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The Marriage   —   Writing - Flash Fiction

The dress hangs from a hanger and the hanger hangs from a hook in the center of the wall. The dress, stark white against the yellowed wallpaper, looks cool and crisp and full of promise.

The bride stands barefoot in front of the white dress and looks upon it with her brow stitched curiously. She stands there alone upon a slivered and slanted wooden floor, tilting her head slowly to the right and then slowly to the left, trying to catch a glimpse of a different angle of the dress, and of her life. The bride’s glance falls as she walks to the open window and sits upon its ledge, the chipped paint snagging her silky slip as she adjusts her thighs to balance her weight. She looks out onto the ocean, contemplating its vast dark motion and all of the mystery it holds. The ocean, she decides, is very much like love, full of balance and passion, mystery and peace. Neither can be contained.

The bride sits a moment longer, her gaze reaching far beyond the window’s view and finally, satisfied with her self assurance, slides off the ledge and walks toward her dress, darkening its white with her shadow. She places her delicate fingers upon its ribbon and slowly unweaves the bodice so that the sides split open like the wings of a dove to the sky. The dress slips from the hanger and she steps into the center of the open dress pulling it up so that it encases her hips and her buttocks perfectly. She slides the dress up further and its bodice covers her breasts, and as she has done a dozen times before, she laces the dress together again.

The dress now hangs from the bride, and the bride now stands in front of a closed door. Taking the door’s unsteady knob into her palm, the bride turns her wrist and swings the door open wide. Gracefully she passes through.

The summer sun strikes the bride as she emerges from the old house, blinding her sight and making her skin feel tight and warm. The bride stands on the porch, her hand to her brow blocking the sun from her gaze as she stares down to the beach at the wooden gazebo that holds her family and her groom. The gazebo sways gently, as it is as old as the house, in the firm breeze that comes from the ocean. The tall grass that grows to the gazebo’s sides sways as well, and the gazebo looks as if it were afloat atop the ocean waves.

The bride steps from the porch and starts down to the beach, carefully avoiding the stones that lay in the grass beneath her feet, and glancing ever so often to the crowd of familiar faces that anxiously await the coming event.

Stepping onto the beach its sand instantly covers her feet with each step, pouring through her toes and getting caught in the dress and in the breeze. The train of the dress drags in the sand behind the bride and as she walks it leaves a trail like a snail, marking her journey.

Arriving to her destination, she steps to her alter, the salty water stinging her skin as the waves tumble carelessly over her sand-covered feet. The dress quickly clings to her legs as she advances her steps into the cold water, immersing herself to her knees, to her stomach, to her shoulders.

The bride walks further still, the ocean now crashing over her head and she takes a deep breath inviting the saltwater to fill her lungs. She closes her eyes as she commits herself to the marriage of the ocean, and slowly its love suffocates her life.

The ocean, she had decided, was very much like love, full of balance and passion, mystery and peace. None of which she had obtained.

Posted 9.15.2003

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