I breathed a sigh of relief as the pilot announced we were ready for our descent into the Atlanta area. I almost didn’t make it. Just my luck that the most important deposition in my legal career would end up on the same day as my wedding. Opposing counsel droned on and on without regard to my objections. He knew it was my wedding day and still refused to reschedule.
I had raced to the airport after the deposition with a small carry-on suitcase and my wedding dress in a plastic zip-up cover. After waiting in line to go through the metal detectors, they selected me to search and I panicked at the thought of missing my flight. I was landing at three and my wedding was at five.
The lights came on and I stood up to get my dress out of the overhead compartment. As I reached for my dress, a gentleman’s dry cleaned suit on a cheap hanger caught the zipper of my plastic cover. To my horror, my wedding dress tumbled onto the aisle. The owner of the suit apologized and bent down to help me get the dress, when a toddler with a juice box barreled down the aisle, tripped over the gentleman’s foot and splattered my dress with fruit punch. I let out a sound of the most horrific primal nature, and the toddler and I both began crying.
My dress was ruined. A flight attendant tried to use tonic water to get the stain out, but it was no use. In all this commotion over the dress, I was becoming in danger of being late. When I planned the wedding, they were so booked that I not only had to take a Friday but that another wedding was scheduled right after mine. I couldn’t afford to be late.
When I got off the plane, I hurried to the nearest bathroom to check the damage. As I feared, I had no more makeup. The brutal reality in the mirror replaced the $200 illusion so painstakingly applied this morning. With my carry-on in one hand and the stained dress in another, I stood outside the arrival terminal and searched for my brother’s truck. When I saw the old Ford, I realized that he ignored my request to leave his gum smacking spoiled brat of a girlfriend at home. I slid next to her in the cramped cabin.
“What happened to you?” she asked.
“Yeah, you look awful,” my brother said as he almost crashed into the bus in front us.
“Careful!” All I needed now was to get in an accident.
As I explained the sad story, little miss gum smacker giggled and said, “That sucks.” Resisting the urge to stuff the gum down her throat, I asked my brother to step on it. When we finally arrived, my mother was standing on the sidewalk waving her arms frantically.
She gasped when she got a good look at me. “Let’s get you to a dressing room.”
I croaked, “Mom,” and held up the stained dress. I couldn’t even talk. She told me not to panic, that someone must have a white dress and she ran into the chapel. I went back to the dressing room. I could hear mom arguing with the wedding director and the director complaining we were off schedule.
I felt a soft hand on my back. It was my ninety year old grandmother holding a wrapped gift. “This was supposed to be for tonight,” she said and handed me the box with a trembling hand. Inside was a long backless opaque white nightgown. “The dresses you girls wear today look like underwear anyway,” she said. “Try it on.”
I put on the nightgown and fixed my veil. My white satin sandals matched the silk and the gown draped nicely to the floor. My mother walked in rattling off all the people she called looking for a dress. She saw me and stopped. For once she was speechless.