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In The Chapel
copyright 2013, Brandi Kennedy
I really never thought this could happen.
Walking down the aisle, I watched my satin-covered toes peek out and then disappear again under my dress. Always the bridesmaid, never the bride, I thought again to myself. The groom was disreputably handsome as usual, dressed in the dark suit he'd worn to the rehearsal days ago. His cheeks were smoothly shaven; his high cheekbones made him look proud and elegant. His slanted blue eyes looked through me just as they always had, and he peered beneath a shock of jet-black hair to see beyond me.
For a second, I ignored my sense of insignificance. I allowed myself to pretend that I was wearing the poufy white gown that my parents had bought my sister, and not the floor-length cocktail dress that they'd chosen for me. I allowed myself to pretend that I was walking toward my groom, toward my lover. I allowed myself, just for the moment, to pretend that I wasn't the ugly sister, the one who failed at sports and couldn't walk a straight line without falling over. The lone sister, the abandoned one. I allowed myself to pretend that someone could want me just as I was, with wild curls and sprinkled freckles, with small breasts and narrow hips, with too much gangly height and not enough graceful balance. I allowed myself to pretend that if someone could want me, they’d be able to do it long enough to put me in a poufy white dress.
Standing there at the altar, I took in the audience in a desperate attempt to avoid looking at my sister's almost-husband; I watched my mother dry her tearful eyes with the monogrammed handkerchief that had been her wedding gift from my father so many years ago. The music changed, the classic wedding tune beginning to ring out, and the chapel filled with the music. Everyone in the pew turned to gaze in curious wonder at the door my sister would be coming through, and I began to feel as if some royal princess were about to enter the world, a fairy full of grace and charm, a delicate and long awaited flower that would only open her petals the one time. A chorus of excited whispers broke out; my palms dampened as it rippled through the church and died down.
She appeared at the door – my sister, dressed in her finery with her beautiful hair gathered neatly into an elegant twist. She shimmered with hair jewels and the faux diamonds that twinkled at her wrist and throat. The halter neckline of the beaded bodice dipped to reveal the faintest, almost-modest peek at her ample cleavage; the sleek, smooth satin dipped perfectly into the curve of her waist before swinging gracefully out to form the bell shape of ballroom skirt. It should have been me, I thought. I was the older one. I had fallen in love first.
Edited to add: In The Chapel has now been edited and revised, and has more than doubled in length. The above is only a small snippet of the 2200-word story, the whole of which is now available exclusively to my Patreon supporters. To view this story and others like it, please support my writing here. (September 2016)