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Jill Elizabeth has read 2 books toward her goal of 150 books.
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Short Story Recycling: The Wedding Dress (Part II)

Part two – if you missed the beginning, click here. And if you want to know why we’re recycling, click here. Enjoy!

I hope you enjoy the second of two parts of this piece of short fiction, written in honor of brides everywhere… I feel your pain, my sisters. (teehee)

***

The Wedding Dress (Part 2 of 2)

She knew that it was ridiculous to pin all her hopes for future happiness on a dress. She knew that the wedding wasn’t about the dress. She knew that the marriage and her partnership with Richard were what mattered, and that those would be wonderful regardless of what she wore on the day that they were both celebrated. But deep down, in a tiny secret dark place in her soul, Jenna believed that if she couldn’t wear The Dress, that things would somehow mysteriously fall apart. Maybe not right away, but eventually. Because The Dress was an integral part of the whole wedding experience. Everyone knew that.

Jenna sighed.

She knew she was being more than a little ridiculous. But she couldn’t help herself. She needed to find The Dress. And she needed to find it soon. “It has to be out there, please let it be out there, I have to find it, I can’t get married without it…” she chanted under her breath, as she pulled out of the parking lot after the latest bridal superstore failure. And she continued to chant it, like a mantra, as she drove home. She was, in fact, so focused on her chanting that it took her nearly ten minutes to notice that she had missed the on-ramp to the expressway that would take her home.

“Great,” Jenna mumbled, “now I’m lost on top of everything else.”

With that, she turned on her car’s navigation system and took the next exit, waiting for the annoying crisp British accent to tell her which way to go next. “In one mile,” the car primly told her, “take the next right turn.”

After seven-eighths of that mile, she saw it. A small, brightly lit storefront with the words “Beverly’s Bridal Beauties” in tasteful pink calligraphy across the gabled roof. Jenna had never seen or heard of Beverly’s Bridal Beauties before, but something about the store caught her eye, and she decided to add another few minutes to her trip by venturing inside. What harm can there be, Jenna thought to herself.

With those words, she parked the car and pushed her way through the front door. Tinkling bells announced her presence to the single saleslady working inside. “Hello my dear!” the stylish middle-aged woman chirped. “I’m Beverly, and welcome to my store!”

“Hello Beverly,” Jenna replied dutifully. “I’m looking for a wedding dress. And I feel like I should warn you that I haven’t had any luck so far…”

“Stop right there,” Beverly replied. “You haven’t had any luck because you have not yet been here. You look exhausted my dear. Why don’t you take a seat and let me bring you a nice cup of tea and then I will just pick up a few dresses for you to look at, hm?” And with that, Beverly directed Jenna into a surprisingly soft chintz armchair and scampered off behind a partially closed door. She reemerged thirty seconds later with a steaming china cup of tea, which she gently handed to Jenna to avoid spilling the fragrant liquid. Then she scampered off again.

Jenna could hear Beverly rummaging about behind the door, mumbling to herself, and sliding hangers along a metal clothes bar. All of a sudden Jenna heard a satisfied “aha!” and Beverly paraded out of the back room with a dress in her hands.

No. Not a dress. The Dress.

Jenna knew it was The Dress from the moment she saw Jenna hold it out to her. She didn’t know what it was, why this particular dress was different from every other she had seen. There was no rhyme or reason to it. Jenna hadn’t even tried it on or seen if it would fit or what the price was. None of that mattered. She knew it would fit, knew the cut and color would be perfect, knew the price would be right. Because Jenna just knew this was The Dress. Her Dress. The Dress she was going to get married in!

She was right. Everything about The Dress was perfect – from the fit to the price. Jenna paid for it on the spot and carried it out of the store with her. She couldn’t wait to get it home and try it on and tell everyone she knew that she had finally found it. She drove home just a tish faster than prudence dictated, but she couldn’t help herself – she was unbelievably excited.

