A wedding in a big church.

On the beach I watched the young girl appear out of nowhere and park herself in front of me. She wore a one-piece bathing suit, loose and hanging in the way that all little girl bathing suits seem to be, pulled and stretched out and faded pink with flowers. She had a little yellow shovel and she fastidiously dug a hole deep enough so when she stepped into it her ankles and shins were swallowed up in sand. Overjoyed she caught me smiling and smiled back, and then she filled up the hole and she took her shovel and she disappeared somewhere.

Earlier I watched a preteen girl bend down to the surf to cup water into her hands. She splashed the top of her dry hair and ran her fingers down her messy curls and I thought—without knowing why—this is something I should remember.

The wedding was in a big church, one shaped like a cross with pews stretching towards the pulpit from three directions. I wore spiked heels and walked to my seat by myself. I don’t want to get married in a church but I guess I can see the appeal: the whiteness, the light, the stained glass mirrors winking up towards the expansive ceiling. My cousin looked as beautiful as I had ever seen her and as happy, too.

When the weekend was over I sat and read a book of Pablo Neruda poems, one after the other until the density became too much, the words blurring into each other and forming new, sloppier sonnets. Then I wrote one of my own, something about constellations and gardening and the correct way to love someone. I texted my best friend—I know what I’ll read at your wedding.

The next day I looked at it again. Things always seem different in the morning. I wondered if people would understand what I was trying to say and then I guess I thought—some of them will and some of them won’t—and that is all you can really aim for.

photograph of the beach on the island of Virgin Gorda taken with a disposable underwater camera.



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