Carrie was staring at the glass of juice in her hand and didn't notice that Tasha had come into the room.
"They say the best way to get vitamin C is to actually drink the orange juice. Staring at it does no good." Tasha said as she sat in the chair facing her friend. Carrie gave her a smile and took a sip of juice.
"The juice. It's bitter."
"It's always bitter. You just never noticed."
Carrie pushed the glass away. Today was supposed to be her special day and it was already ruined by bitter orange juice and a sleepless night. Not only was she restless, who wouldn't be the night before her wedding, but she had nightmares too. Horrible dreams of Mike and their future filled her head whenever she closed her eyes so she eventually gave up trying to sleep. She wondered if Tasha could tell that something was wrong. She didn't have to wait long for the answer.
" Girl, what's wrong with you? You are getting married this afternoon. You'd better perk yourself up." Tasha reached across the table and poked her arm. " Don't let bad orange juice ruin the day. Remember my wedding?"
The friends shared a laugh at the thought of Tasha's wedding. Tasha had planned it perfectly, right down to the sunny day in June. It rained and the priest was rearended on his way to the church. Four hours after her planned time, Tasha became a married woman." That rain sure was coming down, but I didn't let that dampen my spirits," she smiled at her own joke.
" I didn't get any sleep last night, " Carrie sighed and put her head on the table.
" Who sleeps the night before a wedding?I didn't sleep last night either. I'm so excited for you. I can't believe that you and Mike are actually doing it."
" I had nightmares. That's why I couldn't sleep. And you can't tell me that everyone has bad dreams before the big day."
Carrie told Tasha of the images that had filled her head during the night. Tasha listened patiently, asking for more details when she needed them. Sitting at the kitchen table hours before she was supposed to wed, Carried told Tasha things she'd never intended to tell anyone. When Carrie was done, Tasha said nothing. She took their juice glasses from the table and placed them in the sink. It was odd for her not to have an opinion. For the first time that Carrie could remember, Tasha had no advice for her. One of the reasons Carrie loved her so much was because she was always full of advice whether or not Carrie wanted to hear it. Today she wanted to hear it what Tasha had to say, but nothing crossed those lips.
" Well, " Carried asked staring at her friends back.
" Aren't you gonna say anything? Tell me something?"
Tasha turned and face Carrie, " What do you want me to say? You've already figured it out for yourself. So what? You had a fling, but it's over. Right?" Carrie was slow to answer so she repeated herself louder, " It's over. Right?"
"Yes," Carrie said trying to sound more convinced than she felt.
"And you still love Mike."
" With all my heart."
" Good. Come on let me see that smile that he loves so much."
Carrie managed a smile. Tasha gave her friend a hug and said, " Just don't tell Mike what you told me and everything will be fine. Now let's go see what we can do with that hair of yours."
For the rest of the morning Tasha fiddled around with Carrie's hair and makeup and then they headed to the church. Carrie let her mind wander as Tasha fussed over her. She thought of the man that she was going to marry. He was made for her. She was sure of it. He loved her and she loved him. She also thought of another man. The man who had removed all thoughts of her fiance for one night. He was no one special. Just some guy she saw everyday while on her morning jog. He was always there at the park where she stretched. Their conversation was always the same. He said hello and she said hello back. He'd ask her how she was doing. She reply with " fine or "okay". One day he asked her to dinner. She accepted since Mike had been out of town for a couple of days and she was tired of eating alone. Carrie thought of how the dinner date ended in a hotel room on the other side of the tracks. The man was no one to her. She could care less if she ever saw him again. Carrie knew that she loved Mike, but was she ready to marry him? If she loved him that much why did she spend the night with another man? She asked herself for a reason behind what she had done, but she could not answer.
"Hey snap out of it, girl!" Tasha's voice took her away from her thoughts.
"You're staring into space again. That dress is not gonna jump off that hanger and put itself on you." Tasha was standing in front of her with the veil in her hand. Carrie wanted to tell her that she looked good in that blue dress, but she kept her mouth shut and put on her wedding gown. She looked at herself in the mirror. She had all her bases covered. The pearls were old, the dress was new, the earrings were borrowed, and the garter was blue.
"You look beautiful. I hope you're ready," Tasha said from behind her. She looked at her best friend's beaming face. She tried to smile in reply, but could only manage to turn the corners of her mouth.
"You are ready aren't you?" Tasha's tone had changed. She no longer sounded excited. Tasha voice now had that motherly tone. Carrie had heard that voice many times in the ten years that they have been friends. She spun Carrie around so that they were facing each other and repeated her question.
"Yes, I'm ready. I have never been more ready for anything than I am right now, " Carrie lied to her friend. She could tell that Tasha knew she was lying so she turned away from her. Before Tasha could say anything, they heard the music began to play.
"Well, that's my cue, " Tasha said. " I know you already have something borrowed, but I'm gonna let you borrow something else. This is a saying that has been passed from woman to woman in my family and you can borrow it for as long as you need it." Tasha handed her a folded piece of paper and left the room.
Carrie walked down the hallway toward the music and stopped when she reached entranceway. She looked to her right. It lead to the chapel where everyone was waiting for her. She could see her father waiting to lead her down the aisle. She looked to her left. It lead to the exit door. She could see the world beyond waiting for her. Carrie put her bouquet into her left hand and opened the note that Tasha had given her. She read the words " To thine own self be true" written in Tasha's scribbly handwriting. She smiled. That was the best advice Tasha had ever given. Carrie turned and walked toward her future.Back to Stories