“Every thread costs a dollar,” I whispered to myself as I smoothed out my long wedding dress that reached past my ankles. “So, Georgie, if you run past me with those scissors again, or if god forbid you accidentally snag my dress--”
Dad grabbed me by the shoulders and pulled me aside. “Alright, Deliha, I think that’s enough,” he coaxed. “You’re stressed, I get it. Your mother was stressed at our wedding too.” His eyes softened at the mention of my mother. I felt the same sinking pit in my stomach he was feeling. You see, my mother passed away during childbirth--the very second I was born. I never had the chance to experience life with her. Or had the chance to invite her to my wedding.
Dad decided to lighten the mood with a chuckle and quick side story. “You know, we got married right here, in this church. And this one time, right before she walked down the aisle, a waiter spilled wine on her dress and she almost ran out for that. So, just take a deep breath and remain your anti-anxiety breathing technique.”
I started shaking out my hands and pacing in a circle as Dad addressed my troublesome nephew. “Georgie, why are you running? You shouldn't be running in a church, you could knock something over. Where is your mother?”
“It’s cold in here!” He defended as he darted past me like a cockerspaniel on cocaine. “I gotta keep warm! Running keeps me warm!”
“That’s it!” I hiked up my dress and sprinted towards his scrawny body. “Get over here, you little demon!”
Georgie stuck his tongue out me and I dove at him--only to crash into a poor, unsuspecting waiter. “My dress!” I cried. My fingers fumbled with the red wine-stained edges of it. “It’s ruined! Oh, just cancel the wedding! Everything is ruined!”
Dad crouched down next to me, Georgie’s scissors in hand. “Maybe not.”
Not twenty minutes later, I was walking down the aisle with a shortened--but all white--wedding dress, my arm linked with my dad, the tailor, as we both cried silent tears. “I just can’t believe something like this happened again.” I whispered to him.
“Oh? Do you spill wine on a lot of your clothes?”
I blinked and almost missed a step. “Actually no, this was the first time that’s happened to me.” I stared up at the brillant stained glass windows. “This all feels so… familiar. Like I’ve been here before.”
My father dropped me off at the altar. “We have been here a couple of times when you were a little girl. You’re probably just remembering that.” He kissed me on my cheek. “Try not to let a few childhood memories distract you from your big day. I love you,” he whispered to me. Then he turned to my beloved Richard and did not whisper the words. “You break her heart, I break your teeth.”
Richard chuckled nervously. “Ah yes, the famous first words you spoke to me when we first met. How nostalgic.”
The priest cleared his throat. “Um, if you chattering Chesleys don’t mind, I have a funeral to attend after this so…”
Taking a step back, Dad found his seat and we continued. “Do you, Deliha…”
Later that night, Richard and I chambered into the bed in our honeymoon suit. Almost immediately, he started kissing my neck as we sank into the mattress. However, I wasn’t returning any of the kisses.
“Richard, can we talk about something first?”
He pulled back. “Yeah, because everyone knows wedding nights are just famous for their night-long gabfests.”
“Richard…” I pouted. “This is important.”
He pulled out a thermos of hot chocolate from his suitcase. “Then it’s a good thing I came prepared. What’s on your mind, babe?”
I took a shy sip. “It’s just… at the wedding, something was off?”
“Oh my god, you noticed it didn’t you?”
With a raised eyebrow, I said. “Noticed what?”
“That I got carnations instead of roses! The florist said he had too much and would give me a discount! I’m sorry, I didn’t think you’d notice.”
“No, it wasn’t that. Something else about the wedding was off.”
“You did seem distressed. You didn’t even say your big ‘this Dick is all mine’ joke like you were so looking forward to.”
“I know! It took me a week to think of that, you know. It was gold. I just couldn’t shake this feeling that I knew all of this already. Like I had been through it before. And I’m not just talking about going to that church, I mean having a wedding in that church. Wearing the dress, walking down the aisle. All of it.”
“Feel like you’ve had a wedding before, huh?” He fake gasped. “You’re not already married are you?! Deliha! How could you do this to me?!”
I threw a heart shaped pillow at him. “Be serious.”
He draped across the king-sized bed. “Sorry, I’m only sexy. Speaking of which…” Richard softly pulled me into bed. “It is our wedding night.”
I gave him my usual I’d-normally-be-amused-by-this-and-have-sex-with-you-but-this- not-the-time-and-I’m-not-amused-so-stop-or-you-won’t-get-so-much-as-a-kiss-for-a-week. You know, like one does.
Richard sighed. “Alright, maybe if it feels like you’ve experienced it before then… then maybe it’s a past life type deal.”
“Past life, huh?” I echoed. “How do you deal with something like that? Is there a specialist you see or…?”
“We can go see a psychic in the morning if you want. Now please come to bed? I’ve been waiting for this moment since we first sent out those invitations six months ago.”
I jumped beside him and smashed his lips to mine. “Me too.”
Madame Ma-Damn was a person--probably. Hopefully. I stared at a jar of eyeballs and they stared back. Jumping back, I clutched Richard’s arm.
And hopefully, not someone who steals the eyeballs of her clients. I glanced back over at my newlywed husband--who was somehow unaffected by the room filled with jars of random body parts. “Madame Ma-Damn,” he spoke. “My fiance--er, wife has an issue she would like to talk to you about.”
Her gaze made me squirm in my seat like she was a second grade teacher about to bust me for stealing crayons. “Well, you see, the thing is--” I choked.
With my eyes, I begged Richard for help. “What’s she’s trying to say is that she’s been experiencing deja vu lately--like at our wedding yesterday--and we were wondering if it had anything to do with past lives maybe.”
“And how we can make the feelings of deja vu go away,” I added.
Madame Ma-Damn waved her wrinkled hands over a crystal orbs and chanted random words. At one point, I think she was regaling us with her grocery list.
“I see,” she said at last. “It’s… your mother…”
Richard and I exchanged a look. “You mean,” I said, “my mother who died the exact moment I was born? You think she was reincarnated into me?”
“Woah,” he gasped, “this is taking ‘living through your children’ to a whole other level.”
“I don’t wanna be my mom’s puppet! How do I undo it? How do I undo it?!
She shook her head at us. “No, no! You’re not listening to Madame Ma-Damn. For shame! For shame!”
As she chanted ‘for shame’, the entire shack began to shake. I grasped the table and cried. “We’re listening, we’re listening!”
“Your Mama was never reincarnated into you.”
“How can you be so sure?”
She pointed a phony finger to the empty space to the right of me. “Because she’s standing right there.”
“What?!” I screamed as I leaped into Richard’s lap. “You mean a ghost is right there!”
“Hush, child!” Madame Ma-Damn said. “She’s just your Mama.”
“Can you t-talk to her?” I asked.
Madame Ma-Damn nodded. “She can hear every word you say, and I can hear every word she says.”
“So, why… why was I experiencing deja vu?”
She chuckled at the silent answer she received. “Oh that’s sweet. Your Mama was just whispering stories about her wedding the entire time to calm you down. Your subconscious might have just picked up on them. It happens when a living and ghost have a strong connection--like mother and daughter level of connection. Your weddings just happen to be so similar and her stories in such detail, that it felt like you were reliving it again.”
Madame Ma-Damn leaned forward and tightly grasped my hands. “Child, this is nothing to be afraid of. Your Mama just didn’t want you to be nervous on your big day. Nor did she want to miss it."
I felt a tear drop from my eye. “Will--will she be going away after this?”
And this time, Madame Ma-Damn didn’t answer for me, because I felt her words written on my soul. Sweetie, I will always be here for you.