And from chapter three
I was wearing half my wedding dress and a face mask made of tomatoes and lemon juice when my sister arrived with my nephew and his girlfriend. They seemed surprised that I was not very welcoming. I had planned an unconventional wedding but was not expecting any boys to visit while I was dressing for it.
I quickly smeared the remains of my face mask onto a tissue and made myself decent but the young ones had wandered off by the time I came out of the bathroom. I went back in and checked my dress for damage.
In the rush to get ready I had nicked a great gash into the back of my heel and set off an outpouring of blood. I thought it had stopped when I put on my under dress but it hadn't.
I mopped it up as best I could and went back out to where my sister was waiting. That is when I realized that I had just scared off my hairdresser. My nephew’s girlfriend had offered to help with my hair, but she didn't know me very well. After I met her at the door with a scream through my seed and pulp filled face, she must have decided to keep a safe distance and I was left to my own devices.
I am not good with hair. When I look back at old family photos, I am sorry for the sheep-shearing techniques I inflicted on my sons. My own hair is usually left to do its own devices between yearly haircuts. Doing my hair for the wedding was going to be a challenge.
I knew what I wanted because a kind hairdresser friend had shown me how to pull my hair back into an elegant knot and pull out a few strands to curl down the sides of my face. It looked romantic and had seemed simple enough for me to do.
I rolled up my sleeves, brushed my hair back, and clasped it together with a stretchy comb of shiny seed pearls I had bought especially for the wedding.
Then the comb fell out.
I tied it back with a plain band and then covered it with the pearl comb. It looked like a child had drawn it in wrong, but it stayed.
I pulled out a few stray ends on each side and put them in curlers. Then I covered the back with a few elegant white flowers that my hairdresser friend had lent me.
When the curlers came out, it looked more like a few stray hairs had escaped a food workers hair net, and the flowers fell drunkenly sideways.
It was too late to call back my nephews girlfriend. She was probably already rethinking her relationship with a boy who had an aunt who answered the door with fruit on her face.
I gave up on the hair and started the make-up. I had gone to a wedding expo two months earlier to get some ideas, but the girls were used to preparing twenty year old brides. They plied me with so much foundation that it settled into the creases on my face until I was more crease than face. With my bright red lips and the black lines around my eyes, I looked like a bizarre cartoon of myself at eighty.
I chose to do my own makeup for the wedding and it looked suspiciously like my every week going out make-up, but at least Phil would recognise me.
Then it was time to finish dressing.
Normally I never wear dresses. As a child, dresses always got in the way when I climbed trees or hung upside down from the school jungle gym. I still have vivid memories of a traumatising event involving a dress with yellow ducks on it. As I remember it, my mother wanted me to wear it and I preferred to sit on the floor and scream.
Even today I am hardly ever in a dress, partly because I have “tree-trunk” legs, and partly because I still have the feeling that might miss out on some of the action if I have a skirt on.
But, a dress seemed like a good idea for a wedding.
I had scoured wedding magazines and trawled the internet for hours, but no items had featured dresses for overweight, and frumpy middle-aged ladies, so I had gone with my instincts. I found a long white dress with small embroidered flowers at the local discount store. I bought it because it was cheap and it was only two sizes too small.
In the shop mirror it looked quite acceptable, but it wasn't until I took it home that I realised that the back zipper that would not close needed about a yard of material to cover the gap. With just two weeks to go before I flew out to my wedding venue, I purchased a sewing machine, several yards of matching white material and more material in sand coloured satin.
With a little creative sewing, I made a v-shaped insert and then added two strips of material across the back, hoping it would look more like a loop feature I had seen on other dresses and less like a botched extension for a too small dress.
I was unhappy about showing my “cottage cheese” arms and it was too late for an intensive exercise routine, so I made myself a small jacket from the shiny satin sand coloured material. Inside out it was a mess of pulled stitches and unfinished seams, but on the outside it was quite acceptable and it covered my arms to the elbow.
After months of research, I still didn't love my dress. I liked it enough to forget it and enjoy my day, but I felt like the proverbial “mutton dressed as lamb.”
end of excerpt
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