Toss the Bouquet

By Jeanine Skowronski

There is the white dress her mother wanted, tugging at its hanger, reaching for the floor. There is the cake her father ordered, five tiers for 200 people, meant to be cut into thick slices and served with a dessert sampler, even though the menu also called for a mashed potato bar, lobster mac-and-cheese, jumbo shrimp and extra-large lamb lollipops. There are the cold shrimp and the limp lollipops; there are the uncorked bottles of champagne. There are the cigars the groom demanded, already rolled, foil-stamped and embossed with his name. There is the groom, picking his teeth and pacing. There are the flower girls, dressed in the pink tulle they preferred, listlessly pulling petals one-by-one from too-full tins (she loves him; she loves him not), still at the back of the hall. There is the bride in the bridal suite, ripping out her bobby pins, two at a time, shedding skin, not just metal, desperate to let down her hair. There are the string lights sagging, the pillar candles flickering; the pillar candles dripping, hot wax sticking to tablecloths and neatly folded napkins, waiting to be changed. There is the band, packing up its instruments. There goes the bride, hair billowing, all alone.

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Jeanine Skowronski has published work in Lunate Fiction, Meet Cute Press and Dwelling Literary. She placed 9th in NYC Midnight’s 2019 Short Story Challenge. You can follow her on Twitter @JeanineSko.  

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