Your lovely comments on my Friday Flash, The Message, two weeks ago, encouraged me to continue with the story and I’m happy to say I now have the next scene: this week’s Friday Flash, The Perfect Wedding Gown. I’m not too fond of the title of this one though so please do toss out your suggestions.
The Perfect Wedding Gown, by Deanna Schrayer
“What do you think Mom?”
Elana and the salesgirl were looking at me expectantly but I hadn’t heard a word they’d said. Instead of the two wedding gowns the salesgirl held I saw those letters, the misty words my dead sister had scrawled on the bathroom mirror: EL DIe. I glanced at the girl and furrowed my brow at Elana, making her believe I was possibly developing a migraine, (I certainly couldn’t relay the truth of my wandering thoughts). “I’m sorry,” I said, raising my hand to rub my forehead, “I’m not seeing them clearly enough.”
My daughter looked to the salesgirl. “Can we dim the lights a bit please?” The tiny girl scampered about, obliging us in an instant. She hung the dresses on the rack next to the mirror and disappeared behind the upholstered screen. In a moment the harsh industrial lights were replaced with the same soft pink glow the lobby of the bridal shop reflected.
“Are you all right Mom?” Elana said, placing her hand on my forearm, “Do you need to sit down?”
She looked scared and I realized I must look like death. “I’m fine honey, just a little bit of a headache, that’s all.” I smiled at her, willing her to forget about me altogether and get on with enjoying this once-in-a-lifetime day. “That one,” I said, pointing to the ivory gown on the left, “That will be gorgeous on you, I know.”
Elana smiled and seemed to release a long pent-up breath. The salesgirl returned. “Have we decided?” she said.
Elana clapped her hands together. “Yes,” she said, running her hand down the front of the smooth strapless dress, “I want to try this one.” She had a hard time controlling the dance in her feet as she bounced on her tip-toes while the salesgirl moved the dress behind the screen.
I saw my sister then, in Elana, the way she had always twirled around, showing off when she got a new outfit. I remembered that day Lucy had come in from shopping with her friends and rushed to her bedroom to put on the leopard print cat suit. She’d been so excited and all I could think was how ridiculous she looked, in that jumpsuit, like she was all dressed up to go trick-or-treating. Lucy had never dressed like a normal person – every piece of clothing she owned was outlandishly exaggerated – but her style turned heads, that was for sure; the cat suit in particular had turned the most wrong one it could have.
I heard the swish swish of satin and taffeta and looked up from my reverie. I was astounded by the beauty standing before me that was my daughter. The wedding gown she wore was the closest I’d seen (of the six she’d tried on so far) to the one she’d dog-eared and starred five times in her Bride’s magazine. Simple as the dress was – ankle length, strapless with an A-line waist and just a peek of lace at the hem – Elana absolutely shined in it. Her long, dark tresses were pulled back in a French twist and secured with a pearl butterfly clip, a few strands curling down around her flawless face and touching her sharp collar bone. Her cheeks were full and pink and her sapphire eyes seemed to stand out as the pièce de la résistance of the ensemble. My daughter was glowing like the new bride she was about to be.
She had been standing perfectly still before me, not even glancing in one of the six mirrors surrounding her, smiling like a five-year-old awaiting much anticipated appraisal, but now she pushed up on her tip-toes and pirouetted. She looked for all the world like a ballerina in a music box. Still, she kept her eyes on me. “Mom?” she said when she came to rest and held out her arms, “This is the one, I think,” and she bit her bottom lip.
It was obvious her mind was made up but I knew she was seeking my approval, as if her mother’s word had always been and would always be the last one. I sat staring at her, greedily holding on to this rare and cherished moment.
“Mom?” Elana said again and I looked into her eyes and told her, “You are the most beautiful young woman I have ever seen.”
Elana squealed with delight and bounced over to where I stood in front of the fake fireplace. She wrapped her arms around me and squeezed me, tight. “Oh Mom, its perfect, isn’t it?” she whispered in my ear.
“Yes, yes honey, it sure is. Colton will love it.”
Elana pulled away from me and ran back behind the screen. “I’ll hurry so we can go get some food in you,” she said, “Oh Mom, I’m so excited!” Her voice was a bit muffled behind the tufted screen but I would’ve felt that excitement had she not said a word.
I opened my wallet to get my credit card and breathed a sigh of relief that this day had turned out to be as much fun as I’d hoped, that my dead sister had not ruined it after all. When I looked back up Lucy’s eyes shot daggers at me, from all six mirrors.