One Hour Before The Wedding…
“Hold still, goddamnit, and let me fix this!” says Barb, my over-zealous but caring step-mother. I’m standing in front of the mirror, looking at the freak show unfolding around me like I’m just a spectator. Barb’s hovering around my dress, pulling needle and thread, stabbing me repeatedly with safety pins, and yelling at me if I dare to move with every prick.
My bridesmaids are shuffling behind me, hovering back and forth to get themselves ready. All I can do is stand here and catch glimpses of them in the mirror.
“Ouch, fuck, Barb, what the—“
“Just shut up and let me do this or you won’t get married today, honey!”
God, I love that woman. To distract me from her attempts at making the dress smaller to fit my not-existing waist (“You ought to eat more and put on some pounds—boys like some curves, honey.”), I move my head ever so slightly from left to right and let the extremely tight curlers in my hair pull every single strand painfully on my scalp.
One of my girls behind me says, “One more hour, Sarah. Getting excited?”
“Shit,” I catch myself saying. One more hour? That’s it? My hair isn’t done. My dress is still way too big—
“No worries, honey,” says Barb as if she could read my mind. “You’ll be ready in time for your big day. Mitchell doesn’t even know what a lucky man he is.”
If we don’t get this get-up figured out soon, he’ll have to make due with a half-ready, hairspray-drenched slop in a too-big dress handed down by her step-mother. But because it sounds better than what I actually think, I instead say, “Thank you, Barb.”
“There,” she says getting up. “Try that.”
I move around in my dress, and it finally does not slide of my waist. But the chest is still loose. Barb’s a good woman, and I love her for giving me her old dress from when she got married to my old man, but damn, I can’t fill out her curves to save my life. And she’s been working on altering the dress for weeks already, and it’s still not small enough.
I say, “It’s better. But—“ Jeez, I don’t know if I want her sticking pins and needles around my breasts. She’s more concerned with the look of the dress than the body underneath. In fact, she’s more concerned with everything about the wedding, than us getting married.
Barb’s about to say something, when the door flies open. Two of my girls aren’t dressed in much but stockings and a bra, and they squeak and screech in surprise and embarrassment. And who comes falling in door-first?
My lovely loser step-bro Nathan. And, like usual, he looks about as cleaned up as a dead pig in its sty. His hair’s messed up and shaggy; a dark, patchy shadow’s growing on his face; he reeks of booze and cheap hooker perfume. But at least he’s wearing his cheap rent-a-tux, even though it looks like he slept in it all night. Or worse–I don’t even want to know.
Looking over to the surprised girls dressed in various stages of their outfits, his eyes meet Mindy’s (she’s that girl in every party, that tends to not wake up in her own bed the next morning), and both exchange a smile and a look that makes me want to throw up.
His mother, not phased by his disturbance at all, and instead still puffing up my dress and breaking her head over how to fill out my bust, says more by-the-by, “What did you do now, Nathan?”
“Nothing, mom. It’s all cool. Got it all under control now.”
“Now? What the hell are you talking about?” Until now, my stomach was a mixture of butterflies on crack and this warm feeling of anxiety. With Nate in here, it suddenly turned into acidic cramps and the wish to breath smoke.
“Hey hey, sis, no worries.” This is about Mitch, I know it. “I just came to tell you that all is good to go. I just have to quickly run and do something.”
Now his mother looks up. Excited in a bad way, she pulls on my dress and says to him, “What are you talking about? You aren’t going anywhere.”
“No. You’re the best man, and the wedding is in less than an hour. Can’t you just be responsible once?”
Usually, I’d leave the room when they get into their mother-son talk, but this time I’m stuck in place. Defusing the situation never works, but what choice to I have?
I say, “What’s going on Nate?”
By now, the girls have gotten back to fixing themselves up. A thick cloud of hairspray fills the room, making Nathan squint and cough.
“You’re getting married today, is what’s going on, honey,” says Barb, focusing once again on my dress.
“Yeah, Sarah. But mom! Mitch and I had to be at a place and now we’re late. I got to go and fix that, and then we go on with the wedding.”
“Nate!” Both Barb and I look at him in anger.
“This is not your day,” Barb says, “so could you just for once think about something else than your problems?”
“You don’t understand!”
“You can take care of it after the wedding, and after the cake and the party. This day is important to your sister.” She means it’s important to herself. She’s been more excited about this wedding than I could possibly ever be. I love Mitch, of course, but after today, I’ll be the same old house-maid as I’ve been since mom died. Just this time I’ll be the wife, not the daughter.
“Just make sure Mitchell is ready. You have thirty minutes, and you better not ruin this day for your sister.”
“Okay mom…” Disappointed, and obviously nervous, Nathan turns and opens the door to leave. He’s a terrible liar, and everything about him tells me that whatever he needs to take care of can’t wait. Frankly, I never saw him so determined and so stressed out about anything. God, let’s hope he didn’t get Mitch into some shit.
“Hey Barb,” I say. “Perhaps we should let Nate take care of—“
“Abso-fudging-lutely not! This is your wedding day, and he is the best man. Nothing is more important right now.”
“Yes mom,” he says again and disappears behind the closing door.
I sigh, but spotting the clock on the wall next to the door makes me forget about it all. It’s almost time, and I’m no way near to be ready for the big moment.
I adjust my dress and it’s still too loose.
To that, Barb says with a evil-genius grin, “I’ve got an idea.” She walks over to the her mobile dresser filled with all sorts of tailoring scraps and pieces, and pulls out a cotton stuffing. “That’ll fill you out, honey.”
Read this weeks behind the scenes and find out what thoughts I had for this scene and the card I drew: # 19 That Was Lucky.
And stay tuned for Friday, when I talk about this scene and what was going through my head while writing it,