portion of the artwork for Christine Simokaitis's fiction

The Beginning of the End
Christine Simokaitis

In my other life right now, it’s my wedding day. My groom’s procession will wind through town to my house, where we will have drinks and exchange gifts, and then we will all proceed together to the temple where there will be vows and feasting. I have chosen bridesmaids to accompany my groom in the procession from his house. They have cute gowns and flowers and oil lamps to use later when it’s dark and they need to get home.

But something has happened to detain my groom. I don’t know what. Doubt, perhaps, or lack of pomade. Possibly a camel spit on him and he needed to change his robe, or he cut himself shaving. Maybe the figs and dates have not been delivered. In any case, he is not ready. He is not ready for the wedding ceremony. Perhaps he is not ready for marriage. All I know is that I’m waiting.

The sun moves across the sky. It will be getting dark soon.

Good thing my bridesmaids have those lamps.

I feel like maybe my groom is ready now. My hair is dirty and matted from all the sitting around and waiting I’ve been doing, and I’ve been dipping into the wine barrel to calm my nerves. But I do feel now like maybe my groom is ready to get his ass over here and do this. Like if I steady myself on the window sill and look really hard, I might see a wending file of flickering lamplight out there in the darkness.

My bridesmaids really shouldn’t have needed their lamps for the procession here because it was supposed to happen in the daylight. They would have brought them for later, to get home after the feasting. Now, as it turns out, they needed their lamps all this time as they were waiting in the dark until almost—what?—midnight?—for my groom to get the hell over here.

He should have had his shit together already, but he didn’t and now it’s dark and I don’t know if he’ll be able to find me or not. Because guess what? Even though they have their lamps, those lamps have already been burning for a long time with the waiting and scrambling to get over here. I love my girlfriends, but let’s face it. Some of them are a little ditzy. Lamps are one thing. Extra oil? Might be a bit much to ask. At this point, I can only pray that someone there planned ahead and prepared herself for who-knows-what and can now accompany my groom through the pitch darkness which is really all I see when I steady myself on the windowsill and look really hard.

No. You know what? I’m done. I’m not waiting anymore. Screw him and his scrambling. That’s it. I’m blowing out my candle and going to bed. Just going to put my pj’s on right over my stained dress and lay down on the couch in front of the TV, with my dirty hair and wine breath and matches in hand. Yeah. You know what I say? I say, good luck to you in your darkness. Good luck with that.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 42 | Fall 2013