From San Diego Momma’s Prompt Tuesday, Flash Fictionalize…”the point of no return…
an unedited piece of fiction, under 1000 words. Ok, mine is a tiny bit over, sorry! No, I OBVIOUSLY did NOT edit. UGH.
The day was a stunning array of primary mixed with pastels, yet looked grey to Clarissa. Everything was perfect, from the brilliantly shining sun to the warm breeze that wafted through the open window and insisted on gently lifting her veil, giving teasing glimpses of her perfectly made up face.
She tried to control her breathing by slowly inhaling and exhaling, easing the feeling of panic that threatened to expose itself, cracking her calm facade.
If only she had taken that half a Xanax her friend Eileen had offered her, then maybe she would be able to smile without her cheeks shaking and she’d be able to stand without feeling as though she would vomit. She wrapped her arms around her waist in hopes of giving herself a calming hug.
Alone in the room, she stared at herself in the bridal suites full-length mirror, refusing to look past the surface. Her Vera Wang splurge clung to her, they were perfectly partnered. She was the picture of bridal perfection. At least that was something that made her happy, she was exactly how she wanted to be for this occasion.
Duran Duran’s Ordinary World came on the radio, she turned it up and sang as she stared at her reflection, drowning out her internal voice’s sage advice and trying to avoid the tears that threatened to burn a flesh colored trail.
This was how all brides felt, this had to be. After all, what could she possibly be apprehensive about? Michael was a good catch. Everyone said so. He was handsome and powerful.
Yeah. She neglected to inform anyone that, despite the gorgeous home she’d be moving into, the 5 carat Tiffany diamond and all the fancy any girl could want, he was emotionally and borderline physically abusive.
They put on a good act in public, no one ever suspected what really went on when doors and windows shut.
She hated him.
She was, for the first time in her life, scared, weak and defenseless. She was held captive by his power in more ways than one. Clarissa was about to walk down the aisle and give away her last drop of freedom in exchange for a prominent last name. She’d be Michael’s prisoner until he decided they were no longer going to be together. Even then, she knew he’d never let her go, at least not in the same state of being she is now.
A loud rap on the door broke her Duran Duran induced spell and she turned off the radio. She looked briefly at the clock, knowing without seeing that it was time.
She glided hesitantly toward the door, her Stuart Weitzman strappy sandals digging painfully into her toes, a foreshadowing of the life she was about to enter into. Beauty doesn’t necessarily mean comfort, she reminded herself. Besides, Michael bought them for her and if she didn’t wear them, well, she didn’t want to think of the consequences.
Clarissa felt the panic start. She had to stop and lean against the wall for a moment to recompose herself, the party planner assistant gave her a knowing smile and she nodded in return. She was sure that the woman assumed that Clarissa was nervous in anticipation, which was a more typical response prior to the bridal march.
In Clarissa’s case, she felt more like this was the march of death.
She was posed in front of the double doors where, on the other side, sat the guests and groom. All turned and waiting for the bride to make her grand entrance.
The beginning notes of Pachabels Canon sounded, the doors were opened, exposing Clarissa to the attendees. A collective gasp was heard, awed by the stunning beauty of the bride. Tissues to faces, smiles and small waves, Clarissa scanned the group, taking note of the exit sign by the chuppah.
An exit. The last small glimmer of a life that she could still have, sealed with a fire alarm but there nonetheless.
She wiggled her numbing toes within her shoes and began to walk. Greeting her parents. Staring with false adoration at her groom, who couldn’t take his eyes off her. Going through the motions practiced at the rehearsal the day prior.
Michael met her and they walked up to greet the Rabbi under the chuppah.
Her shoes. Were killing. So, as inconspicuously as possible, she used one foot to take the back off the other and then repeated with the other side.
The Rabbi was talking, sounding to Clarissa like an adult in the Charlie Brown cartoons.
She took off her shoes, sideways glancing at Michael who smiled at her.
Clarissa stared, for a moment, at the exit sign. Fighting the old Clarissa internally to keep from running toward it, she stepped back into her shoes.
Then out again.
Michael gave her a look.
She smiled coyly at him.
And put her shoes back on.
The old Clarissa pushed aside the weak one.
She turned to the guests and apologized.
She threw off her shoes and ran toward that exit sign, Michael’s grasp just missing the bottom of her gown as she bolted toward her freedom.
All she had on her was the $50 bill she had put in her bra, a seemingly silly family tradition her mother told her about. “Just in case, dear. You never now when you’ll need mad money.” Thank goodness for silly family traditions.
Clarissa knew that she past the point of no return, running out from her wedding would be deemed unforgivable by Michael. She also knew that she’d have to keep running, for a very long time. Michael was that powerful of a man and wouldn’t rest until he found her and punished her.
But, she also knew that she would do whatever it took.
She’d figure it out, the old Clarissa was wiser, stronger and in charge.