Lucille Byrnes

The day remembered, nothing lost

Losing things, even simply misplacing them, was not an everyday occurrence for her.   After all, she didn’t win “PA of the year” back in ’92 for nothing.   That accolade carried a prize of a full set of travelling luggage – leather but lightweight to boot.   The holdall and cosmetic case were packed, ready for tonight’s flight.   She hoped she wasn’t overweight – the luggage, that is.   After all, for two months she had worked diligently at losing those extra six kilos.   They meant the difference between svelte and sumptuous – like a stacked buffet table, she mused.

The dress was a mélange of white meringue-iness, but if she wasn’t careful she could end up looking like a baked Alaska if those tenacious last nasty three kays didn’t disappear.   Trudge, trudge on the treadmill; whrr-whrr went the wheels.   She didn’t lose a beat, adjusted the seat, a frown etched on her forehead.   ‘Mustn’t lost concentration.   Eleven laps to go.’

In the day of every bride there are those little moments that string together strands of time, hers were the memory of when they met.   (How they met, actually – in, of all places, a lift that faltered between floors.)   She recalls the comfort of their courtship and her resolve when, simultaneously with the pull of the cork from a bottle of Veuve Cliquot, he popped the question and she said ‘Yes’ to, “love, honour and …”.   OK, so perhaps “obey” was a tad old-fashioned but she was determined to give it her best shot.

She’d had four years working towards today.   Now those strands of time, the little moments would pay off and they’d tell the world, shout it to their family and friends that today was merely the start of new memories, never to be forgotten.

Had she indeed forgotten anything?

The invitations had been mailed the requisite six weeks before the countdown to D-Day – or in her case The Day.   ‘I’ve got the “something old”,’ she recalled, ‘Granny’s veil’.   Thank goodness that didn’t get lost in transit.   The “new” bit could be just about anything – from shoes to shift, as long as it’s never been used before.   The “something borrowed” could mean that the original must have been lost.   She couldn’t think what that could possibly be – that she had lost, that is.   Had she not rather gained?   Debatable, one could argue, but then, opinions are always subjective.

Her hair had lost none of its lustre albeit she had been talked into cutting and colouring it.   The bob is very much the rage and that luminous gel will add a touch of glamour to the rather secretarial style, they’d said.   But is a fringe really flattering, she wondered.   No mind, no matter.   What’s done can’t be undone.

Now she knew how Cinderella’s Ugly Sisters must have felt, wincing at the pain of trying on the white brocade shoes.   Tight they are – as a duck’s you-know-what at 60 fathoms.   Oh well, it’ll all be over in a couple of hours and then to the Drakensberg where they’ll lose themselves on honeymoon.
Hope the photographer remembers to feed film into the camera.   He looked a little young to be taking on a society wedding.   Nice Nikon, long lenses.   He didn’t lose an f-stop in presenting a professional portfolio either.

There’s a three-piece band with a five-star sound.   Neat name: A-rhythmix.   Price was way out, but no bloody discount for cash.   Glad Dad’s paying.   We’ll make them earn their bread though by playing till one.   Bloody hell.   The first dance is supposed to be a waltz – that 1-2-3 bit.   Maybe DIY Riaan gives lessons.   Mmm – fancy “True Love” but have they even heard of Pat Boone?

The sauvignon blanc is labelled Lost Horizons and the reds are from Allesverloren.   Hope the best man doesn’t mislay his speech – or the rings for that matter.

The florist lost the original order for the posy and the bouquet.   That made Mom lose her temper at the waste of good time.  Hope the deliveryman doesn’t go and lose his way.   Or the chauffeur steering the stretch limousine.   It’s the in-thing for a bride to be late, but she’s so excited she’ll probably arrive early, before the guests have filed into the pews edged at each end with huge white satin bows, their initials entwined in a hoop of a heart.

The dress is buttoned and her veil is in place.   She slips on her shoes and slides into the car.   At the church Dad takes the arm of his one and only child.   They step onto the red carpet.   Da-dum-dee-dum, da-dum-de dah.   The familiar strain of the Wedding March refrain resonates around the arches.   Let the games begin!

Slow of step, his hand tightly gripping her elbow, her father turns to her and mouths, ‘I haven’t lost a daughter; I’m gaining a son’.   Then he regains his poise, picks up the pace and proudly leads her down the aisle.   At the altar he releases her — lets her go — and hands her over to her new life.

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