The Bride: Lost to The Color

“Are you ok?” My friend asked.
We exchanged looks as the world around us continued to pass by.
“I’m fine. Why? Something on my face?” I nudged him on the shoulder, and he shrugged his thoughts off.
“Nah. Just wondering. You work pretty hard.” This coming from the all-knowing Trent, I had to turn to the mirror to check.
I looked fine. Why would he say such a thing now?
“That makes no sense,” I pointed out, whilst opening the door to the bustling people. “I’m not tired, and I’ve had the same amount of work as always. In fact, I’m feeling great!” Perhaps I was being defensive, but then again I was an impressionable young teenager. Just the slightest pimple should bring me to my knees. But at least I can see that.
Lines were made, and the passerby crowd suddenly shifted to shouting laughter with teachers giving directions. How many times had we gone to the art museum again?
“But that’s just it, Nick.” Trent mumbled with a smirk on his face, as he abruptly ended our conversation by turning the other way towards his group. Nothing too odd with him. He always knew something I didn’t. Someday I’ll open his head and finally get what he’s smiling about. Until then, his mystery alludes me.
The bright sunshine didn’t go well with the cold morning breeze. Girls were wearing pajamas to school, while boys boldly wore shorts and soaked their ankles in early grass dew. I actually wore jeans, as comfy as I would allow myself, standing outside of the buses with a book in my hands. Kids were chattering, and teachers were yelling, or looking at their clipboards, or speaking with the bus drivers.
From the corner of my eye, I saw a few friends in a circle. Sure, I could have gone over there and start with the smiles and “How have you been?”s. But I didn’t. Just, not today, it took too much effort at that moment. Without even questioning it, I already knew my smile would be forced, the air in-between us awkward. I swear, it’s not because they’re bad people, it’s not because the place was uncomfortable. Just one of those tense days, I concluded as we all entered the buss.
A quiet morning mixed with calm art. I entered the glass structure to be greeted by audacious colors of yellow and green and orange. The statue near the doors had to be the most ridiculous ‘art’ in that museum. A woman, with no expression on her face, high fiving the air. Her hair was down, clothes a plain dress. Yet on the palm of her hand lay a deep color of purple, with all the other colors spreading throughout the fingers. Not a single shad blended with another. It was ugly. It was awkward. I wanted to chop that techni-colored hand off, but I couldn’t stand the plain parts of it either.
There was just nothing good I could say, it didn’t even make any sense! Was it about uniqueness being found within the conformity of society? Why does it have to be the hand? And why did it have to be such disgusting colors? I feel bad for the kids who see this first; they’ll think they won’t ever understand art.
I’m not the genius when it comes to art, mind you. But I do think some paintings are interesting. In the museum, we were allowed to wander around the rooms, so long as no one tries to run. There were security guards at the exits, anyway, since the building was at the center of the city. Plus, there were actual authentic pieces of art made by famous artists. I really did like the portraits and such, so instead of talking and ignoring the point of the trip, I actually did look at the paintings.
Since the entire place was constructed like a dome, we could see all that was outside. But of course, it was all tinted so others couldn’t see in. Safety reasons. To those outside, it appeared nothing more than a crystal tower, amidst the busy village huts.
There was a portrait of a bride displayed thoughtfully on the wall in front of the river. I wondered if the museum owner’s did it on purpose. The lace gown was shadowed with a faint blue, intensified from the glistening water passing by only a few yards away. For all other buildings, the river was simply an inconvenience since the roads had to be constructed around it. Yet for the museum it’s used for the same purpose as the windows of the building. I really liked it, and stood in the crowd of other schools watching the display.
Whilst younger students murmured and whispered in hushed tones, a loud inquiry was made right beside me.
“Is the gown itself really important?”
