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Tag Archives: wedding dress

the invitation…

wedding dress brunchLooking for the Sunday paper, which might be clutched in the fronds of a low shrub, I find instead this scrap of an invitation delivered 24 years too late, almost to the day. Wilted and damp, it has blown from someone’s recycling bin to tell me a story.

The quote ladies end quote arrive at the church in their wedding gowns, which are, perhaps, a bit snug now. Grass stains on the train, petticoats torn, buttons missing at the wrist, the shoes long gone or impossibly tight. A few seed pearls from the embroidered bodice left at home, rolling in the bottom of the trunk like lost hopes.

The “ladies” step from their cars, carefully, slightly embarrassed but also excited to be part of this merry confusion of brides. They glance at each other through their veils, shyly at first — “Is that you, Barbara?” — then gather their skirts and hurry to the social hall, which smells of bacon and old bibles. They admire one another, touching bits of lace with gloved fingers, turning to display a now-plump shoulder, a row of 23 (“That’s how young I was!”) tiny satin buttons from nape to waist. From draw-string bags at their wrists, they pull small wedding portraits and gasp at themselves almost impossibly young, at the perfection of their dresses and their innocence.

The room swagged with ribbon and styrofoam wedding bells, the round tables decorated with white mums and daisies and a profusion of silver cherubs, the brides seat themselves, a foaming tide of skirts filling the space beneath each table. There’s some throat-clearing and then, as if to offer a toast, the pastor, that token husband to them all, rises to lead them in prayer. Gloved hands folded beneath bowed heads, they pray, almost forgetting, for a moment, who they are. Their voices whisper, together, “Amen.”

Then, with a rustling like feathers, they raise their veils, shuck their gloves, and tuck into the scrambled eggs, hash browns, syrupy pancakes, toast and bacon mounded on the plates before them. Mouths full, they chirp and chatter, wondering to themselves whether their fragile seams and buttons will hold for just one more memorable day, and why they’re here, and who will be the first to cry.