Challenge 57 – Slow Down

Standing Still

Have you ever noticed how the happiest moments of your life go so fast they seem to blur? But for the saddest moments time slows down so much you feel like you're standing still? And when you hear tragic news time seems to stop completely and you know you'll always remember where you were, what you were doing, the moment you heard it.

"Hurry up, Liz, we need to get to the church!" Mandy was a beautiful bride, but in her usual quest to be ahead of everyone else, she was way ahead of herself.

"Don't touch the curls," I warned her, slipping on her ivory pumps. When I looked up she was fluffing her hair. "I said don't touch them. Give the airspray time to dry."

"Will they stay?"

"Mandy, my dear, you could swim to Tahiti and your hair would look great." I stood up and held out a hand to help her as she steadied herself in four-inch heels. "I don't know about the rest of you though."

"Very funny," she muttered, but smiled as she passed the mirror and I felt relieved. I followed her into the living room where the other bridesmaids had gathered and were attacking each other with powder puffs to seal several layers of Max Factor and Clineque.

"You need to get dressed now, unless you want to walk down the aisle in a slip," I told her.

Then I stopped, staring at the visitor, shadowing the screen door. Clinging to the mesh like a fifties wallflower stood my mother. A tall, imposing woman with a pristine floral dress and hair to match, my mother never looked frail but told everyone she met how ill she really was. But today, for the first time I could remember, she looked sincerely sick.

"Mom? What are you doing here?"

"I'm sorry to interupt but I have something to tell you."


She looked around at the gaping bridesmaids. "I can wait until you're done."

"Okay," I said slowly. The word fell to the carpet and lay there as a constant reminder of what hadn't been said. I turned back to Mandy and tightened her petticoat.

"I spent all morning ironing the train," Mandy's Aunt Christi exclaimed. "So be careful not to wrinkle it when you take it down."

"I'll get it," I said and headed for the dress which hung suspended from a plant hook over the sofa.

"Are you going to stay for the whole reception this time?" Mandy asked.

I grinned at her. "Only if it's air conditioned."

"Liz-" My mother said, then stopped. I looked at her.

"My dress," Mandy said and I reached for it.

"Liz," my mother said. "Liz, you're grandfather died this morning."

My hand was moving towards the dress and the moment my mother spoke the motioned seemed to slow down and just like that time stopped. I stared at the yards of eggshell satin cascading in front of me. I could see my hand still reaching out for it, frozen in the air. I noticed every curve, every sequin, and every stitch. My heart was beating. I didn't breath. All I could see was satin, and all I could think about was how I was going to remember this moment for the rest of my life.