Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Wedding Day

Hi, Here is some of my fiction practice for you to read today. As always, I enjoy and appreciate your feedback on my rough drafts and beginnings.

Lilly felt like a giant doll stiffened by corsets, silk and tulle. Remembering a scene from a beloved childhood story, she reached up and touched the slanted white ceiling of her parents’ bedroom. The overwhelming transformation had begun when she put on the ring, and today she had reached the apex of her anxiety over the change. Lilly had slept alone in the same twin bed with the same cotton blanket for the past 23 years. She imagined her tears creating a giant stream that would carry her out the window to the bay as she stuffed the faded yellow bed cover, now a relic from her childhood made soft by endless washing, into an overnight bag. Lilly was crying as a result of feeling multiple emotions simultaneously, as one is wont to do when faced with a life transition. All at once, she was filled with joy, sadness, excitement and fear.

Peering out the window, Lilly could make out ripples in the chlorinated water of the family swimming pool below. How many times had she jumped into that pool clutching her legs in fetal position and enjoying the feeling of suspension before her body hit the water? All of today felt like those seconds of free-fall, but this time she was fighting to keep fear from distracting her and spoiling the jump. On this glorious sun-filled spring day, Lilly was getting married.

The aisles of the great brick building were long and carpeted in red. On the domed ceilings painted golden-winged seraphim came to life in this moment of grace, eavesdropping on the angelic human voice tucked away in the choir loft singing Ave Maria. Lilly fought back tears again. This time, in her mind's eye, her grandmother was joining in the song as she had done so many mornings alongside the old record player in her kitchen. Her father took her arm, and with careful slow steps led her down the flower-strewn path to the altar where the groom was waiting. He looked flushed and wistful, as if awed by the power of nature. Lilly glanced behind her, expecting to see a tidal wave, or perhaps, the Grand Canyon, but saw instead trodden rose petals and smiling faces arranged in neat rows. Her father kissed her, and Lilly could see the struggle in his face, to let go, to smile, to not cry. She understood the way a daughter does that beneath her father's pleasant countenance something was tearing. She directed her glance toward her feet to control the sudden involuntary twitch in her cheek muscles.

In that ancient church Lilly dived into marriage, trying to grasp on to rings, candles, words, prayers that were suspended in the atmosphere around her. This feeling followed her beyond the ceremony into the lush greenery of the park where the photographer snapped photographs. She discovered that clutching the groom’s hand seemed to stop her fall, and in those moments her sense of time was replaced by a certainty of eternity.

In the dark outside a stately restaurant with green and white stripped awnings, the party ended. The couple was pushed through a jovial triangular tunnel of friends into a yellow cab. Lilly had changed out of her gown into a plain black dress, but was still wearing her white wedding shoes.
To Lilly, a black dress coupled with white wedding shoes meant the world was out of sync.

“I have to go home,” she said, nervously.

The groom held his breath.

“I need my black wedges.”

Lilly was not high-maintenance, but she had to start off this journey in the right shoes. The groom knew Lilly. He understood her distress in secret ways, and paid the Cabby an extra $40 to stop at Lilly’s parents’ home, but the shoes were not there. They were stuffed in a white bag at her feet on the floor of the car throughout the whole diversion. As the cab set out on the highway again, approaching the lights of the bridge that lit the way to Lilly’s future, she secretly prayed that her courage was also hiding somewhere at the bottom of that bag.


rhymeswithplague said...

Very nice. Understanding that one's own life experiences very often play a part in creating fiction, I'm wondering if you were Lilly. And the restaurant, was it Tavern-on-the-Green?

Being male, I would like to have read a little more about how the new husband reacted. Did he bristle at the delay? Did the couple have their first tiff? Or did they laugh about the detour when they finally made it to the marriage bed?

Perhaps I am providing an outline for Chapter 2....

Loren Christie said...

Thanks for the comment Mr. Brague. Yes, this character is very much me internally, but also quite exaggerated. I'm trying to move away from personal genre and practice more fiction. Writer Anne Lamott suggests that fiction that mirrors the writer very closely refects the skills of a beginner. As a beginner in fiction, it's hard to keep myself out of the fiction when I'm attempting to write what I know.

As for real life, my own reception was held at a small restaurant on the South Shore of Long Island called Michael's. It no longer exists. I've heard that Tavern on the Green is very beautiful, but we could not afford it. Nevertheless, I wouldn't have changed a thing about our reception. We had such a blast with our friends and family. The food was exceptional.

In this story, I'm approaching the part I really have to practice. Notice that I stopped writing to avoid it. Up until now, the groom has been a flat character as you pointed out. This is the point in the story where I have an opportunity to move away from myself, develop his character and pose the "What if" question to them. If they stay within the boundries of what I would do in truth, then the story will be quite dull. On the other hand, their reaction to circumstances could give them a life of their own. Okay, I will try to continue this for you tomorrow.Thank you for the encouragement.

Caity said...

You have such a beautiful way with words. You are so descriptive and I love the metaphors. I thoroughly enjoyed this.

Steena Holmes said...

I really enjoyed reading this. The groom spoke to me more than the bride, he knew her secret fears, he didn't question her, he was ready to take care of her.

You are an excellent story teller!

Elizabeth Kathryn Gerold-Miller said...

I love the details. Please keep the story going!

jen said...

I like it, but tell me how she is not high maintenance. Paint the picture. What, no fancy fake nails for her wedding day- that kind of thing.

As this piece started out I was thinking of Emily Dickinson, the spinster poet archetype/stereotype, but as it progressed I saw a Christian novel forming, and something nobody ever glamorizes, though maybe we should - the virgin marriage bed.

Elizabeth Kathryn Gerold-Miller said...

I agree with Jen. There is a growing market for books that we moms can have our daughters read that will encourage them to wait for marriage. (I like the Anne of Green Gables series for good courtship behavior.) Not that you'd ever be preachy, but I know since that is your value it will come through in your writing.

Loren Christie said...

Hi Jen. Ok. Maybe she is high maintenance. The virgin marriage bed is a very enticing topic, and yes, it should have more press. There is something attractive about the mystery, the longing, and the deep respect that goes with that situation. Old movies allude to the glamor of this type of woman. Jen, I'm not brave enough to write that, but I wish I could.

Elizabeth Kathryn Gerold-Miller said...

I like how the old movies left things. You knew they did it, but it was kept private, the way God meant it to be.

Loren Christie said...

Honestly I wasn't even going to go there with this story. Get your minds out of the gutter, bloggers :) I have some ideas about where this can go now. Look for the rest toward the end of this week. Thanks again for the discussion and encouragement!

Dear Internet Traveler,

Welcome to my writer's blog, started about six years ago for fun. Over time, the writing I have posted has ranged from personal reflection, to Long Island history research, to tall tales for my own amusement, to feature articles for local newspapers. As you can see from topics listed here, I travel in many mental directions in regard to interests. Click on the tabs and labels to explore my strange mind which senses that you may be having a criss-cross day. If so, perhaps this blog will distract you. However, please note that if you tell me my blog is beautiful just to get me to advertise rhinoplasty surgery and cheap drugs from Canada in your comment, I will ask the gods to give you a tail that cannot be concealed.


Loren Christie

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