to the altar," I repeat firmly. "Then it's just a matter of saying what's already been said."

She nods jerkily. The veil dances before her face, the gauze suspended between the court and the Holy of Holies.

I am her lighthouse. I will guide her across the waves to the man waiting for her at the altar. This is as much his day as hers.

I tear my eyes away and touch the keys. The chill radiating from the ivory seems to reach into my heart. The first note is groundbreaking. It hovers above the still audience, a tense clash of F# and G, shivering, lingering, begging for resolution. I flow it into an arpeggio, A major, scaling the length of the piano, drawing out the icy high notes. Breathless, I trill C# and D, then – lightly – the diminished 4th.

The congregation is frozen, captivated. This soundtrack of the girl, waiting at the end of the aisle, involves them. It is an ethereal union of the synapses between people, a blending of the stuff that makes each person unique, a stripping away of the peripheral. It makes us a collective, all part of the same mind. It is harmony in humility. Together, we sing for her.

I call the composition Grace because it is pure, refreshing. A scouring gust of wind on a December day. Like a clean slate, a new covenant. There is no blemish in the snow.

I break fully into the song, pouring overwhelming emotions – too many to truly label – into the composition, into the new life I am helping to create. The water she must walk upon, I have frozen into a bridge for her to cross.

Aidanna takes her first step down the aisle.

Heads turn slowly with her passage, faces alight with wonder and veritable awe. I am smiling. I am crying. Who could have known that this would be so hard for me, and yet so joyous? This day has nothing to do with me, and everything.

The bride–to–be is my shooting star, my best friend.

My little sister.

I play, and she follows.