Bridget had wanted a big wedding her entire life…
That special day with everybody from her school, her street, her old job and her church could attend & celebrate her - Bridget for a change.
Bridget was twirling in front of the mirror in her long flowing custom made gown. The long white train at the back sat heavy on the floor. Much too heavy to carry alone.
She was waiting for her mother to arrive and carry the train down the aisle. Her mother, the only guest of the day besides her and Mark - like she said, it would have to be big on spirit and not on guests.
The legalities of the affair could be dealt with after (the witnesses, the certificates, the registry-office) - all Bridget today wanted was the spirit of the wedding to be complete - as the mother that single-handedly raised her; walked her down the aisle and Mark, the love of her life, handsome in his black tuxedo, smiling at his approaching princess.
It was all a surprise to Gail as she entered to see her daughter all in white.
“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you sooner mother but today is finally the day.” Bridget said beaming from her dress.
“What are you talking about?” Gail said.
“The day I marry Mark, here, with you… in this house.” Bridget said.
Gail had been humouring Bridget’s eccentricities for the past year but an impromptu, cowboy wedding was the strangest moment yet… And Gail could feel the dread rise within the pit of her stomach - not again.
“Honey, where is Mark?”
“He’s waiting for me in the garden of course. He can’t see me before the day. He’s under the special gazebo I made.”
“Good.” Gail said, mediating to her daughter’s impulsivity. “Do you want me to walk you to him?”
“Would you mother? Would you please? We wrote our own vowels. Hold my train.”
Bridget was holding the crumpled vows in her hand.
Gail held the train of the dress from behind and as they walked through the living-room. Gail was taken aback by the amount of crap she’d been collecting and had left cluttering up this small house - she’s hoarding again.
A cloud of dust rose from the floor as the dress gently tickled the rotting floorboards. Under the gazebo was Mark, posed in a deck-chair with a Tuxedo scruffily thrown over his limp body. There wasn’t a smile, there wasn’t the husbandry joy a groom has for his bride, there wasn’t even a look of recognition… Mark was impassive - deathly impassive.
“Oh, honey.” Gail said. “You have to stop going into the cemetery and digging this man up. You’ll get us both in trouble. He’s been dead a year.”
The tears welled for Bridget as the delusion of the happiest day of her life dissipated into reality.
“But he was my fiancée.” Bridget said - her voice wobbly, “look how happy he is.”
Mark’s ‘smile’ had decomposed; as the skin had rotted down to bare teeth.