November 1, 2007


The Bridesmaids' Dresses

by Laura Yeager

I had chosen three lovely women to be in my bridal party. There was Linda, who was a lifelong friend. She had married at 18 and knew a lot about staying married. A gifted artist, she was coming up from Virginia to be in my wedding. Then there was Monica, a woman I knew from teaching writing in Pennsylvania. Monica was a poet and a lesbian who hadn't yet met her life partner. Finally, there was Jan, my best friend, who was also single and lived in Florida. Jan was a periodontist and the closest thing I had to a sister.

I hadn't chosen my bridal colors when I went to look at bridesmaid's dresses. I just wanted to see what was out there. I knew I needed three and that I was going to buy the dresses and mail them to my bridesmaids. The dresses would be my gift to them.

One day about three months before the wedding, I was driving around when I saw a bridal store. "Bridal Party," it was called. Being relatively low on cash, I decided to go in.

The store was packed with dresses. Purple, blue, pink, yellow, peach, green—all the colors of the rainbow. The wedding dresses hung on the far wall, blooming flowers of white.

A woman approached me. She wore jeans and was smoking a cigarette. "Can I help you?" she asked.

I saw a sign. "ALL BRIDESMAID'S DRESSES—$30.00."

Boy, had I got lucky. I wondered why they were so cheap.

Then, I heard something. A tweet tweet. It sounded like a bird. I looked up. There were several birds sitting on the rafters.

"I need some bridesmaid's dresses," I said.

Suddenly, three of the birds took off and flew to the other side of the store.

"We've got a lot of bridesmaid's dresses. Any particular color?"

The woman acted as if the birds weren't there.

"I haven't chosen my colors yet," I said.

"Well, they're all on sale. $30.00 each. We've got a lot of styles, sizes and colors. Why don't you look around?"

The birds started to make a lot of noise. The tweeting was incredible. I looked up again.

"I see you've noticed our guests," the woman said, taking a drag off the cigarette.

"Yes," I said.

"They came in through the chimney."

I looked at the dresses. She had a marvelous selection. There were slinky dresses, tea-length dresses, frilly dresses, strapless... I kind of liked the tea-length. My wedding was going to be rather informal. I was wearing a plain, short-sleeved dress with no train.

"Are you going to have them exterminated?" I asked, touching the fabric of a silky, blue dress.

"He's coming at 5:00 today."

Then, I noticed it. Bird poop. There was bird poop on the blue bridesmaid's dress—a long, white streak of poop dotted with black.

"You have to be careful because some of the dresses have bird doodoo on them."

I couldn't do anything but laugh. Then I felt awkward for chuckling at her predicament. "I'm sorry," I said.

"Hey, that's O.K. It is funny. Are you finding anything?"

"I like the tea-length."

"There are some pretty, peach tea-length ones right here." She showed me the peach dresses.

I liked them. They had three quarter-length puffy sleeves and deep V-necklines.

"These are beautiful," I said.

"Aren't they? Now, the trick is," she said as she rooted through the different sized peach dresses, "to find a group of them that don't have poop on them."

I held my breath. There was a size 5 for Jan, a 12 for Linda and a 10 for Jessica. She had all the sizes; now, did any of the dresses have doodoo on them?

We took them up to the counter in front of the store. I inspected each dress carefully. If there was the slightest bit of shit on any of them, I'd have to pick another style.

I got lucky. There was no crap on any of the dresses. I smiled.

Just then, some bird poop dropped from the sky. It landed on a puffy, beige dress.

"I'm sorry," the woman said. "Would you like an umbrella?"

"No, thank you," I said, wondering if she was serious.

The birds tweeted in unison.

"Well, my misfortune is your fortune," she said, ringing me up.

"I didn't have much money for these. I'm so glad I found you."

She put each dress on a hanger and bagged it in a white, plastic bag. Thank goodness they were finally covered.

"Spread the word. I've got to move all this merchandise and start over."

"I will," I said.

Birds flew back and forth and then landed on the rafters.

"Are they going to kill the birds?" I asked.

"No, they say they can capture them. I don't want them dead. I just want them out. They're ruining me." The woman lit up another cigarette.

"Well, thank you," I said. "I really like the dresses."

"Have a beautiful wedding," she said.

I carried the dresses to the door and let myself out.

I would have a beautiful wedding. My brother would sing. The bouquets would be stunning. The readings would be read perfectly and loudly. All the guests would show up. The food at
the reception would be delicious. Steve, my husband, wouldn't shove the cake in my face. The dresses would fit Linda, Jessica and Jan.

You can bet I didn't tell them about the bird poop. That was my little secret.

Tweet. Tweet.

The trick to life is to not be too choosey.

Especially on a budget.

Laura Yeager is a writer, teacher, mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend, who lives in Akron, OH. You can find more of her work at her blog, Bipolar Literature.