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General

You check the time. Perfect. As usual, you’ve arrived fashionably late.

You quickly step out of your red Ford Fusion and hurry down the parking lot toward the small flower shop tucked between Starbucks and the grocery store. Despite its small size, Blooming Flowers is the most inviting store in this shopping center.

The long strip of shade area in front of the store a bright candy apple red, with a variety of flowers on it. The front side of the shop is made of glass windows from floor to ceiling, providing a clear view of the inside, luring customers in. If that didn’t already attract customers, then the smell will.

The intense smell of the flowers worse than Macy’s perfume section hits you in the face, making you do a double-take. It would be impossible to try to differentiate the different types of flower scents.

Slightly dizzy, you pause and glance down at your white wristwatch again. 9:10 am. You were supposed to be here ten minutes ago. You didn’t realize the traffic would delay you this much, although the perfectionist in you is screaming that you shouldn’t have been here in the first place. This wasn’t supposed to happen. Despite your stressed inner self, you steel yourself and continue walking.

Taking a last deep breath of fresh air, you pull open the front door of the shop. The tinkling doorbell above you signaling your entry.

A bright burst of color invades your vision, instantly followed by the even more powerfully suffocating smell of a thousand flowers.

You head immediately to the front desk, zigzagging your way between flower pots. You keep your nose covered, hoping to avoid the flower your allergic to.

Reaching the front desk— shaped more like a counter— you ring the little red bell by the cashier. You study the desk while you wait. The front side is clear glass, displaying the two shelves inside. They’re filled with mini antique flower pots; most are clay, with intricately engraved designs decorating the outside, but there were a few porcelain pots sprinkled in.

Too busy gawking at the impressive pot collection, you don’t notice the woman emerging from the door behind the desk counter.

“Welcome to Blooming Flowers! I’m assuming your Miss Meyers, here for the 9 o’clock appointment?”, states the middle-aged woman. She was pretty, you notice, with a tall, curvy frame and a kind face.

“Yes, I am. I apologize for being late, an unexpected traffic delay,” you answer with a slight bow of your head.

She shakes her head and waves her hand aimlessly, as if to say ‘you don’t need to apologize’, and waits for me to continue.

You will your nerves to slow down as you attempt to calmly explain the situation. “I received a call from here yesterday saying the wedding flower order I placed a couple of weeks ago was canceled, and that those specific flowers aren’t available. I came here to pick the new flowers which I need to be delivered to my wedding at six pm.” You explain all this while your feet are shuffling from side to side and your hands fidget with your shirt sleeves.

“Oh yes!” The woman’s eyes light up in recognition despite her apologetic expression. “The flowers you ordered were coming from a different state on a shipment arriving yesterday.

Unfortunately, an accident happened and the shipment with your flowers couldn’t arrive. I dearly apologize for this, but we have to compromise. Right, now, follow me so you could pick some new flowers.”

You nod eagerly at the last part and follow her down the flower aisles, ready to finish this task.

“I want flowers that are pale in color— but not too pale—, any colors would suffice— except orange, I hate orange— and Calla Lilies, I’m allergic to them— and they shouldn’t smell too strong, just a light fragrance,” you attempt to describe what you want in a clumsy, rushed paragraph.

Releasing the breath you’ve been holding, you wait expectantly as the woman throws you an amused look and goes on her hunt for your flowers.

You check the time once more. 9:20 am. You should finish this whole ordeal by 9:40 if everything goes right.

After ten antagonizing minutes, you end up choosing white peonies, light pink roses, gardenias, and banana yellow tulips.

Feeling satisfied, you and the woman head back to the cashier to finish the paperwork. Sighing relief when she tells you there will be no extra charges.

Five minutes later, you stride out of the shop, feeling utterly accomplished, because no problem will ruin your wedding day.

***

Glad that you’re back in the fresh air, you breath in, and that’s when the bitter smell of coffee wafts in, taunting and tickling your nose. You glance right to Starbucks next to you. Its brown and pine green appearance a drastic change from the colorful flower shop.

