This post is part one of what is a three-part series about the BIG fun we had at my cousin’s wedding in Birmingham, Alabama. Family weddings don’t get any better than this one, y’all.
We received the Save the Date for my cousin’s wedding in February, so it wasn’t like I had no idea I would be attending a wedding over Memorial Day weekend. I knew. I also knew I would need a new dress for both the rehearsal dinner and the wedding. I knew. In February.
Weeks before the big day, Ginny told me I should go online and order, “like fifteen dresses and try them all on in the comfort of your own bedroom. Then, send back the ones you don’t want. I do it all the time. It’s so easy.” I thought about it for a day or two and decided to try it her way.
I take showers in the mornings, a foggy stumble into the bathroom for a quick in-and-out of a hot shower and hair washing. In high school, I took a bath just before bedtime and had enough time for a little ritual.
Balancing my little black boombox with a cassette player on the towel rack, I’d put in a mixtape, fill the bathtub with hot water, and soak. Then, right before I got out of the tub, I’d slide down under the water, my hair floating around my head, knobby knees pointed to the ceiling. Underwater, the music sounded muffled and warped. I’d stay as long as I could stand it, and then I’d pop back up, and wash my wet hair under the faucet. Stepping out of the tub, my skin pink from the hot water, I’d dry my hair, put on my pj’s and climb in bed. It was a moment of calm and relaxation in what I considered a tumultuous senior year.
My anxiety sneaks into my mind like thick, black smoke curling up from under a door. The kind that smells like burned rubber and tastes like pennies. The kind of smoke that at first, you think only you see, so you ignore it and go on about your business, but on double-take, it’s there. It’s white at first, just a warning, but as time passes it changes to grey and then slowly smutty and finally black and thick, and it’s billowing. There’s nothing I can do to stop it from coming inside. So it does. It consumes the room in my brain while I stand frozen, watching it and gasping to breathe.
Ginny and I talk on the phone every day on my way home from the office. It’s the only time I have an hour all to myself. If we wait until I get home, I’m too distracted by my mom-jobs and there’s not much continuity in our conversation. So, we relish the hour we have available to us just to be sisters.