False Start, part three

Little bit added, will write more tomorrow

——-

Lucy sat down to write the letter. Her pen hovered over the white paper and she didn’t know what to say. A million words ran through her head and she had fallen asleep countless times with her life story playing out like a film. Now she had run out of time yet she still didn’t know how to explain what she was about to do.

Standing up, Lucy stared at the girl looking back at her in the mirror. The white chiffon dress was a perfect fit with a beautiful diamante bodice which accentuated her modest bosom. Simple and elegant, Lucy knew it was the one the moment she saw it in the window of the shop. But the dress also made her sad. It was a costume that masked who she was and the life she secretly yearned for. With nowhere to go and no words to write, Lucy waited. Her father eventually came through the door to the bedroom of her childhood home, smiling broadly and looking proud. Holding his arm, Lucy longed to tell him how desperate and unsure she felt. Instead she smiled back, kissed him on the cheek and allowed him to lead her to the church.

Lucy met Ben when she was 19. They were first year students at university both studying Modern History. It was a traditional blind date arranged by friends after Lucy insisted she wanted to stay single and concentrate on her education. They first locked eyes outside Bar Riza, she was wearing light denim jeans with a red jumper and him a green parker with baggy jeans. To the naked eye there was nothing particularly special about either of them but Lucy knew it would be a moment she would remember forever. Ben was a character, popular, chatty and loud. He was also warm, kind and referred to Lucy as the yin to his yang. She loved how his eyes twinkled cheekily when he talked and that he seemed to animate his witty anecdotes using his whole body.

There was no doubt about it, she fell for Ben hard and fast. Months passed in a minute and hours of kissing were gone in the blink of an eye. They were the couple everyone wanted to be, always the last to leave the restaurant without touching their 2-for-1 pizza meal and when they weren’t in lectures they were in bed. Lucy loved his spontaneous nature and listened with awe as he spoke about his adventures in South America, Africa, Thailand, Australia and India. She had always wanted to travel but her longest flight so far stood at two hours and thirteen minutes to Costa del Sol. Instead of text books and anthologies, Lucy’s shelves in her room were filled with travel literature and editions of National Geographic. There were no posters of Jim Morrison or Che Guevara decorating her wall. Instead there were images of the Himalayas, European street scenes and long sandy beaches. Rather than studying, she preferred to see the world from her arm chair and dream about her great escape.

One evening after a bottle of red wine Ben suggested they take a trip to Rome. After a couple of months of passion-fuelled dating the thought of spending a few days with Ben in the city of love made her stomach somersault. Not only could this be the most romantic trip of her life but it would be the adventure that she so desperately needed.

Lucy and her father stood at the top of the stairs. Her mother and two older sisters, Karen and Katie were waiting by the front door, looking up at her. Taking a deep breath, Lucy walked down the steps as the middle sister documented the moment on her camera phone.

“Oh Lucy, you look stunning.” Karen sniffed, voice wobbling

“You are so skinny. Lucky cow” Katie had opted out of bridesmaid duties as she was carrying a litter. She was due to deliver triplets the day after wedding however Lucy was disappointed that the babies hadn’t made an early appearance. Despite feeling like she should be the demanding, stroppy bride all she wanted was to be with Katie when the children were born, to be there at hospital and hold them when they were just minutes old. She hated knowing that a special family moment was likely to take place whilst she was on her honeymoon.

“Lets’ get a picture of my girls together, the last Bennett to leave the pack”

The last Bennett. Lucy always knew that once she was married she would become Mrs Harper but she only saw it in the same way as wearing her wedding dress. It was a novelty and now she realised what it meant and the enormity of losing her name overwhelmed her. As her mum and sisters gathered around, pulling her in closely Lucy couldn’t stop a tear from falling. Swallowing her emotion she grinned and waited for the camera to flash.

“Oh darling you will set me off soon” her mother took out a tissue from her handbag and dabbed Lucy’s cheek “Thank god for waterproof mascara”

 

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