From the Sky - Part X

By the time my wedding came, my aunts had each moved past a grudging acceptance of my fiancé to unspoken fondness. Love for my Joe would come later, after the twins were born, but by the time I married my aunts carried him in their hearts, whether they knew it or not. And my wedding …well, there's the best place to start to tie up a few more of the loose ends I've left hanging for you.

My aunts were my wedding coordinators. I told them what I wanted: nothing offbeat, nothing left to chance (which excluded anything outdoors), nothing too glitzy, and yet something which reflected a certain lightness of spirit. They looked at me oddly when I mandated that last requirement, so I pulled them around the dining room table, dug out the picture of my first birthday party with all the severe, unhappy faces surrounding me, and said: 'None of this!' With that, I turned them loose.

Each aunt had a major responsibility. Rae coordinated the menu with the caterer. Sal handled the table settings and themes. Zia hired the entertainment, saw to the flowers and picked out the invitations. Everything in between and elsewhere was done by consensus. That included the wedding dress, which was truly a team effort.

There is only one decent bridal shop in Walnutwood, and my aunts and I spent three hours there on a Saturday afternoon nailing down my dress. I'd visited the bridal shop with friends a few times in the past getting ready for other weddings, and I knew what my perfect wedding gown would look like: the silhouette would be mermaid, sleeveless, with a midriff bodice and a sweetheart neckline. I would have a sweep that barely touched the ground. I went to the dressing room with the proprietor and told her what I wanted. She looked me up and down, her eyebrows arching skyward, but she did as I asked. When I came out the dressing room, I hoped my aunts would be as certain of the dress as I was.

They were.

"You're a fish. One I want to throw back," said Rae.

"Oh, that sweetheart neckline …Renata, that has to go," sighed Sal. "It doesn't work. It doesn't work at all."

"Why?" I asked.

"Tits," Zia said, cupping her hands in front of her chest. "You don't have the boobs for it, honey."

"I do have the boobs!"

"No you don't. Not in that dress. You've got peas under Ponzi shells. You need cantaloupes to wear a dress like that."

"It's a disaster," Rae said. "Go find something else."

I looked in the mirror, and suddenly my dream dress looked like it walked out of a fashion designer's nightmare. Back to the dressing room I went, time and again. I tried dress after dress: Ball gowns, A-lines, empires. Each was dismissed. When I was nearly at wits end, I found an uncomplicated sheath with a backless halter and a chapel train. I walked out to my waiting aunts and they fell silent. Finally, Sal covered her mouth with her hand, eyes glistening. Rae smiled. Zia nodded. I turned and looked in the mirror to see a young woman I'd never known existed. Could that really be me? And then my aunts were on their feet, all around me, discussing the alterations. Zia reached out with her forefingers and poked my chest. "Ponzi peas no longer, Renata," she said, then gave me a hug.

Tuscany...


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