Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Great Expectations (not about the book) (08/25/11)
TITLE: Hope of a Perfect Day
By Glynis Becker
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“Alright, honey. Let me see what I can do.” One old, white bed sheet, a couple of minutes and a few safety pins later, Jenny stood in front of a full length mirror, smiling so broadly that the gaps from all three missing teeth stood out clearly from her mouth. The makeshift veil covered the grass stain on the back of her cutoff denim shorts and the bouquet of wildflowers from the backyard overshadowed the dirt smudges on her tiny hands.
“I'm beautiful, aren't I, Mommy? Someday I'm going to do this for real. And I'll be beautiful and there will be lots of flowers and I'll live happily ever after, right?”
Another smile. “Yes, sugar, I'm sure you will.”
* * * * * * *
“Mom, you've got to do something,” Jenny pleaded. “The caterer just set out lemonade instead of iced tea and I think the cake is melting from the heat! Can you see how it's toppling like that building in Italy? What am I going to do?” She stamped her foot. “And where is Todd? I mean, why isn't he fixing any of this? I can't believe I wanted to get married outside in the middle of July! What was I thinking?” She threw her brush down on the table in front of the mirror and her eyes welled up. “And I can't cry! I just did my makeup!”
Her mother exchanged looks with the bridesmaids, then gave a little head nod. They both got the hint and went for the door. “We'll go check on that iced tea for you, Jenny,” her best friend said quietly and left.
Jenny's mascara was beginning to run, creating tear tracks down her face. “What a disaster! It wasn't supposed to be like this.” Her head when down on the table across her folded arms.
Mother agreed. “Nope. It wasn't. So let me share with you something that Grandma told me on my wedding day. She said to me in her best no-nonsense voice: 'Sugar, no matter what happens, as long as that preacher's there, you'll still be married at the end of the day. So save up some of that energy and spend it on your marriage, not on the wedding.' And mind you, this was after the minister got in a car accident on the way to the wedding and two of my bridesmaids were sick with the flu. I was in a complete tizzy over the whole thing. My day was nothing like I'd imagined it. But guess what? Here we are, your dad and I, forty years later, still happy as can be.” She smiled. “Most of the time.”
Jenny looked up, teary-eyed, but composed. She said quietly, “I never wanted anything to go wrong on my perfect day. I also never wanted to be like one of those lunatic brides from a crazy reality show.” She gave a small laugh, then sniffed. “But I guess, we don't always get what we want, do we?” Jenny dried her eyes, took a deep breath, then looked in the mirror. “Oh no! I've only got half-hour until pictures and my face is a mess! Get those girls back in here quick—we've got some serious work to do!”
So, at the end of Jenny's not-so-perfect day, she and Todd exchanged rings—once they were retrieved from the car where the best man had left them--then they kissed. The day did, indeed, end with a marriage. It also began the next chapter of their life together, full of hopes, dreams and more wonderful expectations.
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