Previous Challenge Entry (EDITOR'S CHOICE)
Topic: Curiosity Killed the Cat( 10/10/13)
By Beth LaBuff
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Oh Promise Me! wheezed from the pipe organ. Whispers ceased as friends and relatives watched when a slightly graying woman attired in a simple saffron-colored dress was escorted past rows of beribboned pews and seated in the front.
How many times did I try that woman’s patience? “Some things you should never mess with,” she often chided me. At times, I think I could benefit from signs, “Don’t Touch!” or “Think first!” And didn’t I have a bad feeling about that old wooden box? It should have remained in the cellar. Today, it would be more appropriate if they substituted the sultry melody of Perry Como’s “Temptation” for the nuptial tune “Oh Promise Me!”
Somewhere near the back of the chapel a baby fussed. Slow unhurried chords from Pachelbel’s Canon cued the next part of the ceremony. Young women garbed in empire-waisted, cinnamon-toned dresses stepped with a measured gait. Each beautifully manicured pair of hands clasped a single sunflower.
I’d never seen the musty wooden box before. It was, of course, locked. Foreign characters, perhaps some language, were burned into the wood. The hinges and latch appeared to be bronze. Once everyone had left for the day, I carted it up the stairs. My curiosity swirled in a vortex; I feverishly pondered what might lurk inside. No amount of pressure on the latch released the lock. Why couldn’t I have waited another week before being captivated by the intrigue that precipitated this latest escapade? Then it started again; that recurring rhyme reverberating in my head, “Something old, something new...”
A white-eyelet-dressed pixie sashayed as her arm swayed to and fro spreading ochre and burnt sienna colored petals on the pristine carpet runner.
Then came that stellar moment; the one that brought pride to those who bore me. Not! Curiosity won out over foreboding. I yielded to temptation in the form of a blue ball-point pen. I forced the pen-point into the lock, twisting it, pushing against any resistance. How ironic; my epitaph now penned, “Something old, something new, something borrowed…” The pen exploded, all over my two-days-before-the-wedding left hand, ring finger and all. Splotches of blue ink became a permanent indigo marquee that heralds my folly.
The pipe’s breathy strains of “Lohengrin’s Chorus” wafted through the chapel. I saw my mother stand. My right hand entwined through my father’s arm. The guests in attendance saw a grown, responsible young woman dressed in a gown adorned with white Chantilly lace. Ochre and burnt sienna petals polka-dotted my path. My spreading bouquet of Queen Anne’s lace and sunflowers secreted the not-so-autumnal-colored smirches on my left hand. My eyes sought the front where my groom waited, beaming, and for a few moments I fancied I heard a refrain from “My Blue Heaven.”
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