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ROLLING WITH JAMES JOYCE ON AN IRISH HILL

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ODE TO THE BOOKISH GIRLS

The Bride

Bride elie saab haute couture wedding dress

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“The bride was a shimmering vision; a child under all those layers of fabric, ones she carried with an infectious stillness…”

She had already come to a decision; she wasn’t wearing her engagement ring.

I entered the old ballroom — they made sure she was settled somewhere that allowed for the grandeur of her dress, where there was enough space for her time. The bride was a shimmering vision; a child under all those layers of fabric, ones she carried with an infectious stillness, as inert as the moulding covering the walls of this historic room. I shivered when I saw her in a wedding dress; closing the door behind me, I moved towards her while my gown flowed with every step.

She was staring at the diamond shaped floor tiles — hands on her small waist, with finger nails that were barely clean from the earth of the fields she ran through in her childhood, and elbows that opened up her veil, letting it glimmer in the weak Parisian afternoon sun coming in from the glass doors of the balcony. There was a dark shadow under her eyes, while her untouched lips were red, fervent with the blood of her youth that was livid by the boundaries of the situation she had put herself in.

She wore no accessories, except for the freckles scattered on her neck which had come from summers spent at the beach under the sun while smearing her body with a sandy mud. I looked beyond her, to the two chandeliers, to the light coming in from the glass doors; drops of rain where marking their presence here, as the sun worn afternoon was turning into a dreary rainy evening — the elements were set for a great wedding.

I wanted to go out on to the balcony but I waited for her to come back. I stood there, listening to the piano notes and the merriment coming from downstairs — distant sounds that recalled the ghostly balls held in this room a long time ago. When she raised her head and looked at me, her eyes bore a sadness that was alien to her bones.

“Why would you keep going along with all of this, if you knew you were not going to get married?”

“I thought this day would never come Madeliene. Your wedding day is a daydream you fathom to perfection, but one that never comes, just as old age never really comes.”

“What are you going to do now?”

“I’ve been meaning to go borrow some books from the library,” she said, while heading towards the door carrying the front of her dress.

“Will you be heading to the library in that?”

“It’s a beautiful dress Madeliene, people do need to see it.” She said this with naivety and then trailed off with her long veil following behind.

It really was beautiful, and mine wasn’t any less, so I went and stood on the balcony as the rain fell on petals, on dogs and their masters and on one bride, taking over the pavement as she headed down the street.

Bride elie saab haute couture wedding dress

One bride, taking over the pavement as she headed down the street.
Image source: Elie Saab Haute couture

Story credits: Elie Saab Haute couture.

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