Soothing pieces at Heath Ceramics.
(Written on 5/30)
I have been a flower girl once in my life, in the late 80's, at my aunt and soon-to-be uncle's wedding. The dress was adorable, tiny (so was I), frilly pink and silver, but was in actuality a tease: as soon as I put it on, the underside of the fabric scraped against my skin, sandpaper rough. I complained but also knew enough about what day it was to shut up after a while, resorting to acting extra wiggly, trying to escape the itchiness but probably simultaneously making it worse for myself.
Sue was the other flower girl, the daughter of one of my aunt's friends. She was slightly taller than me, and was more tan, but had similarly black-brown, slick straight hair like I did. We had met earlier that day, had painted with watercolors together at my grandparents' studio. I secretly wanted her to come along when my parents and I had to fly back north at the end of the week.
When the wedding rehearsal started, we stood side by side in identical, scratchy dresses, our fathers as tall as skyscrapers behind us. We each held a woven wooden basket that cradled handfuls of flower petals, soft and aromatic.
Sue, off cue, suddenly jolted forward and began hopping down the aisle.
"Wait, Sue, not yet," her father called out.
Now here I saw the opportunity to be a heroine. I broke from my own stance and began to run after her. In a blur, my thoughts were Don't worry, you guys, I'll tell her that she wasn't supposed to go yet, we'll start over, it's okay, it's okay, but then before I knew it, my dad's hand was resting on my shoulder and my heroic efforts were dashed. Sue's dad, footsteps far greater than mine, had already caught up with his daughter.
When it was time for the real show, when all the guests were seated and were twisted around in their white folding chairs, smiling at the two of us in our shiny, deceptive dresses, neither one of us jumped the gun. We both started on time, walking at the same pace, staying on our respective sides of the path. But I noticed that Sue was throwing her petals out at an alarming rate, twice as fast as I was. So I slowed down. Two steps, one petal. Two steps, another single petal.
Oh, so dainty.
I reached the front row with over half of the petals still in my basket. Someone asked me why I didn't toss more of them out. For which I'd had no good answer, because I didn't yet know the words "compensating," or "heroine," or "over-analytical."