So excited that she didn’t even have the patience to wait for the garage door to open; she parked in the driveway and gathered up her purse and The Dress and hurried inside. She unlocked her front door and raced into her bedroom, where she threw off her clothes and gingerly removed The Dress from its garment bag. After a fair amount of contortionate stretching, she managed to do up the zipper and then she just looked at herself. She couldn’t believe how perfect The Dress was!

Lost in the fog of her daydreams about the wedding and how perfect she would look at it, Jenna didn’t hear the bathroom door open. She didn’t hear the sound of water running down the drain or of footsteps in the hallway. She didn’t hear anything, in fact, until she heard a startled gasp as Richard exclaimed, “Baby, you look so beautiful!”

And then she burst into tears.

“You can’t see me in my dress it’s bad luck everything was going to be perfect and now what are we going to do I can’t believe this how are you here why are you here what happened oh noooooo!” Jenna wailed, craning her neck to make sure no tears fell onto The Dress.

“You sounded so blue on the phone that I wanted to surprise you. Didn’t you see my car in the garage? And what are you talking about anyway, you silly girl,” Richard asked with a smile, “Nothing about us could ever be bad luck because we’re perfect!”

“But,” Jenna sniffled, “you can’t see me in my dress. You just can’t. It doesn’t work that way. It’s supposed to be a surprise and it will be bad luck and it took me so long to find The Dress and now what am I going to doooooo?” Jenna started wringing her hands and the look on her face was so serious that Richard almost stopped smiling.

“Oh my darling girl, don’t cry, please don’t cry,” Richard said, “It doesn’t matter that I’ve seen the dress or how long it took you to find it. Now that you have it everything is perfect and there is nothing to do but live happily ever after.”

“No,” Jenna proclaimed in her most serious voice, tears leaving streaks down her cheeks and her eyes curiously sad. “Everything isn’t perfect. I can’t marry you in this dress. I can’t. It’s bad luck. I’m forty-three and I can’t take any chances with marriage – I can’t doom us to a life of bad luck. Not now. I can’t marry you in this dress and that’s that.”

With those words ringing in the air, Jenna carefully removed The Dress, returned it to its hanger, zipped it back into its protective bag, and hung it on the back of the door. And then she turned to Richard and gave him a huge watery smile and an even bigger hug. “I love you.”

And then she said good-bye and pushed him out the door.

Epilogue
Jenna sighed and shook her head as she closed the door on a very confused-looking Richard. And she sighed even louder as she turned her back on him and walked into the bedroom to change out of The Dress. “I can’t marry him in this dress. I just can’t,” she said one last time. It would have been bad luck, after all, and she couldn’t stand the thought of starting their new life together with such an omen of bad luck standing against them.

“She picked The Dress?” you ask. Of course she did. Silly. She loved Richard, it’s true. He was wonderful and would have made her very happy. And she waited for him for a long time. But really – sure it may be hard to find the perfect man, but the perfect dress? Well, that’s damn near impossible to find – as Jenna’s story so plainly reveals.

I mean come on – you heard what she went through to find The Dress – all the missed opportunities, near misses, not-quite rights… She tried on over a hundred dresses before she found The One. She had only dated, what, a dozen or two guys max – and that’s only if you count the blind dates and single-date guys equally with the actual relationship guys. So Richard was what, one in twenty-four? The Dress was one in at least one hundred – and that’s a conservative estimate. The Dress was a four hundred percent better choice than Richard. I’m sorry to be the one to have to say it, but numbers don’t lie. Mathematically, it was the only choice.

And I mean, really, she looked perfect in it. Despite what everyone thinks, women are inherently logical, problem-solving creatures. Jenna made the logical choice, solved the problem the best way she knew how. She really did look perfect in The Dress. And what woman in her right mind would walk away from that?

***

NB: I did get married to my love, of course, as I told you Monday. I didn’t have even remotely this kind of experience shopping for a dress. And even if I had, I still would have picked the guy not the dress. I’m sure of it. Well, fairly sure… 😉

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