This will be the last snippet of Secondhand Shoes….well…maybe for Regina I’ll post a snippet on Gram for Wednesday. For anyone else if you haven’t read any of the snippets you’ll have to go back and read the other three to understand what is going on.
Mom spun, pulled half a dozen tissues from the box on the vanity next to the full-length mirror, and shoved them into my hand. “Now fix your face.” Out of nowhere, her face softened. “Let’s go.” Her voice sweetened. “People are waiting.”
Mom turned on her heel but stopped, looked at me and said, “You know that I love you and want what’s best for you. That’s all I’ve ever wanted. Why do you think we spent so much money putting you in private school?” After a second, she turned and marched out of the bridal room, leaving the door open behind her.
The man I called Daddy from the time I was four stood with his head down. He looked up and, taking a tissue from my hand, wiped my face.
“Your mother’s probably half-right, you know, honey. It’s nothing more than nerves.” I don’t think he believed this, but how else could he justify his wife’s actions. It irked me, but I didn’t let him see it. Maybe one day when I’m all grown up, I thought.
I nodded as I choked back more tears.
My Daddy gave me a small smile. “That’s my pretty girl. Now blow your nose, and fix your make-up, and I’ll walk you to your groom.”
I blew my nose and fixed my make-up as I thought of my real dad. I wished he could be here today. I jostled my brain trying to remember if I addressed an invitation to him. I know that I did because I tucked a note in with the wedding invitation. That note read:
I know that you and Mom don’t get along. But, I would love to have you walk me down the aisle along with my stepdad. I feel so lucky to have two dads in my life even though I haven’t seen you since I was ten. I don’t know why you haven’t come to see me or call but I would love to see you on my wedding day. Please come.
Mom promised that she mailed out the invitation and note. The week before the wedding Mom placed a yellow post it note on my bedroom door while I was at work. That note read:
Your father is not coming to the wedding. He never received the invitation.
I tried calling him but got his answering machine instead. I left several messages for him to call back. He never did according to Mom.
Mom voiced later in that week that my sister Katy may have intercepted his mail. “Maybe she ripped it up and threw it away. She’s a hideous child that never should’ve been born, you know.” A comment we all heard from the time Katy had turned three.
Finishing my lipstick, my Daddy put out his forearm and smiled. “Are you ready now, honey?”
No. I entwined my arm in his and looked into his amber puppy eyes. We were both Mom’s captives doing her bidding.
“Of course.” Another hiccup freed itself. At least something got to be free. Too bad I can’t be a stomach bubble today. Too bad I can’t float away somewhere.
We walked out of the church’s bridal room and into a long dark corridor. Something shadowy waltzed ahead of us. Silence echoed in the passage to the sanctuary.
Flashbacks of my dream raced around in my head. I could see myself in a mall void of people. Lights dimmed from front to back. I pushed on a glass door. Locked. At full body weight I shoved myself into it. Nothing happened. Not even the slightest movement of air came inside.
I lowered my head and walked toward an escalator. Still and silent it sat. I looked up to the top of it. I saw nothing but an eerie glow. Curious, I lifted my long white dress and took the first step onto it. It jerked and made a humming noise.
The escalator went from unsteady to a smooth glide. I took a few more steps up. Something black and sharp nicked my forehead. A surge of black pointed objects hurled themselves at me. I crossed my arms in front of my face. This lasted seconds.
Something bony and dry touched my hand. The stench of sulfur and death filled my nostrils. I peeked through my arms and gulped down a lump of fear, suppressing a scream. Bulged eyes in rotting sockets looked back at me. Pieces of ash-colored skin hung in clumps below its cheeks and chin. It tilted its head from side to side and groaned. I jumped out of its way, and my long white dress got caught under my foot. I clung to the rail, and it walked along side of me in the opposite direction of the escalator’s destination. More of these zombie-looking creatures came toward me, and a gush of wind hurled tiny pointed objects at me. They bit into my flesh while I continued up toward the light.
The sound of organ music brought me back to reality as my Daddy and I walked closer to my fate.