You stare at it longingly for another second, wishing for a coffee to get you through the rest of the day. I do have ten minutes to spare, you think to yourself. With that in mind, you stride to Starbucks with a step in your gait.

When you enter, you groan at the mouthwatering aroma of coffee and sugar, a huge relief from the flowers.

Excited, you order a large hot cappuccino with a blueberry muffin and wait to the side.  

“Name?” the worker asks in a bored tone.

“Celia” you reply with a smile.

As you wait for your order, you check your sister’s flight. It should land at 11:00 am, and you need to be there before that. After studying in Spain for a year, you were so thrilled to see your younger sister that you promised to pick her up. Your parents suggested to pick her up, but you told them you needed them at the beach to take care of last-minute wedding preparations, along with your fiancée’s parents. Your soon-to-be husband was off doing the tasks you gave him, which he blames on your stubbornness to hire a wedding planner. In your defense, it cost a lot of money.

 When your name is announced, you go pick up your steaming coffee and newly baked muffin and head back outside. You scan for your red car as you walk, changing directions when you spot it.

Making sure you’re as comfortable as possible, you start your one-hour drive to the airport.

***

You reach the airport faster than expected, perhaps it’s the fast traffic or the fact that you haven’t stopped talking on your phone.

First, with your fiancée. This morning, you sent him to check on the wedding cake and dinner they chose for tonight’s feast. According to his update call, everything is as it should be.

Although he did refrain from describing the cake, promising it was a surprise.

Next, you called your parents. They assure you “all is fabulous,” they’re words, not yours. All except the missing flowers, which you can tell is frustrating them. But you promise they’ll make it on time.

You relax a little at the good news, but you’re still anxious knowing that anything can go wrong.

Exiting your car, you make a beeline for the airport waiting area, throwing your food trash on the way.

Settling down, you look at the time on the large clock in the waiting room. 10:45 am. Fifteen minutes left. You can wait. You can do it.

***

Fifteen tormenting minutes later, your knees bouncing, your stomach filled with fluttering butterflies, and anticipation growing by the second, you see your sister walking out of the gate with a smile on her face.

She sees you a moment later, and you dart towards her with your heart in your throat. You embrace each other for what feels like a long, long time. You finally pull away when you feel the sharp edge of her purse dig in your stomach. You both release a watery laugh and study one another.

She looks radiant. Her skin a shade darker from the sun, her hair a shiny midnight black, and eyes a bright brown despite her long flight.

“Celia, you look quite bad on your wedding day,” she notes with a raised brow. You look at her with surprise when you hear her new barely noticeable accent.

“And your hair looks like a bird’s nest,” you lie with a grin.

She laughs and hooks her arm through yours, holding her suitcase with the other. You lead her to your car, laughing jesting the whole way.

For the next two hours you and your sister exchange stories of the past year, stories, and events that could only be told in person.

You exchange goodbyes when you drop your sister at your parent’s place to get some rest. She promises she’ll be there when you get your hair and makeup done.

As you drive to the nail salon —your next stop— your mind is finally at rest, free of worry for the moment.

You park your car in front of the salon. Barley made it for your 1:00 appointment. Yesterday, you had a spa day with your soon-to-be sister-in-law, but today is all yours. The last hour of peace before the wedding chaos.

***

Since you picked the nail design before you came, you finished at 1:45 pm, a lot earlier than you wanted. But you can’t deny your nails and toenails were done beautifully.

They were painted a theme of white, light pink, and peach, with a print of roses on one finger of each hand and foot. Some toes and fingers also had tiny jewels and sparkling stones donning them.

Satisfied, you pay for a job well done.

***

You and the rest of your female family members— including a couple from your fiancée family— agreed to meet at the salon at 3:00 pm. You already rented the place for four hours. Four hours that are going to be very, very long for you, due to you not enjoying playing doll for others. But your mother insisted that you needed a professional team to get you ready, and not your sister’s clumsy fingers.

