Lace, lipstick and lilies
Jade Goh, Grade 10
It was a flurry of lace, lipstick and lilies. The bridesmaids were perched precariously on lush velvet covered chairs, dressed in Paris haute couture with their French manicured nails patting lacquered hairdos into gravity-defying perfection.
They sat in small cliques all around the room, surrounding her like how diamonds surround a small pearl, twinkling and outsparkling. They helped each other weave small flowers into their hair and squeeze into dresses, two sizes too small. They compared their glitter and exchanged the numbers of their dermatologist. Dermatology was the new therapy in New York.
She sat at the centre of the room, in the middle of all the glamour and tulle. It was her big day after all, she was the star. Everyone else was just a member of the supporting cast, complete strangers, every single one. She had struggled to do up the corset of the vintage Vera Wang by herself, wondering if anyone knew what her favourite flavour of ice cream was. She wondered if ice cream was considered sinful to their strict macrobiotic diets.
Quietly contemplating her reflection, her fingers trembled ever so slightly as she painted her lips China Red. Pre-wedding jitters, Mama said she would get them. Too bad Mama wasn’t here to help her get ready. Her green eyes were lined with mocha and dusted with autumn gold. They were supposed to make the green stand out against her alabaster complexion. She carefully applied Dior Poison on the inside of her wrist, the heady notes of musk and rose reminded her of Jason’s proposal.
She was only a small town Jersey girl and he grew up with Manhattan’s elite. She walked to school everyday and owned three dresses, New York was his playground. A twist of fate and a dash of circumstance, she was engaged to one of Forbes Top 100 most powerful people in America and living out the life of fairytales she used to read. It was like Cinderella meeting her fairy god mother.
Her small town values in New York were as welcome as a pimple on the Oscars. She quickly learnt to adapt to the cold, concrete personalities which put the city’s skyline to shame. How big your engagement ring was and how much you spent on your last pair of shoes were more important than calling your parents every night.
Jason was gorgeous. He was sweet, funny and thoughtful. He was also rich, predictable and boring. She did love him. It was hard not to. She even sacrificed her chocolate chip cookie persona for the low-fat soy milk variety, so popular with the elite upper class. The bible here was the French Vogue and beauty editors were regarded more holy than the priests. It was illegal not to have your highlights down at Bergdorf’s but it was okay to live on a diet of cocaine and alcohol. Heroine chic was back.
She leaned back against the smooth velvet, scrutinizing her lip line carefully. A smudge of red ruined the otherwise perfect line. No! She balled her hands up in despair. It had to be perfect. Green eyes glimmered with unshed tears; each little salty drop that threatened to squeeze out would ruin three hours of make-up. She bit her lip. Don’t cry, don’t cry. Marcie would kill her. Marcie, the wedding planner, treated weddings like reconnaissance missions.
She stared back at the perfectly sculptured eyebrows and honey highlights.
Wasn’t it supposed to be her wedding? Her big day? Why was she concerned about a woman who cake tested and panicked if their client put on two centimetres of fat around their middle section as her job?
Her green eyes, so carefully lined, stared back at the cold emerald ones in the mirror. She knew she looked perfect. Perfect like one of those dolls that Mama used to buy her when she was young. With their carefully curled eyelashes and cheeks that were permanently rosy, they stood stiffly in their white lace dresses as she brushed their flaxen hair. She was like one of those dolls, stiff, uncaring.
She didn’t want to be a doll anymore. She wanted to be that sweet, naïve little girl from Jersey who thought highlights were cotton candy on your birthday or the smell of the grass after the summer showers.
The ten karat diamond that had adorned her ring finger was placed carefully on the table; its carefully cut facets casting dancing lights on the stifling velvet. Jason would understand. She knew he would. He was too immersed in the shallow society to place his fiancée’s disappearing act above the reacting of his friends. It was a three ring circus and in New York, you had to be the juggler, lion tamer as well as the ring master. Love would slowly be replaced by another Malibu Barbie.
She slipped out of the room. No one even noticed her absence, too absorbed in their glass worlds of manicures and Barneys.
Cinderella was leaving the ball.