Memories From my Sister’s Wedding Reception

Rachel Hyde

1. My head resting heavy on the rim of the toilet. It keeps slipping off onto the floor but I keep picking it up and dropping it back, onto the ceramic rim. This should hurt but it doesn’t. The black space behind my eyes is spinning and when I open them I see that the liquid in the toilet is red. It looks like blood.

2. Leaning over the bar and asking the bartender to make me anything. ‘Anything you want, go crazy,’ I say. I see the best man at the other end of the bar and slide over. I loosen his tie. ‘And one for my friend,’ I say. The best man walks off. The bartender brings me glass of wine and I take it and walk back to my seat.

3. Falling over onto grass. I stand up after two tries and brush myself down. I notice that I’ve spilled red wine onto my dress. The dress is blue which I hate. I told my sister that at the fitting but she bought it anyway. The stain has turned purple. It looks like it is spreading.

4. Sitting in a chair outside in the air next to my father and talking to him about Aunt Kathy’s wedding years ago. Mum had bought my sister a purple dress that went missing on the day of the wedding. Alice blamed me. I hadn’t taken it but my mother believed her. She locked me in the kitchen, until I apologised, she told me, for stealing. The kitchen wasn’t the best place to lock me in since I opened the freezer and ate as much ice cream as I could find, before I started to feel sick. Mum found the dress under Alice’s bed in the end. When she unlocked the door and told me this I wanted to scream, I told you so, I told you so, and I wish I had, but instead I ran to the bathroom. Mum stood in the doorframe with my sister. Alice was still saying that I had hidden it there, under the bed. Mum said, this will teach her, anyway, to steal all that food. Of all the memories I could have told him about Mum. That’s the one I pick. Dad doesn’t respond.

5. Realising that my Dad has dozed off. At this point I think it is a good idea to rinse my dress so I stagger back round to the main building, unsteady on the carpet as I make my way to the toilet. I accidentally walk into a guy coming out of the men’s and laugh and apologise, touching his shoulder and throwing my hair back. I will get his phone number later.

6. Ben resting his hand on my sister’s shoulder as he gives his speech. When he gets to the part about wishing his mother-in-law could be with us today, Alice reaches up and rests her hand on his. Opposite me, my aunt Kathy is crying. I ask her loudly if she would like a handkerchief and everyone at the table looks up.

7. Pinning tiny jewels into my sister’s hair at the kitchen table. She is already wearing the vintage gown that belonged to Mum. She tells one of the bridesmaids that it was her mother’s. ‘The dress my mother gave me,’ she says. But I don’t correct her.

8. Realising the name tag in front of me reads ‘Mrs Hodgson.’ I clink glasses with the guy next to me who looks remarkably like Santa. ‘Cheers, Mr Hodgson,’ I say, and my glass smashes over the table. ‘Don’t know my own strength.’ I say. The waiter comes back around and clears up the glass. I laugh so hard I start to feel sick.

9. Holding onto Ben’s legs on the tiled floor. I say something like ‘go back, it’s your wedding day, go back and enjoy yourself.’ Ben says, ‘It’s OK, we’re just getting you a taxi.’ I don’t want to get a taxi, the night is young, and I want to go back and find that best man, or the guy from the hallway, make the night worth something.

10. Hearing my sister’s voice, somewhere above me.  ‘I told you, Ben. I told you she would do something like this.’ And another voice, closer this time. This will teach you, won’t it, for ruining the wedding. It sounds like my mother’s.


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