So here you are: four hours later, currently 5:45 pm, surrounded by a team of makeup artists, hairstylists, your mother, your sister, cousins, aunts, and friends; all either getting you glamoured up for your big night or getting ready themselves.

Regardless of your earlier protests, you find yourself to be the happiest you’ve ever been. Surrounded by people you love, laughing, joking, gossiping— there was major tea spilled. Wedding nerves were forgotten. You wish you could put this moment in a bottle and keep reliving it.

As one of the stylists spins your seat to see the final result, everyone takes their phones out, recording your reaction. You don’t bother to fake a gasp, because the young, beautiful woman in the mirror is Celia Meyers 2.0.

Your makeup is flawless. Eyes looking double their size, their dull jade green color brightened by the smoky eye makeup. Your cheekbones look higher somehow, and fuller lips stained a berry nude hue. Most surprising of all, your creamy complexion looks smoother, with no acne scars visible on your cheeks and chin. The power of makeup, you think to yourself with wide eyes.

Your jaw drops as you turn your head to stare in awe at your hair. Your auburn hair now looks thicker, softer, and shinier. It’s pulled up in a loose ponytail, braided down to your shoulder blades in the loosest braid possible. Though how it looks like that, you don’t know. Through your hair, tiny white and pink flowers are woven in, climbing up your hair in a crown. A few long wisps of hair left to frame your face.

Just when you thank all the stylists for their amazing work, your eyes start to get wet, but you force them in, not wanting to ruin the makeup.

Before everyone starts to leave, they congratulate and compliment you, and you thank them back with equal enthusiasm. Soon the place is empty and silent, save your mother and sister. They’re going to help you with the dress or any last-minute touches.

Your mother smiles at you, her eyes shining with pride, while your sister grins in excitement as she fetches the dress and shoes.

The moment is ruined when your eyes snap open wide, remembering—

“The flowers!” you squeak as panic takes hold again.

Your mother eyes you with a confused expression but then chuckles reassuringly. “Don’t worry, I told your father to pick them up.”

You immediately relax, your sister barging in with your stuff.

Your wedding gown was snow-white, off-the-shoulder with long lacy sleeves. It had a tight-fitting top, cinched at the waist, with a long flowy skirt trailing behind. The whole gown was embroidered with intricately beautiful lace designs. The gown was covered with light silver glitter, making it sparkle like a thousand stars.

Feeling like a princess you pull the dress on, sighing in delight at the soft, silky material. Thanking the heavens that you chose a light, comfortable gown for the long night waiting ahead.

You step into your simple white flats, nothing special or fancy. Since the wedding is at the beach, you decided to go barefoot, wanting to feel the sand between your toes.

Your mother and sister applaud appreciatively at your appearance, and you clap right back because they look just as beautiful.

The three of you carefully make your way to your car, which your sister will be driving.

You clutch your mother’s hand the whole ride, the butterflies in your stomach back to pay a visit, but this time with a twinge of fear for the unknown. She squeezes your hand back, silently promising to be there always.

You reach the edge of the beach at sunset, just as planned. Your mother and sister step out of the car after giving you encouraging smiles, taking their places.

Your father opens the door for you, greeting you with a smile and twinkling eyes. Taking off your flats, you exit the car, placing your hand on his arm as your father hands you a bouquet of white peonies, light pink roses, gardenias, and banana yellow tulips.

Nervousness is soon replaced with pure happiness. You take your first step on the beach, feeling your feet sink in the soft, warm sand, and the ocean breeze cooling your heated cheeks.

 You beam, without an ounce of fear or anxiety, as you stare at the painted sunset across the endless glittering horizon. Ready to flip the page of a new book.

June 26, 2020 23:20

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2 comments

Eesha Irfan
22:01 Jul 04, 2020

I've coincidentally been dreaming a lot about getting married and how that day would go and the happiness and emotions I would feel on that day. So this story is something I can really relate to at this moment in time. It's really beautiful!

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Sarah M. Ali
03:16 Jul 06, 2020

Thank you so much I’m glad you liked it! I’m kind of surprised since i’m not even married.

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