There was a time when I was terribly young and terribly cute, which meant I wanted to be neither. My mother liked to put me in frilly dresses, despite the fact that I lived in an all boy environment, which meant that I needed to dig up worms and play with GIJoes in order to get any street cred. She fought as hard as she could, putting me in ballet, tap and even baton lessons, while I was content to sit in my Wranglers and watch Dukes of Hazzard with my cousins.
In one of these battles for girlishness, I became a flower girl. The Bride and Groom were were more like a surrogate aunt and uncle. She was a petite, perky professional cheerleader with gorgeous high cheekbones. He was a handsome weatherman and we all liked to brag that we knew him whenever he was on television. I wasn’t happy on their wedding day, because I was suffocating in layers and layers of flowers and frilly misery. The only thing I remember about the wedding was the Bride telling me I looked nice. When I frowned, she said “you might as well get used to it, because people are gonna tell you that all day.”
Fast forward many decades and mom and I moved away. I grew up and even though I was not a so-called Girly Girl, I was not the militant tomboy I once was. I decided to attend college in another state and dabble in journalism. I liked my first class, but I was concerned about my professor and the way I’d catch him eyeing me. Then he’d interrupt my class questions with inquiries of his own, like “where are you from, originally?” Eventually, he stopped me before class and revealed himself as The Weatherman aka The Groom that I’d known so many years before. He and The Bride were doing well, had two young boys and lived in a suburb near the college.
I transferred to another college, but The Groom and his family became active participants in my life. We both were involved in the same professional organization, and I’d see the Bride and Groom at various summer getaways that the organization hosted. And if I didn’t run into them, they were sure to find me. I was young and naïve back then, so I was grateful to have The Groom’s career advice and The Bride’s efforts to steer me away from the Dirty Old Men that tended to dwell at these affairs.
Life went on, and my pockets started to thin. I could no longer afford these getaways around the country, but I’d always drop a note to the Bride and Groom come summertime. There was an event in California that I couldn’t attend, and neither could they. The Groom explained that it was because the Bride had been diagnosed with breast cancer and was undergoing treatments. He mentioned this in his normal upbeat way and I said I’d keep them in my prayers.
That was the last time we spoke. The organization’s summer event seems like it could be in my financial future this year, so I looked forward to catching up to the Bride and Groom and their kids. I was on Facebook the other night and saw that an aunt seemed to be thinking about them as well and posted several 1980s era pictures of the happy couple. I clicked on a particularly stunning picture of The Bride, one where her cheekbones were at their finest, and saw several comments of “rest in peace” and “my deepest condolences.” Online investigator that I am, I learned that The Bride was undergoing brain surgery to remove tumors that were a result of the cancer when she suddenly died.
To say that I am sad about it would be the understatement of the year. But sometime soon I’ll get it together enough to send my own condolences and figure out the funeral arrangements. Then maybe, just maybe, I will go to the summertime getaway and remember the good ole days.