I wish Tina hadn’t come to my wedding. Mother made me invite her, but I wish she hadn’t come.
“She’s your oldest friend,” Mother had said, waddling across the kitchen burdened with a roast beef – an entire roast, though there were only two of us eating. “You have to invite her, she’ll be offended.”
I knew she wouldn’t be offended. Tina never gave a darn about stuff like that. “No, Mother,” I said firmly. “I haven’t seen her for years, and she’ll have other plans.”
“She doesn’t,” Mother replied, then coyly clapped a hand over her mouth as if she had let slip a secret. She was mocking me; she’d obviously already asked Tina. I admit that for a moment I was too startled and angry to speak. I am very good at controlling my feelings, but this tested my limits.
“Carla is your bridesmaid,” Mother reminded me before I had time to speak. “Jasmine is Carla’s sister, and Tina and Jasmine are always together, they’re best friends. I asked if they wanted to come together. We have enough places for them.”
Best friends! I had to turn my face towards the refrigerator so Mother wouldn’t see the color rising up in my cheeks. Now that Tina had been invited, I knew she’d come if only because she wouldn’t want to hurt my feelings. She was pretty thoughtful, considering what she was.
Tina and I were real best friends when we were kids, but probably just because we lived across the street from each other and there weren’t many other kids around. Then, when we were seventeen, her parents moved into the new subdivision a couple of blocks away. I rarely saw her after that. She must be a terrible snob. And besides, she started trying to kiss me once.
I couldn’t tell Mother any of this. Mother didn’t even know that Tina was… wasn’t like us. If I’d told her, she would have whooped in surprise, and said something nauseating and nosy like, “Let’s have all the gory details.”
Or she might have started thinking about all the time we spent together, and I couldn’t stand to have her wondering about it. And then she might have guessed about Jasmine, and that would make Carla mad, too. Mother couldn’t keep a secret at all, especially one about s-e-x.
Anyway, the time that I kissed Tina, it didn’t really mean anything. We were just a couple of kids. After I thought about it for a while, I came to my senses and I never let it happen again. I just needed a boyfriend, that’s all. We didn’t know many boys.
So now here I am on my wedding day, in my beautiful white dress. I have been keeping myself for my Bryan, so the dress is bright, sparkling white like snow or arctic fur.
All of Bryan’s friends are here, too. He is in politics, so some of them are very important people. We have had a telegram from the Prime Minister and from the Premier as well, and from many other names well known in the public domain. We have an open bar, so nobody can think we’re cheap.
Later tonight during the speeches my Bryan will make a surprise announcement and resign from politics. I asked him to do it, because I can’t stand to have people staring at him all the time, wondering about him and wanting to know about our lives. He finally said he would do it just to please me. I don’t want to live in the public eye, I like to live quietly.
My Bryan and I will live in a nice house in a good neighborhood, and sleep in the bed that he refinished with his own hands. We found it at an antique store and I begged him to take it on as a project, because I knew it would be perfect for us. He’s refinishing it as a surprise wedding gift for me. He had a very funny look on his face when I asked him to do it as a surprise. I think he has no idea what it takes to be romantic.
I used to only have a single bed, so when Tina came for sleepovers we used to sleep on the pullout in the rec room. The springs were very uncomfortable. Now Mother is laughing too loud and eating too much, and I am stiff with terror that Tina will come over and want to kiss me again, for extra good luck on my wedding day. Some people think that kissing brides is lucky.
Between the ceremony and the reception we had a receiving line, and she came right up to me and said, “I hope you’ll be very happy,” and leaned over and kissed me on the cheek. I kept myself as stiff as I could, and I could feel my face so brittle and cold my smile felt like plastic.
I used my most warm and graceful voice when I thanked her for her good wishes and I positioned my hands beautifully around my bridal bouquet. I couldn’t even smile at her properly. I felt like saying, You can’t kiss me now, this is my wedding and I’m normal. I turned to the next person almost right away.
I should tell you about my bridal bouquet. I have two of them actually; the one I have now is a special one just for carrying around; the formal one that I carried down the aisle was too heavy to keep on holding. A caterer in a tuxedo has put it at the head table, among the crystal and silver. Soon I will sit behind it, like a jewel in a sea of flowers.