Prompt: He knew it was only a matter of hours


Jasper Hendrick couldn’t sleep. Two o’clock, two-thirty, a quarter to three. He watched the numbers parade across the face of the digital alarm clock beside his bed. Four-twenty, five-twelve. The alarm was set for six a.m. and somehow Jasper knew he wouldn’t even get back to sleep before the damn thing went off.

There were reasons for his inability to find restful repose. He’d brought it all on himself and he knew it was only a matter of hours until everything came together and life as he knew it would come to an end. This was the last time he’d lie in his familiar bed, the final peaceful lingering in the familiar room. Only, where was the peace?

Finally, a few minutes before six o’clock and the doleful tolling of the alarm, he gave up and tossed back the covers. A nice warm—no, cold—shower might get him started toward the inevitable chaos of the day.

Jasper Hendrick was getting married.

Oh, he was pleased about it—Cassie was his soulmate for sure—but there were unidentifiable terrors included along with the joy of the occasion. Luckily, most of them centered on this single day: Things like, what if I say the wrong words? Will we still be married? What if the rented tuxedo pants split down the back as I walk down the aisle a happily married man? What—oh, God!—if I stand up to make my speech at the reception and say “Phyllis” instead of “Cassie”?

Under normal circumstances, Jasper was not of a frivolous mind. His colleagues at work respected his judgment and his cool demeanor under pressure. Then again, his co-workers had never seen him get married before. By the end of this day, Jasper thought, they may have seen a whole new side of me.

By seven o’clock, showered and shaved and with at least half a pint of hot, strong coffee inside him, Jasper felt ready to face whatever the day might bring. Twelve hours from now it would be a whole new world.