Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The One

The rustle of taffeta and silk and netting.

A wedding dress, going up and over.

No other sound like it in the world.

One of my friends, Wendy, asked me to go wedding dress shopping with her, her mom and her future mother-in-law.

I was very honored to be asked, because to me, it's a pretty darn special time. Her mom was a bit frosted that it wasn't just going to be her and Wendy, but she loves me, so she got over it. Wendy's future MIL was a lot of fun - luckily for Wendy!

Bringing me along served two purposes for Wendy - I'm unfailingly honest, especially when it comes to clothes, and I can easily tolerate - and distract - her mom.

This is Wendy's second marriage. Her first mercifully ended not even a year after it began. I like to think I had a small part in getting her the hell away from that controlling, misogynistic a-hole who liked to use the Bible to justify why he was In Charge.

He was mean. Horribly, viciously mean.

Wendy and I had a lunch while she was debating what to do. She cried through the entire thing. She was in her mid-20s. She struggled with the stigma of having a failed marriage, of being divorced so young - despite her husband's propensity of making her feel smaller than a dust mote and just about as useful.

This is a woman who had more self-esteem and joy in her little finger than most people have in their entire beings.

And it is tough for her - at 6 feet tall - to feel small. But she did. I was sad for her. But also optimistic.

I told her that I would support her no matter what her decision was. I also pointed out that she could either be divorced and likely happy again. Or she could stay married and be freakin' miserable. Forever.

She later told me (she moved out shortly after) that knowing I'd support her no matter what made a huge difference. That made me feel good. I was paying it forward in a sense, as a good friend told me the same thing when I was debating whether to break up with a particularly damaging boyfriend.

So it makes me thrilled to see Wendy so happy now. And so proud of how brave she was and how far she's come.

Walking around the bridal shops definitely took me back. I remember the excitement, the endless racks of possibility, and also the mountains of hideousness that hung side-by-side with The Dress, wherever it might be.

I watched brides-to-be trying on all manner of dresses, from a mermaid style to a pouffy creme puff to a fitted sheath to a beaded monstrosity.

It was tough not to smile at the women. They turned this way and that in front of the mirror, no doubt imagining if this was it, the Perfect Dress to wear down the aisle, the one to make her latent Princess dream come true.

We waited for Wendy to find hers.

And then she did. It was very simple. Ivory. Heavy silk. Strapless with a smooth bodice before the skirt fell in folds.

It wasn't the dress that made her beautiful. It was the way she floated out of the dressing room. Of the smile of expectation that lit her face.

She knew.

We knew.

She found The One.

She deserves it. She's worked hard.

She's already found herself.


OCHalf07 said...

This is so beautiful! I'll have to tell you about my convo with the BFC regarding her wedding, etc. Not quite as moving but good for some laughs.

Cheryl said...

You are too kind... I can't wait to hear about BFC!!!!

Jennifer said...

It is such a privilege to be asked along! I will never forget the moment my sister emerged from the dressing room wearing "the one". You captured it perfectly.

Cheryl said...

Thanks, Jennifer! It really was a cool thing to get to do.

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