I turned to see a young girl with sophisticated glasses, transfixed on the portrait. She had these barrettes shaped like bows pinning back her long bangs to the side, allowing the back of her short hair to lay free. A translucent sky blue shirt draped across only one shoulder, leaving the other bare. Her black sports bra straps hung around her neck, and made me realize how poncho-like her outfit was. Rosy cheeks passed by my peripheral vision, and immediately inspired me to answer her.
“Of course it is. The entire focus has to be the gown.”
“But is it the gown? Or perhaps something particular about it?” She turned to face me, though that was impossible due to her outrageous height compared to mine.
I saw blue eyes filled with wisdom, watching me with a blank expression. Awaiting my response with wonder, I couldn’t help but break our eye contact and look up to review again. Am I being chastised by a middle schooler?
She was confusing me. “What’s the difference?”
“The difference is the accentuation. Look at her, what is the bride feeling right now?” This was just like what happens with a tutor and an unregistering kid. Isn’t it annoying when someone wants you to figure it out, instead of just telling you?
I looked at the portrait once again. “She appears… nervous?” The face was like an egg, white and smooth, with a jittery expression of almost quivering eyebrows, and an artistically sad smile.
Cold feet, princess?
“Well, never mind then. Maybe I’m just getting old.” The girl walked closer to the display, and I followed. “But to me, she seems sad.” I didn’t see.
“Does the blue shadowing of the dress maybe make you think that?” I asked, finally noticing what she meant. However, the bride didn’t look sad, but scared.
“Yes, that involves what I was talking about before. But oh, I guess it’s just my personal opinion, and experience involved.” She sighed, closing her eyes, allowing me to see the deep bags under her eyes intensified through the lenses of her glasses.
She turned to me and smiled. “I don’t remember the name, but there was a book by some German guy, and I really liked it. Te main character was an introverted girl who always smiled throughout her childhood. Her parents forced her to get an arranged marriage, to a wealthy man who abused her. Despite the fact that she feared him, she still fell in love and tried to escape with her lover.” The girl faced the portrait again, as I patiently waited for the continuation. She was very good at telling this story, or did she just know it that well?
“And despite the fact that her rich fiancé found out and killed her lover, she continued to smile at everyone.” Her head bent down, as if to make a dramatic turn in the story. “But then, her fiancé told her that which was like an ocean swallowing her up into the dark depths of its soul. ‘You will have no one!’ He shouted, ‘Not even your best friend will reach where I am taking you!’ There, it was revealed that he planned on moving to another country, far from where they were then. The girl couldn’t stand the thought of parting with her most precious friend, the one who somehow always made things better.
“On the day of her wedding, as she was getting ready, her fiancé came in to tell her that her friend was not permitted to enter the chapel. She could no longer take it, so as the music started playing, she committed suicide by strangling herself with a piece of her dress.” It was quite a mouthful, one that I had no idea I would listen to so intently.
“And that’s it. Sorry, I talked way too much there. I just thought, that’s what this portrait always reminded me of, And from there, it also reminded me of someone.” She sounded finished, contently brushing some hair to the side, but then abruptly walked away.
But it wasn’t done. Not for me. I needed to know. And it was ridiculous to just leave after talking that much!
“Hey! Wait. . . . you!” I caught up quickly, and she smiled all cheerful.
“Oh hello again. How have you been?” Funny. Very funny, girl.
“Who? Who does it remind you of?” Please don’t ask me why I was fixated. I just was.
Her look was. . . calm. Almost accepting. “A friend. The one who gave me the book.”
I actually took time to look at her face. It looked young and aged at the same time. I wanted t know. At that moment, I felt like there was so little I knew about the world, as if starting with this girl would make it better.
“I’m Nick. What’s your name?”
“Dutchia. Well Nick, let’s meet again, perhaps next time your school goes to this museum.” Her expression changed to one of light humor, and as she walked away once more I heard a call back to me, without turning back.
“Maybe if you woo me enough, I’ll let you meet her someday.”
I pondered. Who is her friend? Is she nice? Will I like her?
How important will that day be?





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