Wedding Wishes by Joachim Frank
Looking outside the window of the grand resort hotel in Westchester County, he found the trees in heavy commotion; he checked the weather on the internet, and there he found a super-taifun about to approach Hong Kong. Bringing a jacket with him, he decided, was advisable, with weather turning global and all that. But how could he waste the afternoon with writing if the real life was passing by? The way out of the Putnam building was easier said than done; the shortest route he had discovered so far still entailed running down three staircases of another building called Fairfield, passing through a large Atrium, and walking up yet another staircase. Stepping out, he found the air hot and humid; the jacket was a burden but the idea of bringing it back into his room was forbidding. There were chestnuts on the ground, though, freshly escaped from their prickly green shells that had burst upon impact. He bent down and picked up two, just to feel their coolness again in his hand as he’d felt it in his childhood. As he rose he saw newlyweds, a bride and groom in traditional outfits, approaching from the distance in slow, measured steps. Surely when he would pass them he would wish them luck, but then the idea took shape in his mind that he would give them the two chestnuts, the larger one to the groom, the smaller one to the bride, as a token of good-wishes. He would tell them that where he came from the offer of chestnuts was an obligatory part of every wedding. There was no truth to it, only the plausibility derived from a comparison with many more improbable-sounding facts. Touched by the act of a stranger, they would hold on to the chestnuts like a treasure; they would keep them in a box even when the chestnuts became ugly and shriveled. They would open the box after years when they’d feel in a romantic mood and take the chestnuts out, reminiscing. With this idea he took one in his right hand, the other in his left, in preparation of the little ceremony and his little speech, but then he became aware of a photographer in the distance following the couple, an explanation for the extraordinary slowness with which they’d been moving. Instead of providing a delightful distraction, the execution of his idea—the dedication of the luck-bringing tokens—would instead mar the pictures of their one big day. Resigned, he pocketed the chestnuts and stepped off the path, clearing the frame. They would have to do without his wishes. For the rest of their lives.
© Joachim Frank
Joachim Frank, who lives in New York, took writing classes with William Kennedy, Steven Millhauser, Eugene Garber, and Jayne Ann Philipps. He has published short stories, flash fiction, and poems in a variety of places, including Lost and Found Times, elimae, 3711 Atlantic, Cezanne’s Carrot, Brilliant, Eclectica, Offcourse, The Noneuclidean Cafe, Ghoti Magazine, Duck and Herring Co. Pocket Field Guide, Hamilton Stone Review, Raving Dove, Bartleby Snopes, Red Ochre Lit, StepAway Magazine, Litbomb, Works in Progress, Black&White, Fiction Fix, theNewerYork and Short, Fast and Deadly. He also wrote three novels, still unpublished. His website is franxfiction.com.
Join our community
Support the mission
Get the book
Writing That Risks: New Work from Beyond the Mainstream
The anthology that started it all. Available in trade paperback and ebook from most online retailers, including: