Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Borrowed and Blue

"You have such a beautiful dimple when you have a big smile," Carah told me once. Until she pointed it out to me, I never even knew I had a dimple. I do. It's on my right cheek.

"I guess I just never smiled this much before," I said.

She has a crystalline heart, my BFFE. Her very soul wears a tiara of the purest white gold, for she loved me even when my hair looked like this.

I'd never had a best friend before. I never quite fit, somehow, always too slow or too strange or too intent upon wearing little-girl kneesocks pulled tight to the calf when everyone else was scrunching her cotton socks into her Eastlands.

So I hid for much of my college freshman orientation, burrowing into the acceptance I'd long since found between pages or on the flight deck of the Millennium Falcon. Carah knocked on my door the day before classes began. They were showing Forrest Gump against the west wall of the library. Did I want to come?

I peered at her through the doorcrack. Who was this creature who not only accepted my presence, but accepted my presence while in the presence of others?

"Some of you will leave this room and never talk to one another again," our freshman theology professor said two days later. "For others, simply because the housing computer at Saint Mary's College happened to place you in the same building, you will be in one another's weddings."

Carah was married on Saturday, to a Naval officer who makes her dimple too. I stood at her side and stared at the back of her head as she pledged herself to him for the rest of their lives. I could not see her face; I couldn't see the groom's. I could, however, see the blue star.

"I have something old and something new," I heard Carah from the bathroom as her bridesmaids darted in and out of her childhood bedroom in various stages of pantyhose. I ran to my makeup bag, upending the detritus of womanhood on the floor. Eyeliner? Feh. Would people notice if she crammed a stick of deodorant into the bouquet? It was blue... Here are earrings, but she's already wearing a pair.

While traveling, I always pack for Armageddon of the Hair but tend to accidentally leave behind such disposable items as undergarments. The pair of tiny blue star barrettes had absolutely no place in the bag. I don't even know why I took them with me to Cincinnati; they didn't match any of the outfits I'd brought and I was only home for the weekend anyway. But I gathered up those blue sparklies and I took them to my friend and placed one in her left hand, ringless for just few more hours.

"Thank you, MB," Carah said. Again I touched her cheek good-bye.

It cost maybe a dollar forty-nine at Claire's. It didn't match her dress, the flowers, or the stoles the bridesmaids wore. I thought she would bury the barrette in her petticoats, or tuck it beneath the masses of chestnut curls she wore that day. Instead, my friend clipped it to the top of her head, and it shone through her veil like the harvest moon.

It didn't fit in at all.

But she made it a part of her that day, and she didn't care who saw.

fortunate bridesmaid at: mb@blondechampagne.com

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