by Cynthia Bunker
Of peach-colored chiffon was the bridesmaid dress I wore one summer long ago to an evening wedding. It was a large, picture-book wedding, and the reception was in the rose garden of a fine French restaurant. We maidens-in-waiting were to frame the bride in a soft pastel blur floating through the summer night.
I remember it was so hot, the humid buzz of late June in rural Maryland. The crickets sounded my pulse, the long, draped chiffon gown clung. Yet I also remember how I couldn’t help but marvel about what it was like to glide about, on the arm of an attentive man, in soft candlelight. Never before in my life had I felt…elegant.
When it was time for dinner we were seated with our color-matched escorts at the edge of the dance floor, next to the little orchestra. I remember the sparkling champagne and my first taste of French wine, I can still see all the fancy tableware, the glowing eyes and cheeks. The main entrée arrived, coq au vin in a rich reddish brown sauce. I knew my manners, had even practiced eating daintily. But with so much to take in, I guess I was a bit distracted. Or maybe it was the wine?
I was secretly enjoying the furtive glances at my breast my debonair escort was taking as the plates were cleared and the orchestra kicked in for the newlyweds’ first dance. We bridesmaids all rose and in practiced formation, paraded to the dance floor as the wedding party watched in delighted silence, and photographed away. We surrounded the couple and began our waltz to flashing cameras. I remember how the bride’s mother gave me this big round-eyed grin. I probably giggled back at her.
It must have been about an hour later when I went to the ladies’ room to freshen up. As I glanced in the mirror I saw the inches long, red-brown greasy drip adorning my delicate peach-chiffoned breast. It was in perfect symmetry to the seductive little tuck between my boobs. I remember literally freezing in horror.
The rest of the evening I spent safe and sound as a wallflower in a forgotten corner, observing the party getting louder and drunker. The debonair escort had long abandoned me to get plastered with the young guys.
Months later my married friend sent me the professional photograph of all of us bridesmaids surrounding the newlyweds as they were beginning their first dance. What a marvel of technology, I thought, how I would forever be remembered as this perfectly lovely, slightly blurred young figure in chiffoned peach, smiling at the bride.