My parents and I go to the courthouse because they have to sign for me to get married. I’m only seventeen. My mother, as usual, has demands, but I agree. Love is not my only urgency. After they sign we eat lunch at a little diner, blue plate specials, drink water from clear glasses each shaped like half a coke bottle.
I get married in the little church I grew up in, one street over, a hundred yards more or less. The church is filled mostly by my mother’s customers, the boys I played D&D with, a few I used to kiss behind the church. Our brothers and cousins are all in the wedding, which is just before Christmas. We don’t have to buy flowers because there are poinsettas everywhere, and garland. The organist, Phyllis, agrees to replace the Wedding March with the song from the beach scene in Chariots of Fire, the young not-yet-soldiers kicking up sand in running shoes that remind me of old baseball mitts, familiar as one’s own hand, but too small for the task.
Phyllis is mostly blind, and there’s no one beside her to turn the pages. The music sounds more like tripping than running, her play has none of the sweeping arc from the soundtrack, but I don’t care. I wanted to elope and am embarrassed by the whole thing until my father offers his arm, takes the first step, establishes our cadence.
My aunts cater the reception at the local Aerie where Mom’s a member. They cook pasta and beans, fried chicken. My uncle’s band plays “Mrs. Brown You’ve Got a Lovely Daughter” in honor of my new last name.
And all they can talk about is how loud, when it was my turn, I said, “I do,” as if my life depends on it.
Tiff Holland is the author of the novella-in-flash “Betty Superman.” Her poetry and prose have appeared in The Mississippi Review, Frigg, Karamu and many other journals.