Saturday 26 June 2021

'Behind My Bridal Back' by Harriet Rosenthal-Stott

My wedding photo sits on the mahogany mantelpiece, next to the TV. Black suit, white frock. Brylcreem and an updo. Holding hands on the church steps. Confetti. Smiles for the photographer.

Bound by a silver-plated frame chosen from our gift list.

I touch the glass and leave a fingerprint on my bodice.

A daily ritual.

I think of pushing a hole through the frame and through my body, to touch your face beneath. Your photo sticks to my bridal back. Behind the day filled with a towering white cake and drunk-dancing relatives raising their glasses to me, is the last day I spent with you.

We bought ice-creams from a van and walked arm-in-arm along the promenade. Ate each other’s flakes and threw the ends of our cones to waiting seagulls. Ran along the sand holding our sandals and skirt hems and got our feet wet with the tide. We jumped and span and twisted. Sea-spray tangled our hair and I snapped you as you smiled and gave me a look that radiated and warmed my beach-cold fingers. We ate chips on the wall and watched the sky above the summer sea turn orange and pink.

It should be us at the front of the silver frame.

Our cold fingers interlocked on the church steps. Confetti falling through our tangled beach hair. Laughing and twirling as we dance bare footed to our song.

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