"How you doing?" said Ian, as he sat down beside Mandy on the bench. It was hot out in the sun. The gum tree overhead gave a small patch of shade, but it didn't cover the bench.
Mandy didn't look at him. She kept her eyes on the kookaburra sitting in the other gum tree, across the lawn. It was watching her too. "Fine," she said.
Ian looked for a smile, or anything, in her face. No smile, but she seemed to have a tic in her left cheek. "I'm really sorry," he said, "how things turned out."
Ian flinched. He nodded. "Yes, I am."
She said nothing now, though she seemed to be crying.
"I didn't mean to hurt you. I only ever wanted what was best for you." The lines were rehearsed, but he found it hard to go on. The words wouldn't come. It was too hot. His legs were sweating in his suit pants and beginning to itch.
Mandy still said nothing. She was definitely crying. Great. The silent treatment.
Ian tried one last time. "I probably should have told you sooner, how I felt."
Now she turned to look at him. Her eyes were red and the tears had eroded little streaks down through her makeup. "Probably?" She had that inquisition tone again; using his words back at him as questions. It felt so hateful.
"Okay," said Ian. "Definitely. I definitely should have told you. I just never thought about it properly before today in those words, you know? And then he said, 'until death do you part'. I just freaked out. I realised I'm not ready for that. It wouldn't have been fair to you to say, 'I do.'" He paused, and then added, "I'll help cover the costs, of course, for the catering, and the wedding dress."
"Just go away." She turned to looked at the kookaburra again.
A breeze came through the church yard and blew her veil up into Ian's face. He stood up, stretching his legs and jiggling his pants where they itched. "Fair enough," he said. He left the church grounds by jumping the back fence. It didn't seem like a good time to mingle with the family.