The Universe Dress
by Laura-Marie Steele
I’ve never been the biggest fan of weddings. Some women plan weddings from childhood. They draw pictures of the dress they’d like to wear and collect magazine cuttings of flowers or venues, but not me. I’d never even thought about it before. I’d always seen myself as the adventurous type, trekking off alone across the world. Maybe that was why I felt strange, staring at myself in the mirror, on the day of my own wedding.
“You look beautiful.” Mum wiped her eyes with the corner of her bathrobe.
“The lips,” Aunt Julia said, with a twist of her own, “can’t we make them a bit darker?”
My two cousins, Emily and Amelia, began to rummage in the suitcase of cosmetics they’d brought with them. They’d already attacked me with all sorts of colours and turned me into a doll with pink-spotted cheeks.
Aunt Julia took charge of the curling tongs, scooping and pulling up my hair. Lipsticks were passed around, tiaras were polished, hairbrushes were located, dress fit was discussed. Everyone struggled to get ready in the small space that had been my bedroom for the past nineteen years, and I sat in the middle, calm and silent, like the eye of the storm.