Phyllis stared at her, the teacup halted halfway to her dainty lips which now hung slack. I smiled warily, trying not to rip the too-tight skirt as I stepped onto the platform in front of the three-way mirrors. I watched Phyllis’s reflection as she shook herself out of her shock and returned the placid expression to her face. The teacup finished its journey. She took a small sip and then gently patted her mouth with a linen napkin. Even though today was the first day my mother and future mother-in-law had met, I knew I hadn’t explained well enough to Phyllis just what she was in for. Knowing Phyllis though, she wouldn’t become unruffled again.
“Turn around and give us the full 380, honey,” Brenda instructed me. My mom had been right about one thing; I certainly did have the chest to fill out the little number. But, I couldn’t imagine walking down the aisle in it. If I were going to spend thousands on a dress, I was hoping for a lot more flounce for my buck than this thing. “Do a little dance, honey. See if it stays on.”
Please make this day end, I silently prayed to the wedding gods and did a half-hearted step to the side and back so I could appease my mother. “Oh, not like that.” Brenda waved me down. “You gotta put a little thrust into those hips. Pretend it’s the real deal.”
In the real deal wedding dance that Blake and I were planning, there was no hip-thrusting involved. We were preparing for our first dance by taking private lessons at a studio a senior partner in my firm had recommended. We were going to waltz our way to the win. I just couldn’t figure out how my mother fit into the equation.
My mom had edged herself off the fluffy settee and was now huffing as she demonstrated a few moves designed to see if the dress would magically stay up or shimmy itself right off my body.
I interrupted her groove. “I don’t really think it’s my style anyway, Mom.”
She stopped in mid-boogie. “Why not? You look like a million bucks.”
I turned back to my reflection. The knee-length, entirely sequined, strapless dress confronted me.
“It just doesn’t say wedding to me.”
“Oh pooh,” she replied. “I raised you to be unconventional.”
“I’m not sure it’s right for the venue,” Phyllis interjected. “St. Catherine’s is, in fact, still rather conventional. We wouldn’t want to shock Father Thomas off the stand now, would we?” Her last sentence was technically a question, but it was delivered with a tone of finality.
At Phyllis’s commanding voice, my mother realized she’d been shot down and returned to the settee. “You do look beautiful, Destiny,” she said wistfully. She threw back her dejected shoulders a little bit. “Thanks for trying on my choice, honey. You were nice to give it a shot.”
I turned and grinned at this crazy lady that I loved. My mom replied with a sideways glance at Phyllis who was beckoning the assistant with a little wave of her index finger. She shrugged and smiled back at me.
“Maybe something a little more Kate Middleton,” Phyllis instructed the assistant who guided me off the platform and back to the dressing room.
As I changed into a dress I had selected myself, I could just imagine the small talk Brenda and Phyllis would be having. I cringed.