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About a Girl: Chapter One



Joined: 11/3/2010
Posts: 206
sullysolipsism
Twenty Years Earlier

THEY MARRY IN THE LAW offices of James M. Hoffman & Sons.

My mother is twenty-three, slim and glowing. She wears a dark Tahari suit with barely perceptible silver pinstripes. A dipping V-neck reveals her pale pink undershirt. She loves this suit. So businesslike yet so feminine. Especially when paired with black heels and tasteful lipstick. She feels very modern, getting married in a suit in a lawyer’s office of all places.

Everything about her glows with impetuous youth. Her lustrous hair, her clear skin, her laughing eyes. She is pregnant with Layla, but she doesn’t know it yet. No one could ever picture this amaranthine creature aging or fading. It would be sacrilege, like allowing the finest sterling silver to tarnish, the highest quality wine to turn to vinegar, the pages of an original edition classic to tear and the type to blur.

My father casts a less striking figure. He wears a very old, very wrinkled tweed suit that hasn’t seen an iron – much less the Laundromat – since the day he bought it. His tie is horrendous: a swirling brown pattern that looks like matted animal fur. He’s nearly eleven years my mother’s senior, and his age shows in the premature salt-and-pepper streaks seasoning his hair, the gentle parenthetical lines emphasizing his thin lips, the telltale softness around his eyes and neck where in a few years the skin will detach itself and hang in gentle bags.

He wanted the whole affair, the white wedding. White lace, white icing, white satin rose petals. Heavy cardstock invitations, written in black calligraphy and sent out six months in advance. A traditional wedding gown with train and veil, silk and lace, seed pearls and ruffles. A twelve-tier white chocolate liqueur cake with marzipan flowers and iced fleur-de-lis. A Rolls Royce Phantom limousine with a Verdana script “Just Married” sign secured to the fender.

But my mother is adamant. They will simply get married and be done with it all. No needless foofaraw and fanfare. At any other instance, being that this is probably the most important day of his life, my father might have argued the point. But I think he understands. Maybe more than my mother truly understands herself. He considers factors she doesn’t, like the fact that my mother at age twenty-three has not spoken to her parents in a little over eight years.

She will have no one to help with the little buttons on the back of her dress, the ones she can’t reach on her own without dislocating her shoulders or elbows. No one to yell at the hairdresser in a display of riotous maternal affection to make sure her curls are absolutely perfect. No one sitting in the front row, gloved hands clasped tightly in lap, beaming at her son-in-law-to-be. No one to hold her hand and walk her down the aisle. No one to whisper one last time in her ear, stroke the soft hairs at the nape of her neck. No one to cry as he gives his little girl away for the last time.

But that is my own assumption. Whatever my father’s hidden reasoning, he capitulates all too easily, as he does on nearly every occasion when he and Mother come to a head.

So instead of the vaulted ceiling of a cathedral, or the quaint elegance of a small town chapel, or even the blue brilliance of a clear summer sky, my parents sign their wedding papers beneath the flickering fluorescent lights in the law offices of James M. Hoffman & Sons. My mother throws her pen down when she is done scrawling her name in loose, detached letters. My father sets his gently on the desk’s smooth steel surface with a slight clink.

They walk out onto the cracked sidewalk together. Kiss in front of the five o’clock traffic at the intersection on Laclede and Taylor. Drive across town and check in for the night at the Hilton.

My mother later regrets not having her white wedding. And, as with everything, she blames her regrets on my father for giving in too easily.

To be continued . . .
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Comment by nikitasaha12


Joined: 10/8/2011
Posts: 33
hey nice!!! :)
Posted: Saturday, November 26, 2011 2:59:48 PM
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