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I’m selling my wedding dress and I’m sure my mother doesn’t want me cryogenize it, freeze it and preserve it for posterity. She quietly backed into the topic while were were talking on the phone about the minutia of moving back to Guatemala, to all of Central America, but for three years this time. It starts out with a simple question: “What will you do with your wedding dress?” Right now it’s on eBay, Craigslist and a boutique wedding dress website that will pour oodles of bridezilla money down my way for a new digital camera or feed into the new Toyota Tundra fund. It’s only a matter of time.
“Well you know I was thinking, maybe if you decide to ever adopt a little girl, maybe she could wear the dress?” What little girl mom? An imaginary girl somewhere in the future? And what if she doesn’t get married, what if she’s gay, what if she’s obese, what if she couldn’t care less about a yellowing lace dress that her mother had kept all these years just for her to wear, for what, exactly so her mother has a visual symbol of the continuity? What if I’m the last person she wants to be reminded of?
“Well, then, you could have your dressed preserved, like people’s bodies get preserved or frozen.” I should freeze my dress?
“I was just saying, mija, what if you change your mind? I could keep it for you.” The last time, I remind her, she safely stored anything of mine was when I left for college and she and my stepfather forgot to pay storage and all my boxes of photos, art, books, clothes and my favorite oak desk were sold by some random guy in North Carolina backwoods town. “But I don’t do that sort of thing anymore.” The scorpion bites and the frog jumps, ma. “I’m not a scorpion.” No, but you’re a fire and you burn through things. “People change.” Maybe, but their essence stays the same. And what does any of this have to do with selling the dress? I wasn’t listening. I was going to sell it and that was that. “Lo voy a vender, si solo es un vestido.”
I understand,” she said quietly. I immediately got off the phone and told her I was going for a run. Estaba alterada. I ran and I ran, against the wind, as the sun peered through the mounting gray clouds. I thought perhaps like reverse engineering, my mother was reverse inheriting a legacy. Perhaps because she never had a vestido de novia, she wished she’d had one to present to me, a gift a mother gives to her daughter, of herself, of her innocence, of her youth, of her hopes and dreams embodied in one dress that women in the US and UK were now burning in protest of the bridal industrial complex. I felt her sadness now in her silence. She always accepted my revolt, because in part it was hers.
She would keep it for me because that would be her gift, that would be our tie formed from myself to her, a trust as fragile as the lace that lined the blusher draping over my back. She’d spent hours on my hair before the wedding. It’s all I wanted from her, to take the tangles out. My scalp throbbed for hours later. I sat crossed-legged on the chair with my little radio listening to the news and she hummed to herself.
A pear cannot fall from an apple tree. If I had listened I would have heard the branch rustle. I would have heard the fruit’s journey through space, time a moment’s breath, as it fell towards it destiny, hit hard against the ground – a noise perhaps no one would ever hear. It would use the momentum of gravity to exert some will into its final place and then bide time under the sun.
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