I’ve been wanting to ask you, