Sophie’s Big Day

Sophie Bates’ (nee Madden’s) big day finally arrives. It arrives tastefully, with violins and dusky pinks. Only the cake is big and that can hardly be considered vulgar. The vicar has still not had his knee replacement, but this just means the ceremony is conducted at a stately pace. The speeches are all witty and the bubbly perfectly chilled.

And the Bride? She is elegant and gracious. The pale hair she inherited from her father is pinned up neatly and it’s with the same grey eyes that she stares adoringly at her new husband. It’s probably just as well she takes after her father. They say her mother is a drunk; that the DUI was only a matter of time. It was obvious to everyone she was unsteady on her feet as she received her bouquet. The village is sympathetic that poor Patrick stays with her. They nod sagely and say it’s for Sophie’s benefit. Now she has found herself a good man, maybe the family can make some long needed changes.

I roll the last piece of lamb around my plate. The stiffness in my hands hasn’t eased off and a rogue pin is burrowing into the skin behind my ear. I find my fingers in my hair, but determinedly fold them into my lap. Once released, my hair will march in whatever direction it pleases and there will be no corralling it back into place.

The sister of the groom, Annette, dashes past with a grim nod. I would have thought most the jobs are over by now, but clearly there is still something that requires attention. They did well in terms of the weather. Everyone agrees the photos amongst the Rhododendrons will be stunning.

Their first dance is to Ray Charles, I forget the title. The groom moves well, with an unconscious looseness around his hips. She is precise. When the father of the bride cuts in, Sophie seems to relax. Her whole countenance warmed by a smile. As a local, I’ve known Patrick since my early teens and I can honestly say I have never seen him look so happy.

That’s my cue to leave. My chair skitters backward as I press my palms onto the table, easing to my feet. I feel a hand on my shoulder, it’s Annette.

“There are some taxis out front Mrs. Madden. Thanks for coming.”

I allow her to help me into my coat before she presses something into my hand.

“Don’t forget your bouquet.”

The yellow carnations are already starting to wilt. Clutching them across my chest, I start the long march past the dance floor.