Willow's Wedding Vows - Debbie Viggiano


‘Did you have a good weekend?’ Willow asked her superior, Jean.

The two women were huddled over the staff room kettle on this bleak Monday morning in early September.

‘I’ve had better,’ Jean replied, pulling her cardigan around her ample bosom. ‘Our Julie broke her wrist.’

‘Oh no. How did that happen?’ asked Willow, pouring boiling water over coffee granules.

‘Believe it or not, she did it when trying to open a jar of jam. The lid wouldn’t come off, so she gave it some welly and the wretched thing flew up sending Julie’s wrist smacking into an overhead cupboard. She’s now in plaster.’

‘Oh dear,’ said Willow, sympathising. ‘Nothing worse than being in plaster.’

Except, she thought privately, getting plastered. Which was exactly what she’d done on Saturday night. But it hadn’t been in a jolly let’s-get-tipsy kind of way. Instead it had been in a let’s-blot-out-the-misery way.

It had been her thirtieth birthday and boyfriend Charlie had taken Willow out for a slap-up meal at the local pub. She’d almost stuffed herself to a standstill on the huge plate of tender slow-cooked lamb, green beans and divine buttery mash. Throughout, Charlie had entertained her with anecdotes about work, including some rather bitchy criticisms of staff.

‘It’s about time everyone realised what a plank the MD is. I could do that job with my eyes shut.’

There’d also been a dig about the scatty new receptionist who Charlie had nick-named Ditzy Di on account of how she always cocked things up. Last week’s faux pas had been booking the boardroom for twelve different clients… all at the same time.

‘Gorgeous looking girl, and sweet enough, but nothing between the ears.’

Willow had privately tutted thinking that, much as she loved her clever accountant boyfriend, it wasn’t a nice trait to be so quick to put people down.

Sometimes Charlie put Willow down too. Not nastily, but in such a way as to let her know that being a library assistant wasn’t rocket science, and no matter how irritating or rude some members of the public could be, Willow’s days were surely never as stressful as Charlie’s. But she forgave him this flaw, and one or two other niggles because, after all, nobody was perfect.

Or quite so good looking, eh? the little voice in Willow’s head had piped up.

Willow had quietly sighed in agreement. There was no doubt about it. Charlie was a “babe”. His rugged blond looks and come-to-bed blue eyes played havoc with her heart –– and that of other women too. At times he was an unashamed flirt, but Willow told herself it was excusable given the amount of female attention Charlie received. He was like a particularly glorious golden sunflower that towered over everything –– and everyone, in his case.

But flirting didn’t mean anything, did it? After all, Willow’s good-looking postman had winked at her last week. He’d made her smile and blush, but she hadn’t run after him, scattered his letters in all directions and panted, “Quick, deliver me to Heaven”, had she? And as far as she was aware, Charlie had never taken his flirting any further.

Are you sure about that? the little voice had sneered.

She’d ignored it. The little voice was always taunting her, probably because she had body issues and lacked self-confidence.

Willow was a curvy girl. Friends said she looked just like Amanda Seyfried but with hips and boobs, and a bum that meant she always needed the next size up in jeans which left the waistband gaping. She hated standing next to her bestie, Emma, who had a metabolism faster than Usain Bolt, and almost disappeared whenever she stood sideways. Emma had recently come out of a disastrous long-term relationship and was living back home with her mother. There had been many tears, with Emma sobbing that she felt like a failure.

Emma had been sure her boyfriend was going to pop the question. Instead he’d asked Emma if they could take a break. An indefinite one. It had been Emma’s situation that had prompted Willow to start thinking about her own long-term relationship with Charlie. Wasn’t it about time the two of them got married?

When Willow had opened her birthday cards and found every single one of them sporting the numbers “three” and “zero”, it had set something off in her brain, as if to remind her she’d reached a significant landmark in her life. The sneery little voice in her head hadn’t wasted a second in pointing out that Willow’s biological clock was now ticking. Whilst having a baby before marriage wasn’t an