a Magazine for Writers
My Sister's Wedding
By Bob Liter

"I'm surprised at you, Jan," Maggie said as she sat across from me at Carlotta's Restaurant.

I picked at my lettuce salad and thought of how I'd like to glutton on mashed potatoes and gravy, lots of fattening gravy."

"What?" I said as my mind returned to reality.

"You're jealous of your sister. Don't deny It."

I put my fork down, through with eating rabbit food. I'd born my husband two fine children. Why did I have to diet and ride that darned exercise bike all the time? Just to keep slender for him. He was more interested in my sister's wedding than he was in me anyway.

I said, "You gonna have dessert, Maggie? I want dessert. Something good. Of course it will be fattening. If it's good it's fattening."

Maggie, Margaret Jennings, my best friend, stuffed the last bite of pasta in her mouth, chewed it thoroughly, and said, "You're ignoring the subject."

"And the subject is?"

"You're jealousy of your sister."

"Why should I be jealous of Laura? I'm happy for her. She's getting married, getting married in a church with a fantastic wedding dress, best man and maid of honor, all the parents and relatives there. I got married at city hall with the license in my hand instead of flowers. Why should I be jealous?"

"So that's it. As I remember, you were a sunbeam that day you and Roger were married. You didn't say anything about wanting a fancy wedding then."

She was right. Maggie was always right. Well, almost always. Then Roger, my husband, was studying business administration at Eldridge College and I was a waitress.

Three days after having lunch with Maggie, I was with my sister, Laura, in The Wedding Boutique at Westgate Shopping Center. The wedding consultant, Agnes Williams, who had never been married, was trying for the third time in a week to convince Laura that a Princess dress was just right for her.

Laura, her eyes shining and her cheeks flushed, said, "What do you think, Jan? You try it on so I can really see what it looks like."

"That's a good idea," Agnes said. "Laura can get a better picture that way."

Better picture. Laura had looked at herself in the dress often enough to draw a picture.

My protests were ignored and finally, just to get the business over with, I went into the changing room and struggled into the dress. I had been feeling good for Laura, but now, as I stepped out and twirled before them, jealousy returned.

I felt like crying, I was so ashamed because of my feelings. "My God, Jan. You look gorgeous, just gorgeous," Laura said.

I suppose I blushed. My little sister saying I looked gorgeous. She's the one who looked gorgeous, always had. And for the last several weeks, ever since her wedding was announced, she'd taken on a special glow.

Agnes gazed at the dress, up and down, and circled around me.

"It's nearly perfect," she said. "Maybe I'll let it out just a bit at the waist."

"Don't be silly," I said. "Laura still has her girlish figure. You won't need to let it out."

"Oh, of course not," Agnes said. "I'm such a nut. When someone puts on a dress I just automatically start thinking of what alterations will be needed. Sorry."

She circled me again and looked at Laura.

"It's just perfect, so beautiful. You're beautiful, Jan. Every thing is going to be fine."

I said, "Hey, it's your wedding. Of course everything is going to be fine. You still want me to wear my evening gown. The one I wore to Roger's promotion dinner."

"Sure. Why spend money on another one? You'll look beautiful."

I felt left out as Laura and Agnes whispered while glancing my way. I heard Agnes say, "Don't worry about it. I'll send all the bills to him."

Poor Richie, Laura's finance. How was he going to pay for everything? Well, it was his and Laura's wedding. If they wanted to go into debt what business was it of mine?

The day of the wedding finally arrived. They insisted Roger and I get there early.

"Don't worry about the children. We'll get them there on time," my mother, Alice, said.

She looked great, still reasonably slim with gray hair cut short. I hoped I looked that good when I reached her age.

My daughters, already in their new dresses, the ones they would wear at the wedding, looked older. It made me proud and sad at the same time. They were growing up so fast. Gracie, the youngest, was to be the ring bearer. Katie, our other daughter, coached Gracie on how to do it.

At the church I was ushered into a meeting room and the door was closed. Maggie and Laura were there. Laura, already in her wedding gown, walked back and forth. A dress similar to hers hung from a clothes wrack in the corner.

Maggie pulled the wrack to where I was sitting and said, "Jan, you've got to put this on one more time so I can get a picture of the two of you."

"You don't even have a camera," I said.

Laura, still pacing, said, "We've got to tell her. We can't wait any longer." She stopped in front of Maggie and said, "You tell her."

"No, this is family. You tell her."

I stamped my foot. "Tell her what?"

Laura took a deep breath, said, "All right, if it will get you to change, I'll tell you."

She took the wedding dress from the wrack.

"Roger is paying for the weddings," she said.

"How lucky for you and Richie," I said. "At least he can afford it."

"She said weddings, Jan," Maggie said, a smile on her face as big as Texas. "So get off your bun, change into your wedding dress, and go out there and smile while your wedding vows are repeated."

Bob Liter is a retired journalist. Renaissance E Books has published seven of his novels. He may be contacted at www.bobliter@mtco.com or his website at www.renebooks.com.