The guests had come. The flowers were in place. The chapel looked imposing yet cozy.
My daughter, in her chosen dress, carefully coiffed, looked pretty. She took my arm, we walked without missing a step. I passed her arm to the groom and the ceremony continued. The pastor gave a short, sensible homily.
Then we moved to the celebratory dinner. I said a toast; the witticisms went down well. The food was good. People seemed pleased. Even the weather was congenial.
It was a perfect wedding.
Then I realized that – though I had long known of my daughter’s budding romance, though I had met her boyfriend several times and liked him, though I had known about the impending wedding and the new town she would be living in far from my home – I hadn’t quite gotten ready for the truth that she was never again coming back to stay with me.
The little girl was gone.