In seashell satin and lace, she glides toward the altar as on a sun-gold barge, jeweled slippers barely touching the polished wood floor, the tight tiny roses in her bouquet opening to smile up at her.
It has all come down to this. All the wrangling with the caterer, all the fights with her mother, the soda water and Triscuit diet—they are behind her now. Before long he'll slide the slim gold band on her finger, and everything will be different. She'll finish every Times crossword in a snap. She'll get every grant she applies for. She will never, ever get another pimple. He'll make sure of it.
He is waiting for her, tall and slim in his midnight black tuxedo, and she feels him tremble as she takes her place beside him. She hands her sister the bouquet, the minister opens his Bible at the bookmark, and she looks steadily into the eyes of her groom as they say the magic words. Then it happens. He lifts her hand and slips the ring over a perfect pearl pink fingertip.
She marvels at the gleaming ring, and then she looks up at him. She sees he'd cut himself shaving—there is already a scab. There are white flakes on his shoulders. When he smiles, she realizes he didn't get that tooth fixed, after he'd promised. And the ring pinches.
Her shoulders slump. The sudden weight of the dress makes her suddenly fear she will drown.
The ring changed everything.