Where joy should be
Illustration by Julia Ogden (juliaogden.com)
Weddings are fantasies for some people, a little girl’s dream come true, every detail masterminded—the perfect dress, flowers chosen for color and symbolism, a proud father to walk his beloved daughter down the aisle, a soulmate to wait at the altar. In The Wild Impossibility, the teenage Maddalena’s wedding is a nightmare, a forced betrayal. Her memory of that day plays out in a vision scene, one of what Maddalena’s granddaughter, Kira, calls “fragments” of Maddalena’s life.
“My bouquet is store bought, pink and white carnations and too much baby’s breath, stiff like cardboard. I’m glad there’s no scent because it would have sickened me. My hair is up, pulled tight like he never would have wanted it, my face in the mirror pale with powder and sadness. My dress isn’t my mother’s wedding gown, the silk one heavy with embroidery, fitted at the waist, the one she said a thousand times I’d wear someday. This dress is plain, a cheap satin sack from a catalogue, a size too large so that my body floats within it. It’s all you deserve, my mother said. Her face is flat, unforgiving. She pins a veil to my hair, tells me to be still. I stand still as death, my eyes on the mountains that guard the desert floor.”