Always a Bridesmaid, Never a Bride

By Jess Charle

Such a demeaning statement from a time when a woman’s only value was her marriage status. Yet, even as time passes, the saying resonates deeper than that, hinting at the close bond of female friends. Friends who stand together and celebrate each other’s successes despite their own social failings.

The ghost of the long dead spinster grew before them in the dark abandoned church. The shadow of her lost soul stretching up from the spot where she had once waited. Her presence obscuring the wooden cross and martyr behind her. She wailed her echoing banshee cry at the women before her.

The elderly women, five in total, moved stiffly, their joints locked by age. Their steps were short, their feet grazing the ground in a slow shuffle.

Holly, married twice. Meredith, married once. Denise, married once. Lisa, married twice. Helen, married four times. All widowed within two months of their weddings.

It had been decades since the five women had stood on that church’s ground and promised to watch their friend marry. Promised to stand by her side as she gave her life and body to another.

Amy had been the first one engaged. She had been young, happy, hopeful, excited for love and a family of her own. But her fiancé never showed.

It was time for them to fulfill their promise to her.

Holly nodded to the others as they drew the razors along their paper thin skin, deep angry lines blending with the thick wrinkles of their skin. The red of their blood spilled where hers had once fallen. Her blood, long dried. Long washed away. Long forgotten but now remembered. Her blood now fresh and reawakened with the bond of friendship.

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