Alice and Mother shut their eyes as layers of make-up were applied.
“Such a solid man, Alice. You are very fortunate. A wise choice.”
Matthew had a gentle manner and an Audi. Alice reached past Mother for another dose of Prosecco.
At the church entrance, Mother picked at invisible lint on her two-piece which cost as much as Alice’s dress. While Alice’s mouth moved in well-rehearsed banalities with Father, her feet pointed towards the chirruping bridesmaids. Laura’s laugh carried like a baby’s cry as she folded forward at some joke.
Alice and Laura had sealed their status as best friends aged eight with a touching of tongues, all wet and ham-like. They had giggled—grossed out—then headed to morning registration. Alice had drawn a picture of Laura in a bridal gown with extreme shoulder pads and glittery shoes.
She taped a Loveheart sweet that read ‘Be Mine’ to the bottom and posted it into Laura’s school bag. Mother had found out. Letters were written and Laura was moved to Mr Sharpe’s class. Alice had cried until her nose hurt. She wasn’t allowed to watch the Soaps any more as they were full of ideas.
Organ music started up, stealing Alice’s saliva. Through the domed church door, Matthew’s shoulders appeared broader as they filled his tuxedo. Laura’s were as petite and sloping as a child’s coat-hanger. The arch of her back revealed familiar constellations of freckles made bold by the sun. Alice’s fingers had never traced those dot-to-dot patterns to reveal their messages.
Alice smoothed down the front of her dress. Mother was now perched on the front row. Her neck wrenched round, waiting for confirmation that the family name was as clean as the trinkets that covered each surface of her living room. A well-positioned pashmina disguised her limp left arm.
The droop to her face caused her features to scowl and smile at the same time.
Alice blinked and stepped her satin shoe into the church as her tongue stuck to the roof of her mouth.