“This doesn’t feel right.” Ella said.
“It fits lovely across your bust, lift your arms up.” Her mother frowned.
Ella left her arms down by her sides, against the cool, white silk of the dress.
“Sorry, can I take it off and talk to you?”
“We’ve only got ten days, we haven’t got time for chatting.”
“It just doesn’t feel right,” Ella said.
“Where is it uncomfortable?”
Here, Ella thought, placing a hand on her chest, over her heart.
“I can’t do it, I can’t get married.”
“That’s just pre-wedding nerves.”
“No,” she said, “it’s not that. It just doesn’t feel right to be having a wedding, celebrating, wearing a beautiful dress, when there’s so much trouble and sadness in the world. Syria, Afghanistan…now Ukraine.”
Her mother regarded her thoughtfully.
“I was keeping this as a surprise on the day but I think you need to see it now,” she said as she lifted the hem of the dress to reveal a tiny pocket stitched into the seam.
Gently pulling out a yellowing scrap of fabric, she said, “This is what remains of your great-grandma’s wedding dress.”
Ella stroked the delicate fragment of silk.
“They got married in the war, didn’t they?” she asked.
“Yes, in 1943, and that was your great-grandad’s parachute, she used it to make her dress.”
Ella shook her head, fighting back her tears, “They were so brave.”
“They refused to let the aggressors dictate how they lived their lives,” her mum said.
Ella considered this for a moment.
“I feel so helpless.”
“I know. Maybe you could ask the vicar to lead a prayer for peace, to show our solidarity…”
“You’re right, the wedding must go ahead. If we stop celebrating love, then evil will have won.”
Published in Issue #26