Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Wedding Picture

The deep waves of my mother's thick, dark hair nestle elegantly against her shoulder, undulating like the ocean. Her head tilts flirtatiously toward my father's chest, as he stands firm and resolute beside her. Such sparkle in her eyes, stunning in their azure blueness, sparkle that says, "Yes, I'm on my way to a life - my own life, not my parents life, not a girl's life, but a woman's life." Her dress screams excitement and adventure, it's bright blowsy floral print a slap at conventional bridal white or ivory. After all, Reverend Samuelson's dark little living room could easily withstand the glow of that rosy print, the couple standing there arm-in-arm surrounded by Mrs. Samuelson's dark brown tweed living room suite. Indeed, my mother herself seemed to give off a glow, alight with love and desire, like the flame of a candle in the middle of a May afternoon.

And there's my father, his olive skin so deeply burnished from those months of sunshine in the South Pacific, his thick black hair every so slightly in need of a trim, curling mischeviously over his forehead. He has cleaned up well, trading his Navy Dress Blues for a double breasted suit, purchased for him by my mother's parents since his own family is so pressed for money these days, three young children left at home and their mother so recently dead. His smile, rich, warm, yet somehow sly, as if he knows a secret he's unwilling to tell.

My mother's father has said to his wife, "I'm afraid he'll never amount to much," referring to my father's penchant for having a good time, for gambling, for sleeping on the job which my grandfather had acquired for him, after a good word here and there at the plant got the sailor boy hired. My mother, of course, will hear nothing of this, for this slightly foreign boy with his swarthy good looks and smoldering black eyes has completely captured the heart of a small town southern girl. So she hangs on tight to his dark suited arm, while he stands, feet wide apart, leaning just barely away from my mother's clasp, one foot into the future.

Exercise entitled "Wedding Picture," by Jayne Ann Phillips, from Now Write, Fiction Writing Exercises From Today's Best Writers and Teachers, edited by Sherry Ellis

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