valentines schmalentines by ingridfnl

14 Feb

Through her veil, Amy pouted at herself in the mirror. She felt like a petulant child. A child whose birthday falls on Christmas day and who never ever gets her own party. A child who ends up hating Santa. She wondered if she had made the biggest mistake by agreeing to this… spectacle.

They scheduled the wedding for Valentine’s Day because, at the time, it seemed romantic. It seemed ideal that they would replace the fake commercialism with their own real celebration. She and Frank were privately delighted with their decision. At first, they were going to go to the justice of the peace. They were going to have a private ceremony and take on vows that didn’t need to symbolize anything to anyone else, only their love for each other.

They had stupidly failed to anticipate the tsunami force of two mothers, one step-mother, a grandmother, two widowed aunts, a dying father, two single bridesmaids and an overzealous priest, who had all turned their day (it was *their day* not anyone else’s… it was theirs) into a flood of expectations, tacky red hearts, and sticky sentimentality that left her and Frank drowning in roses and horrific dresses with yards of satin and tulle.

The drop in the bucket that removed any possible life raft plans was any mention of Amy’s father: “Just think of your father. It might be the last…”

And Amy, despite herself, found herself caving to this plea… because it might be his last… their last… It might be important. And through all of the chaos of the planning, she’d snatched moments with her father where he’d hold her hand with his now frail hand and beam at her saying, “I’m so glad I get to give my girl her perfect day.”

So now, her wedding day, she looked through her veil at herself, her fire-engine red lips, the horrible small red hearts sown along the bodice of her gown, her bouquet of typical red roses and babies breath, her six red-satin-clad bridesmaids.  She felt her eyes filled with tears as she realized that the day that was supposed to be hers and Frank’s was now about death.

These symbols of love were now symbols of another kind of memory. Still about love, but a different love. She pinched her cheeks and took a deep breath.

And she knew that, eventually, the memory of this day would matter. Just in a different way than she’d first hoped.

4 Responses to “valentines schmalentines by ingridfnl”

  1. juleshg February 14, 2010 at 10:32 pm #

    I loved how you talk about the father telling Amy how happy he was that he was giving “the perfect day”. Whose perfect day?
    Weddings bring out the worst in people. What is supposed to be a wonderful ceremony of love too often ends up being fraught with unmet expectations, guilt and frustration.
    My husband and I want to renew our vows this year for our 15th anniversary but we want to do it in Vegas, in a small tacky chapel with no family or friends.

    • ingridfnl February 15, 2010 at 12:15 am #

      I have to say that in the past few years, I’ve been fortunate enough to go to some truly wonderful weddings… Maybe because they were weddings of people in their 30s whose expectations were different? I’m not sure. But I have definitely also seen the crazy weddings that turn into some sort of “event”.

      I love that you are renewing your vows between the two of you! How wonderful!

  2. jadamthwaite February 15, 2010 at 7:27 pm #

    Poor Amy. You really captured the sense that everything has spiralled beyond her control and I really like the way it is now impossible for her to separate her wedding from her father.

  3. phoenix.writing February 21, 2010 at 6:40 pm #

    This makes me hope that Amy and Frank can manage their own renewal, or maybe even just randomly pick a different day to have their own vows and try to make something that’s just for them. This definitely feels like a spectacle–and I can totally see how Amy got sucked into it, but it’s barely a wedding anymore, and she and Frank deserve more than that!

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