The leaves were beginning to turn brown overhead as the car past beneath them. It occurred to him how seamlessly the seasons rolled into each other and that soon it would be autumn. It hardly felt as though the summer had been there at all.
The church was nestled at the end of a side road and Tim, who had never been there before; let the Satnav efficiently lead the way in the background. He’d turned the radio off ages ago because the songs just didn’t seem to fit his mood. For some reason, surrounding himself in silence made him feel calmer, even stronger.
It only seemed like yesterday that he and Adam were leaving school. At Ruth Beasant’s party where Adam had been throwing up while Tim had been chucking empty cans of lager at his head as it hung over the toilet. Then there was the holiday they went on together in Crete. The first time that either of them had been abroad on their own. Tim smiled as he remembered the girl that he’d met and Adam, by default, ended up with Rebecca, the better-looking sister, which he’d never let him forget.
The road was so quiet and, although there were a crowd of people following each other towards the church, only whisperings could be heard. Tim found a space to leave his car and he gently brought it to a halt. He needed one more moment to collect his thoughts before he would get out and say hello to all the people that he knew. Couples walking by holding hands, the men in ill fitting suits and the girls wearing dresses that were too short for the occasion. None of them really being sure of the correct etiquette they should follow.
Tim concentrated on watching the wind blowing a crisp packet into the gutter and as he did so his thoughts drifted to the conversation that they once had at a bus stop after a night out. Adam was eating his kebab, hopelessly trying not to spill it down his shirt, and Tim was talking about the future. How they would be each other’s best man when the time came and how the pact had seemed so permanent, like the leaves that were now falling from the branches.
Throughout Tim’s bad times Adam had always been there for him. They had shared the late night discussions that always ended up with the pair of them dreaming about what they could achieve together in the future. But as the lights automatically switched off on the dashboard, snapping Tim from his reverie, he realised that those dreams would never happen. Their time together had been cut short and Tim’s own dreams would have to be altered.
It was with the weight of this, that he took a deep breath and climbed out of the car. Hanging near the back of the crowds, knowing that he could deal with this better if he was left on his own.
He shuffled sombrely into the church, acknowledging only a couple of the congregation’s sympathetic glances, and sidled softly into the back row. As soon as he sat down, the Vicar stood up at the front and made a last minute adjustment to his microphone. Tim fixed his eyes on the back of the seat in front of him, steeling himself one more time.
“Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen,” began the Vicar, “and welcome to St. Christopher’s. Today marks a happy occasion in Adam and Rebecca’s life, where they will be joined in holy matrimony.”