The marriage blessing began.
Trinity walked up the short aisle towards her husband of 25 years. To say heads turned would have been an understatement. Jaws dropped as well, and conversation ceased. Even her teenage kids stopped fiddling with their phones.
It was her 50th birthday and she had woken up this morning physically and mentally and decided she was no longer going to be a ‘people pleaser’. She cast aside the dress Malcolm had chosen for her out of the Littlewoods catalogue, she’d never liked frills or the off champagne colour he had ordered and was damned if she was going to wear it. She rummaged through her closet and found the outfit she’d worn for her 21st birthday. Thankfully she hadn’t put a single pound on since then, and with the right bra and support knickers, it would fit just fine.
She crimped her long hennaed hair and pulled some on top in an elastic band. Then she turned to her makeup, paying special attention to her eyeliner and mascara. Purple pulpy lips completed the look when matched with coordinating nail polish.
She dressed in her outfit of stripped black and purple leggings, a ripped, off the shoulder T Shirt with The Clash printed on the front, a short leather skirt and hand painted Doc Martens. For the first time since her engagement to Malcolm she felt free, and like herself. Trinity grabbed her bag and headed off to walk the short distance to the church.
She made a bold entrance, her head held high. The sun was glinting on the safety pins holding her top in place and the pair she had used in place of earrings in one ear. The shock-wave reverberating around the congregation was palpable. Malcolm had invited all the best people, he had a penchant for social climbing, and all of Trinity’s friends had been lost to her over the years because of Malcolm’s appalling treatment of them. So the pews were full of people Trinity couldn’t bear. No better than they should be, but acceptable to Malcolm because of their wealth or position in the community. His co-workers from the board of the factory he managed were there, as were some of his more trusted office staff.
As she reached the half way point, he turned to look at her. His expression was comical and Trinity had to struggle not to laugh out loud at him. When she had walked the length of the aisle, he grabbed her whispered in her ear;
‘What on earth are you doing?’ he hissed, ‘How dare you show me up like this! What happened to the suit I got you?’
‘Oh, it’s right here in my bag’ she replied.
Trinity turned to face the congregation and began to speak:
‘As you are all aware, Malcolm decided to invite you here today so we could renew our vows. He took that decision upon himself, so I thought it was only right I honour him by saying a few words just for the occasion’
The silence persisted so Trinity continued
‘As you know, Malcolm has an important job and has been – for the most part – a good father and provider. So giving up the dream job I got after working so hard at university to qualify for so I could be responsible for all of the childcare, wasn’t a financial hardship for us. And since then, he has been wonderful enough to choose my clothes, my friends and my holidays, because, as he is fond of telling me, it is his money that pays for such luxuries. My First in anthropology has certainly set me up to be the perfect housewife and mother to two children who treat me with the same love, respect and courtesy as their father does. So on that note, I’d like to make a special gift of this dress to Sallie, Malcolm’s teenage secretary.’
Trinity pulled the champagne monstrosity from her bag and hurled it towards the sulky faced girl sitting a couple of pews back.
‘Sallie has been helping Malcolm out with a bit of extra overtime, so if anyone deserves a gift from him, she does. Malcolm only booked the blessing to try and divert my attention from his little affair’ she said to the crowd, ‘but I found the tickets for their little trip to Paris next week. So perhaps he will take you somewhere you can wear the dress dear’ Trinity spoke directly to Sallie, ‘and maybe the kids will start calling you mum soon. I’m off to live my own life now!’
Trinity walked to the door and turned around to look at Malcolm one last time. She hesitated for just a second, wondering if there was anything more she should say or do, after 25 years.
On reflection there was, so she looked Malcolm in the eye and slowly raised her middle finger in a gesture of sheer contempt and walked away.