White flowers

There are brides of light and brides of darkness; tonight I heard a story from a bride of light.

She has long shimmering hair that covers the corners of her eyes and falls over her face like a curtain of light. She comes in from the cold and we can hear the crackle of the static when she removes her coat and straightens her skirt. “Flowers,” we tell her. “We are telling stories about flowers. Come join.”

“Ha-emet hi,” she says, scanning our faces to make sure that we understand. We do, and she continues: “Yesh li sippur al white flowers.” A story about white flowers? We listen, rapt, as the bride begins.

She still remembers, she tells us, the day her father told her mother that he was going out “liknot white flower.” She was thrilled — that he would purchase this! How romantic! Perhaps he would get two, or three, or a whole bouquet, and they would decorate the house. Her childhood imagination mounted its steed and galloped off into the sunset…until, to her consternation, her father walked in, no flowers in sight. “Eifo ha-white flower?” she asked, refusing to let her spirits deflate. “Hineh,” said her father, holding out a bag of something powdery, white, and most disappointing. The child began to cry: “White flower, white flower.” Her parents could not understand what she was expecting, and so they were at a loss to console her. And so the child continued sobbing: “White flower, white flower,” for days on end.

She stands now before us, wearing the light like a gown. “At the wedding I’ll carry white flowers,” she tells us, scattering her smiles like petals in the wind.

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