It was all over so quickly. The mumbled vows, the best man’s drunken toast, the broken glass, her princess dress tight around her ribs, her maid-of-honor caught in a bathroom stall with the Rabbi’s son. Her husband smooshed a slice of wedding cake into her mouth, the cake tasting of cloying buttercream. Husband, both a noun and a verb, to use sparingly. He shed his shiny rented tux jacket and danced, arms flung over the shoulders of his groomsmen, sweat stains under his arms and in a semi-circle on his back. Her mother told her friends, He’s a great catch, while the women danced circles around each other. When the groomsmen lifted her up on a straightback chair, she was scared she’d fall, gripped one corner of a yellow-stained handkerchief (the something old) while he held the other. At the Seaside Motel, the clerk leered, This way to paradise. The pushing and pulling, the absurdity of her legs in the air, her something blue painted toenails caught in the strafing headlights of passing cars, his moaning. A rectangle of sunlight from the gap between the heavy curtains creeping over him, clad in only a white shirt and socks, the skin on the back of his thighs goose-pimpling. The mauve polyester bedspread spilled onto the carpet. In middle school, she’d written in sparkling purple pen a new signature on the paper bag cover of her American history book: Mrs. Harry Styles. The hot shameful joy when Mr. Mori saw it and crooned “You Don’t Know You’re Beautiful.” Now, her eyes sticky from sleeping in the mascara she’d applied so carefully the day before.
Lori Sambol Brody lives in the mountains of Southern California. Her short fiction has been published in Smokelong Quarterly, Tin House Flash Fridays, New Orleans Review, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. Her stories have been chosen for the Wigleaf Top 50, the Best Small Fictions 2018 and 2019 anthologies, and Best Microfiction 2021.