The Wedding Bouquet

1991 Old MI Jennifer on dock CUTE

We walked along the rocky beach, picking out the prettiest stones.  Our flip flops flopped in unison.  She toddled along in her pink ruffle-butt swimsuit and carried a plastic sand pail, holding the shovel in her right hand and stopping every ten feet for buried treasures.  When she wrapped her baby arms around me, her skin smelled like sea salt and hot pretzels.

A bell rang in the school yard signaling recess; a time for playing Cat’s Cradle and hopscotch–carefree and pony tailed.  Her science project was still incubating at home.  The guinea pig was fed.   A new two-wheeler was wrapped and hidden in the garage, waiting for her birthday.  Innocent, she was made up of lightening bugs in a jar, sparklers, and moon glow.

Sobbing into a wet pillow, sure she was going to die, she swore off all boys.  Forever.  They were unreliable, nasty Sasquatches who needed too much looking after.  Besides, there were better things to do–like driving with the radio blaring, the windows down, and the sunroof open.  She checked the rear view mirror every two minutes to see if she still looked good in her sunglasses.

She had the jello shots ready in time for the coin toss.  Bags of chips littered the sorority house and her posse was dressed in green and white Sparty pride.  Ohio State Sucks.  She’s got finals on Tuesday and no spare time.  Life is a blur of deadlines, drama, and planning a spring break trip.  She calls home.  “Mom, I miss you.”

Rubbing her feet after a 14 hour shift, she wonders to no one there, “Is this as good as it gets?”  Her apartment is tastefully filled with bargains found on the fly.  Her roommate has four legs and a waggly tail.  She’s been to the bullfights in Spain, Oktoberfest in Germany, and the Beaches of Normandy.  Still, she wonders.  She waits.  She works.

A small panic sunk in as she and he realized that this was it.  Today was the last day of restaurant training.  The end.  The goodbye.  Pushing the clock, they decided to go out for dinner.  Not a date, just dinner.  They didn’t think about each other that way…until the second glass of champagne.  Electricity, no…Thunderbolts.   There is no she anymore; there is “we.”

A wedding bouquet is wholly made up of all the things that make up the girl.  The ties that bind, securely wound at the base of the bouquet, hold her childhood memories.  The colorful blooms hold her hopes and dreams.  A bride now, she courageously holds on to her past and her father’s elbow as she starts up that aisle, trembling.  She dares to look ahead, at the groom, and her heart leaps into his arms and their future.  They are ready to begin a new story. 

 

 

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