Waitress Notices the Bride is Acting Weirdly at Own Wedding, Later Finds a Note in Her Pocket — Story of the Day

2 | Waitress Notices the Bride is Acting…

as Lori tried to approach her, the bride subtly gestured for her not to come closer and then nodded toward the restroom. In the restroom’s dim light, Annesa, the bride, poured out her heart. “They want me to marry a stranger. My dad says it’s time, but I’m just eighteen,” she whispered, her eyes filled with fear. Lori couldn’t hide her shock. “Marry a stranger? At eighteen? How is that okay?” Annesa shared her story: I always felt trapped by my family’s strict rules. My parents had a conservative mindset. But me? I was different. I yearned for freedom and the chance to live on my terms. But one evening ruined everything. My dad dropped a bombshell — his business had failed,and he’d decided I should marry a man back in our homeland. “The wedding’s in five months,” he said. I was stunned. “I can’t marry some guy I don’t know at 18!” I argued. My mom tried to calm me, saying, “I was afraid when I married your dad, but we made it work.” I wasn’t having it. “I’ve got my own dreams, my own life to live!” I shot back. Dad just said, “This man will take care of your schooling.” “And how old is this guy?” I asked. “Twenty-nine,” Dad replied. i was so angry. “I hate you!” I yelled and ran to my room, starting to pack. But then Dad came in, took my passport, and even boarded up the windows. I was trapped. Not long after, we were on a plane to our homeland. Dad’s brother-in-law, Hanif, picked us up. Nobody said a word the whole ride. Right after we got there, Aunt Paola had a lot to say about me being too headstrong, and she was even tougher than my parents. When my dad flew back without me, I felt completely alone. The relatives were all about changing who I am, and Amir, Aunt Paola’s stepson, who I thought might be on my side, kept his distance. One night, I was all set to leave. I had my bag and was about to climb out the window when Amir walked in. “What’s going on?” he asked, looking surprised. Why are you here?” I shot back, feeling cornered. He said he heard a noise and came to check. His being there made me feel even more stuck. “Just go,” I snapped, trying to hide how scared I was. Amir hinted he might tell Aunt Paola, which made things worse. “Don’t do that. I need to get out of here,” I begged him. He started pointing out all the holes in my plan, like not having any money and the police getting involved. I tried to push past him, but then he said something that made me stop. He got why I wanted to leave and said we should come up with a real plan. He even offered to help me get out for good. I couldn’t believe he was offering to help, but I was relieved. For months, Aunt Paola tried to turn me into the perfect wife she wanted me to become, but I wouldn’t bend. My father had sent me to her with the sole aim of transforming me into one of those women who obey their husband’s commands blindly. Amir became my only comfort. He was kind, shared my dreams, and even planned to use his savings to help me run away. And I, unexpectedly, fell for him. One clear night, Amir’s voice shook as he said, “I’ve got the money. You can escape tonight.” I saw the mix of happiness and sadness in his eyes. “I almost didn’t tell you because I’m sad about you leaving,” he confessed. “I’ll miss your jokes,” I said. Then, we got closer and closer, and… we kissed. “Will you come with me?” I asked, hoping he’d say yes. And he did. We shared another kiss, but then a neighbor’s angry shout threatened to ruin everything. She caught us together at our special spot and decided to tell Aunt Paola everything. We knew we had to leave, and fast. Let’s get the money from my room and leave tonight,” Amir said, full of resolve. We snuck into his room by the window, the moon lighting our way. Holding hands, we were ready to face whatever came next together. Amir and I were about to escape when Aunt Paola walked in on us. Her face showed shock and disappointment. She called my father, who arrived full of rage. Amir and I were separated and isolated. The only time we met was when we faced a tense confrontation at the dining table. “Your stepson seduced my daughter!” my father accused Aunt Paola. “Knowing Annesa, she seduced him!” Aunt Paola retorted. Breaking his silence, Amir declared, “I love Annesa, and I’d like to ask for her hand.” Laughing, my father dismissed the idea. “She’s getting married to the man I chose for her in two days! “Two days?!” I was shocked. If you come near Annesa, I’ll kill you,” my father threatened Amir, ignoring my shock. I love Amir and want to be with him!” I declared. When he didn’t listen to me, I ran to my room, shouting, “You’re not my father! I hate you!” The next day, Dad took me to see the guy I was supposed to marry. This man treated me like I was just an object, saying my life would be stuck inside the house with no hopes or freedom. He gave me a burqa and told me that’s all I was allowed to wear from now on. I tried to stand up to him, but he hit me. The slap took me by surprise, but what hurt more was feeling betrayed. I looked at Dad, hoping he’d stand up for me. But Dad just stood there, silent, watching. That’s when it hit me — he was really going to leave me with this guy like it was nothing. Lori listened intently to Annesa, whose story reflected the grim reality many women face. Wanting to help, Lori asked, “What’s the plan?” Annesa talked about escaping to meet Amir but was stuck without resources or freedom. Lori stepped up, offering her car and some cash, which gave Annesa a spark of hope. “But there’s more,” Annesa said, sharing that she could get her passport and some money from a safe if they were sneaky enough. “That could really set me free.” Lori nodded. She managed to get the passport and money from the safe, even finding a disguise for Annesa. When Annesa’s dad suddenly showed up to stop her, Lori didn’t hesitate to act, swinging a chair at the man, which rendered him unconscious. Then, they quickly drove to where Amir was waiting. Seeing Annesa’s and Amir’s worried faces, Lori handed over her car keys, telling them to make a run for the border and not look back. “We’ll find a way to thank you,” Annesa said gratefully. Amir accepted the keys, thankful for the chance at a new beginning. Lori watched them drive away, knowing she’d given them a shot at freedom. After helping Annesa and Amir escape, Lori felt a mix of pride and fear. The thought of staying in a place that enforced such archaic practices on women unnerved her, pushing her to return to America, a decision that brought both relief and a lingering worry for the friends she left behind. Back in America, Lori resumed her normal life, but the memories of her time abroad, Annesa’s plight, and their daring escape lingered in her mind. One evening, as Lori returned from work, her eyes caught the unexpected sight of an expensive car parked in front of her house. A mix of curiosity and worry filled her as she walked up to it, wondering who it belonged to. Tucked under the windshield wiper, she found a note. Her hands trembled slightly as she unfolded the paper, revealing Annesa’s familiar handwriting. The note was filled with words of deep gratitude, thanking Lori for the risks she took, for the hope she provided, and for the new life she helped them start. Reading Annesa’s words, Lori felt a surge of emotion, a mix of happiness and relief, knowing that Annesa and Amir were safe and happy.

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