Stories

Someone’s Blue – Joanna Rafael Goldberg

The man looked at his lover. If she could be the last thing he ever looked at, he could be a happy cadaver.

        Ought we get hitched? Spliced? He proposed.

        Don’t be blithe. I’ll be your fiancé. Your bride. Your wife, the woman obliged.

        After our vows we can die.

        Let’s share a plot at the nice cemetery.

        I promise to be your emergency contact with benefits. To have and to hold, eternally, like the preserved of Pompeii.

        Save it for the altar.

        Her parents approved with a flowery dowery. His popped a bottle of formaldehyde. She wore a tiara to her hen party—the tinsel spelled the word BITCH. He wore a two-bit stripper on his head his stag night. He behaved less like a bachelor than like a swine, but his betrothed did not mind.

        Because you’re mine.

        O babe! O blah! Oh dada!

        Life goes on.

        The day came. He perched like a figurine at the altar. She lingered in the dressing room and stared into the vanity with the lights turned off. Darling! She thought. Fresh and fashionable thanks to Elizabeth Bathory’s skincare regiment, Medusa’s hairstyle, Cleopatra’s preferred brand of eyeliner and a gown designed by Eve herself. Mother of the bride hated the holes in the lace, but the bride looked lovely. The bridal party agreed she looked like a legend.

        You look like a princess, her best maid said.

        Thank you. It’s true. I got in a car accident on the way here.

        Bride had abstained from all food but nova scotia lox for the entirety of the engagement. Too famished to walk, she rode her father’s back down the aisle. On the way, she slurped up her veil in one go like a noodle. Still hungry. Gobbled up father’s white kippah right off his head. A nibble of tulle from her crinoline. Insatiable.

        Of course she brought good luck charms down the aisle. Something old? Tradition. Something new? A ring. Something borrowed? Time. Something blue? So much blue, like the bride’s face from holding her breath until they made their vows and a rhapsody the organist would prefer to play, and the feathers on the peacock roaming the estate wherein the party would take place in about a half of an hour.

        The time came for the Official to make a request of the guests:

        Does anyone have a reason to stop these two from cuffing? If not, hold your peace or let them fall to pieces like Patsy Cline.

        Does anyone among their kin know that he will break her like the glass poised under his foot? That she will cut and prune him until he’s the clippings of foliage left on the florist’s floor?

        Naturally, some guests did have reasons to halt the nuptials, but they said nothing. Not even the man who was in love with the bride. Or the groom’s great aunt privy to the bride’s bad side. But o, but o, no one would not come between bliss. The hearts in their pupils convinced the party to stay silent and clench their objections inside. Don’t break this spell. They’ll do that themselves.

        Then let them vow and lock lips and glow-in-the-dark over their love, the Officiant said.

        I thee wed. Mooned the groom.

        Can’t wait to be dead. Sighed the bride.

        Do you undertake this woman to be your lawfully wedded

        I do.

        And you?

        I do.

        A glass cracked. Bells tolled. The lovers kissed. Adieu to two. Her face pinked and his blued. The colors swapped again. Again. They breathed one breath back and forth until the death of their parts.

        Such a beautiful ceremony was chased by an immaculately planned reception. No children. Rubber Cornish hens wearing paper booties, gooseberries still dressed up in their papery skins, and a make-your-own Bloody Mary bar. Isn’t she lovely? The band played. She was.

        When asked about the still unplanned honey moon, the newlyweds made jokes.

        Chernobyl?

        Hiroshima!

        The Bikini Atoll!

        North Korea?

        Guantanamo Bay.

        The evening was lovely, her eyes misted, his gleamed. They were both so happy, at some sort of high. The flush of this moment was ephemeral, they secretly knew. It’s down hill from there. She’ll never wear a dress that nice again, and those were the last toast’s that would be made to them. Achieving that height of happy they felt right that now, the most in love lovers lovingly loving right then, set them up for a pendulum swing right to their guts. But that won’t be for ages, months, decades, or fifty-years.

        They swayed and kissed family, and fed each other cake. She sent her bouquet hurtling into her best friend’s face. The new husband smoked cigars with his future pallbearers, clouding the glass greenhouse with carcinogenic fumes.

        At the end of the night, husband and wife bound their ankles together with tin cans on strings. His and hearse’s rattle away on their three-legged race against no one into gridlocked streets. Just married.