David Lewis Paget

(22.11.1944 / Nottingham, England/live in Australia)

The Practice Run

The thunder was rumbling overhead
As we walked toward the church,
I whispered, ‘What are you doing, girl,
Are you leaving me in the lurch? ’
She looked so fine in her wedding dress
But her face was set in a frown,
‘You had your chance, ’ she gave me a glance,
‘You’re always letting me down.’

I wasn’t supposed to be there so
Her father gave me a nudge,
‘Sit at the back if you really must! ’
He’d always carried a grudge.
‘I couldn’t sit by to see her tie
Herself to that freak, d’you hear? ’
‘Just make a sound and I’ll knock you down
And throw you out on your ear! ’

I looked at the six foot three of him
And knew he meant what he said,
But I couldn’t part from Josephine
In truth, I’d rather be dead,
The thunder rumbled and lightning cracked
Exploded the Wishing Tree,
Dropped it across the Vestry path
As if it was meant for me.

The tree had blocked us off from the Church
As the rain came pelting down,
Josephine raised the front of her skirt
And screamed, ‘We’re going to drown! ’
We turned and ran way back to the car
But they locked me out in the rain,
And Josephine turned her eyes away
For my face was racked with pain.

My clothes were sodden, my hair was drenched
As I wondered what to do,
‘What can I say to change your mind,
To prove my love for you? ’
She wound the window a tiny way,
Said, ‘This is a practice run,
The wedding’s not until Saturday,
And by God, you’d better come! ’

She’d planned it all and had set me up,
Her father sat and grinned,
‘I’ll be along with a shotgun, so
You’d better be there, my friend! ’
I danced out there in my soaking suit
As the rain streamed down my face,
The ‘freak’ was simply a cousin of hers
I’d thought was taking my place.

She told me we were having a son
Just after I said, ‘I do! ’
I said, ‘Well aren’t you the sneaky one,
Why didn’t you tell me? True! ’
She waited ‘til the reception, then
She really took me to task,
I asked her, ‘What of the practice run? ’
‘I thought that you’d never ask! ’

23 January 2014

Submitted: Wednesday, January 22, 2014

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