Logically, I know my wedding is years away. Granted, brides are getting younger and younger; however, at the tender age of 15, I am nowhere near marriage. I’m sure my parents are grateful considering the lavish wedding they know I dream of having. I’ve always dreamed of dresses like clouds and colors like the Borealis and jewelry like the stars. Diamonds twinkling on my hand (my left hand), casting a radiant light from around my neck, sparkling on the skirt and train of my dress, but most of all twinkling in my eyes…it’s a young girl’s fantasy, I suppose, but in this world, one can only dream.
I take a walk outside one day, thinking of weddings, and find myself a corner from my house. The street is dusty and the air is heavy. It sticks to my skin and fills my throat and nose. Heat sinks through me. My destination is worth it, though, as I somehow drag myself through the solid air and come to press my nose against the bridal shop window.
These dresses I love. They remind me of archeology, beautiful whites and ivories in color, with bands and lace of tan-like beige. I whistle a bar of ‘Indiana Jones’, thinking that this is what his wedding should have looked like. I would have designed it for him, if he’d asked. And goodness, would Marian have been a lucky bride.
The bride’s dress on display looks antique, made of fabric that’s a shade too dark for ivory, but too light for taupe. It drips in lace, but in an elegant, 1912 kind of way. I exhale, leaving moisture on the glass. I inhale, taking more moisture in, and know I’d love to wear that dress.
The next time I think about weddings, I’m talking with my grandmother, wishing my cousin wouldn’t name her yet-to-be-born son Trevor. It reminds me of a frog, and I hear a mental ‘ribbit’ every time someone mentions the name. I remember Tawny’s wedding, or, I remember everyone’s account of Tawny’s wedding. School took precedence over family, and I was boarding in Exeter, New Hampshire when she was getting married in San Diego, California. She looked lovely based on the pictures I saw. I look at my grandmother’s bureau and see the picture of Tawny that YiaYia keeps there. She glows in a white gown, carefully embroidered with constellations of crystals. My picture is paired with hers; the one I don’t like, where you can see the dark circles under my eyes (from a significant lack of sleep) and the pained, upset emotion in my face (from a botched harp recital).
I don’t dwell upon the thought of weddings until a month later, sitting in a badly lit dorm room at Brown University. I’m careful to keep my bare feet off the grimy, tile floor, and just as careful to avoid the interesting dip in my mattress near the center of my bed. I browse the Internet for dresses, dreaming of Vera Wang and Maggie Sottero. My mind briefly flits over a memory of the Sex and the City movie, and I think of Carrie’s bridesmaids’ dresses. The colors were the most astounding things about them, like a butterfly who’s finally spread her wings, or an artist’s hand, dipped in paint and chalk.
Logically, I know my wedding is years way.
I wonder if I’ll ever get there.
My survival is not my concern—while I am a bit of a danger to myself when it comes to household appliances like the microwave and washing machine, and while crossing the street can be quite hazardous, it’s not getting there alive that worries me so. No, I have faith in God that I’ll make it there alive, and that if I don’t, that there’s a dang good reason.
My concern is over who will ever want me.
Marriage itself has never been a huge issue for me—granted, I’ve dreamed of the day and all that jazz, hundreds of times over. However, more than I want marriage, I want children. And regardless of marriage, I will have children. And in this day and age, I am so extremely lucky in that one can remain an unmarried virgin and still have children. And that’s more important to me than marriage. Marriage is more of a luxury, as well as something that could possibly pose a problem for someone so firmly set in her opinions on her children’s upbringing and religion. If I were in love, sure, if I thought it could work, why not? But marriage remains a luxury at most.
Living in a dorm at Brown University for two weeks, surrounded by gossiping girls and attractive, foreign boys, who together make up a group of hooking-up, staying-up, sneaking-out young folk can be detrimental to a girl of 15 who’s never had a boyfriend, romance, or date. Very, very detrimental to one’s self esteem.
These girls, who gossip and paint their nails and straighten their hair at two in the morning, who don’t do their homework and stay out almost past curfew (but making it back ever so slightly in time), are wanted. Wanted by these beautiful, foreign boys who speak with beautiful, foreign accents.
I am not wanted.
I am waved hello to occasionally as a boy enters my room, looking for one of my roommates.
I am given a polite, “Hi, Sam, right?” in the halls, generally speaking.
But I am not wanted.
Not for romance, not for a quick let’s-make-it-real-and-I’ll-never-see-you-again kiss, and not for sex.
I’m not bothered that they don’t want me for sex. Contrary to popular belief, while hormones are raging through my body, they prefer to torment me with exaggeratedly long, sporadic, schizophrenic, and heavy periods instead of lustful thoughts. I don’t want to be wanted like…that. I don’t want to be kissed like…that. Not now. Maybe not even ever.
Romance, however, is an entirely different story.
I wonder who that guy’ll be. The one I might just marry. Because for me to do that, he’s got to have a certain “something” about him. A certain something that lets me know I can trust him with my emotions, that he’ll respect my religion, go with me on how to raise my…our…children, and that he’ll love me forever.
I’m waiting for the guy who I can lie on my side next to, with my nose touching his and our lips inches apart, and just lie there with, hands intertwined like the bodies of people making love while we’re not.
I’m waiting for the guy who’ll let me put my head on his chest, wrap his arms around me tight, and let me fall asleep in his arms.
I’m waiting for guy who’ll reach out a hand a touch my face, or my arm, or hold my hand, just because he knows I need to be touched—not sexually, just touched, because of the need for simple human contact, a warm hand against a warm hand, skin on skin.
Boys at this age are immature, granted, but when your heart’s fixed on one, it’s hard not to see them all as older. As if something real could happen. It’s hard not to look for the guy who’ll be all those things to me, or see something in one that screams maybe he could be this, but never really know, or not be in the position to find out.
Finding him, if necessary, will be hard.
Getting him, either way, will be harder.
Who am I to deserve something so wonderful? To deserve someone who notices the color of my eyes and the way my hair curls when it rains and the prominent arch of my cupid’s brow and the curve of my spine? Who am I to deserve such wonderful things?
And who am I to not?
My self-esteem may flag, bouncing from full mast to half-mast to full mast again, but it rarely, if ever, drops to the point where I genuinely think I don’t deserve that sort of happiness. And if and when it does, I’ve always pulled myself out of it, clutching God’s hand and an icon, and sometimes the support of a friend or three or six. No, it’s always a few certain people I’m there for, to haul up their flags once again when they reach that point. But no one has ever hauled up my flag for me, or ever really needed to.
However, at 15 years old, spending two weeks in a co-ed dormitory at Brown University with couples and kisses abound, boarding nine months a year at a school where I have heard people having sex and seen that boy I’m in love with kiss someone else…well, sometimes, it can have that effect.