I barely hear the reverend say the rest of his speech.
I just say “I do” and then Kessler is kissing me and everyone is clapping and cheering and I am lost in his orbit, two stars and spirits circling around and around into infinity.
We’re brighter than the sun.
We walk, hand in hand, cheering down the aisle as the ukulele gets louder, playing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow,” and we’re heading to the waves to dip our toes in the purifying salt water and—
Suddenly, Kessler stops walking.
His eyes are sharply focused in the distance.
“What?” I ask, wondering what’s going on. We’re barefoot, maybe he stepped on a stick.
“It’s him,” he whispers to me, leaning in close, never taking his eagle eyes away.
“Who?” I ask, looking around. “Do we have a party crasher?”
He nods toward a bush, looking grim. “We do.”
A rooster steps out of the bush.
“It’s that motherfucking chicken.”
The chicken stares at Kessler.
Kessler stares at the chicken.
“Oh no. No. Kess, that’s not the same chicken. It was two years ago, I—”
But Kessler doesn’t hear me.
“This time it’s personal,” he says, before he starts running.
The chicken runs down the beach, squawking and flapping his wings.
My husband follows.