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     Present Day




As weddings go, this one is no different from any other.  Everyone from the groom’s mother to aunt Geraldine has tried, but failed, to impose a semblance of their own.  From the flowers to the bridesmaids’ dresses. From seating plans to the music choice. Even the menu choice was vigorously debated– chicken or lamb–thankfully, lamb won the day.

  As the sister of the bride, and chief bridesmaid, it was my job to execute the bride’s wishes. Including diplomatically informing the groom’s mother that releasing six white doves is not going to happen. And inviting a cousin twice removed, and their entire family from Australia, cannot be done as the numbers need to be kept at one hundred and fifty.

 Yep, diplomacy is the name of the game, and all things considered, I think I managed to keep the status quo. No need to bring in the United Nations. Equilibrium has been maintained.

And today, everything is perfect. The sky is blue, and the sun rays beam down, adding to our already cheerful moods. There could be nothing worse than rain on your wedding day, and let’s face it, with the English weather there are no guarantees, even if it is June and officially summer.

 But most of all, the bride looks beautiful. She looks dazzling in a dress that is a white sleeveless ball gown with a tulle skirt, that perfectly accentuates her waist and her curves, which are in all the right places by the way. It has a sweetheart neckline and tiny butterflies over the skirt netting.  Her luscious golden brown hair, matching my own, has been blow-dried to perfection and then swept up into a low bun with loose tendrils hanging down at the sides. The final touch is  a perfect blush pink peony which has been pinned into her hair at the side and which ties in neatly with the bouquet. My own hair is left to cascade down my back in loose waves and I also have one blush pink peony pinned to the side. My dress is sleeveless floor length chiffon in fuchsia, with a  high neck and satin waistband, making the most of my tall, slender body.  There’s no mistaking we’re sisters, especially today.

I can’t help looking at my older sister, by two years,  in adoration. The complete joy shining in her eyes. She’s so blissfully happy, full of life and contentment. I’ve always looked up to Gaby.  From a very early age she made it known to anyone, and everyone, that I was her cherished younger sister and there would be no messing with me. Then, when I left primary school to join her at our local comprehensive, all the boys were forewarned not to even think of pursuing me, not for the first year at least, which was not something I was ecstatic about as, like most other twelve year olds at the time, I had started to notice boys and had my share of crushes.

We’re getting ready in Gaby’s old bedroom at our parent’s house, the house we grew up in. A house full of memories, mostly happy but some sad. It’s had a lick of paint since she last occupied it; where it was once a mish mash of different coloured walls that Gaby had painted herself, it’s now a lovely, subtle, and calming shade of pale lavender. But her white dresser with glass knobs and matching wardrobe are still here. So too is the freestanding bookshelf along one of the walls, with not only her old books, but picture frames with photos of us as a family before mum got sick.  The joy and happiness is evident from the wide grins and mischievous face pulling of myself and Gaby, and the loving smiles of mum and dad not only with their mouths as they look at each other but the warmth and love glowing in their eyes. Looking at mum and dad smiling in those photos brings a lump to my throat, which I quickly swallow.

“You look stunning Gaby,” I say as my voice cracks with emotion.

She looks at herself in the wardrobe mirror from every which way, back and front, up and down.

“You think so? Do you think David will think so?”

“I know so.”

“You really are the best sister anyone could ever hope for, Kate.” There’s a brief moment when her eyes have a faraway look and I know who she’s thinking of because I’m thinking of her too. “With mum not here, I don’t think I could get through today without you.”

“Mum would be so giddy with excitement today and I know she would love David.” She flashes a wide grin at me.

“He is pretty amazing isn’t he?”

“He is, and he’s perfect for you. You’re perfect together.”

“I know it must be difficult for you, what with Ben being best man and you being my chief bridesmaid.”

“I’ll be fine, don’t worry about me. I just won’t talk to him.”  

Let’s hope it’s not a case of easier said than done.

She looks at me via the mirror as I stand behind her. “But maybe you should talk to him. Maybe if you just hear him out.  It’s been more than a week now, and it might not be what you think.”

God bless Gaby.  Even on her wedding day, she can’t help trying to spread the love hoping for everyone else to get a happy ever after. But somehow I don’t think that’s on the cards for me.

I couldn’t help going on the  defensive. “I know what I saw.  If you know something I don’t, then please, feel free to enlighten me.”



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