Twitter Photo Challenge 2019
Twitter Photo Challenge
Submission on April 24, 2019
Photo credit: Mandy Lawson
’Til Death Do Us Part
By Sierra Dougherty
I sat there, peering through the dimly lit lantern at the bride and groom. Everything was breathtaking. The tables were adorned with blush and burgundy peony petals that rested on ivory stained linens. I hope, if it’s ever my turn, that my wedding will be even half as beautiful as this one. I listened as the DJ introduced them onto the dance floor and played their song, At Last by Aretha Franklin. The glow of the flame cast shadows that danced across the gold glittering runner, echoing each swish and sway of the brides gown during their first dance. I smiled wide, clenching my teeth, making chipmunk cheeks at everyone I encountered but, I wasn’t fooling anyone. Dropping my head, I picked at my fingernails trying to swallow the lump in my throat; praying that no one would see the excruciating pain on my face.
Swallowing my last drops of champagne I thrust myself from my seat and headed towards the ladies room to freshen up. “No one wants a stalemate!” I repeat to myself. My mother had a love affair with chess. Any time there was an opening for a horribly punny joke, she took it. Those were her famous last words before my sister and I headed out the door this evening. I stared at my reflection in the mirror assessing the nights damage, not horrible. My mahogany curls held up nicely and my eyeliner was still in the perfect almond shape as it was before. I was worried given the nights ‘festivities’ that I looked like something out of My Bloody Valentine. Just a little powder to cover the few remaining red specks will do. I Blotted the oil from around my nose and dabbed on the pearlescent compact. Reaching out, I turned to leave when the door burst open.
I quickly recoiled my hand, jumping back ten feet in the air. I landed in front of the courtesy side table using it as a crutch until I caught my breath, watching as a storm of black tuxedo and royal purple chiffon bustled into the last stall slamming the door behind them. Apparently the bathroom was a private enough place to fornicate. I escaped before the party got started, tossing my body through the double doors of the ballroom as if I was running from death himself.
“Nice entrance,” Jeremy snickered. It was graduation all over again.
I stood in the corner twiddling my thumbs waiting for the time to pass. I told Bettina, my younger sister, that we could stay until 10:30. We started hearing whispers around the ballroom, everyone asking where the groom was. I hadn’t given this part much thought until everyone had formed an all out search party for him. Then the shrieking started. We all sped toward the screams, I was the first to get to there stopping abruptly in the doorway to the groom-suite. The bride was covered in her husbands blood, staining her brilliant white lace dress.
“Call 911! Call 911!” I said, running to the bride pulling her off of Ben’s gray corpse.
Ben isn’t someone I remember fondly. He used me in high school and when he got what he wanted, he was gone. Rumors went around that I was the crazy one, clingy, and overly emotional. He was right to some extent. I mean, if he wasn’t, I wouldn’t be here right now. This wedding, these people, the candle lit lanterns and passed hor d’oeuvres, it was all supposed to be mine. When the police arrived we each gave a statement and were asked to go back to the ballroom. They announced to the crowd that no one was to leave the premises until they had spoken to everyone, effectively ending my 10:30 curfew. We sat around whispering to ourselves, some more affected than others. It was like being a part of one of those murder mystery parties. Unfortunately the bride and I were prime suspects because we ‘found’ his body.
After hours of questioning, the department decided to let those who had already given their statements to leave and anyone of interest was to stay. I drove my sister home and cleaned myself up. I’ll never forget the look on my mothers face when she opened the door. Her eyes widened as she stared at me from top to bottom. Her skin turned pale white and her jaw dropped to the floor. If only she knew the truth. I waited for news about Ben’s killer. Constantly wondering if the police would put the evidence together, if the case would go cold, or how long we’d all be waiting.
A week flew by, sorrow and silence seemed to turn our home into a ghost town. The sirens were the loudest thing we’d heard since the wedding night, so close that I could track which roads they were on as they headed in my direction. This was it. I kept asking myself if killing Ben and stealing the happy ending from his bride was worth it, but the answer was always, yes. I arranged my things and headed downstairs waiting for the knock at the door. It wasn’t until the first squad car flew past my house that I stepped outside to see the commotion. Four houses down on the left-hand side the squad cars gathered. Seven of them to be exact. The blue and red lights clouded together creating a purple haze around the young widowers red brick colonial.
She was escorted from her home wearing a navy blue thermal and faded skinny jeans, her hands cuffed behind her back. “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in the court of law.” The police officer recited. I darted back inside, clambering up to my room, dead-bolting the front door behind me. My window had a birds eye view of the street and I wanted to be sure to see my victory parade depart in the comfort of my four yellow pastel walls. One by one, the squad cars started their engines and merged into traffic. Flashbacks of the funeral procession played in my mind until they disappeared into the void where the pavement meets the street lights. Framing was easier than I thought.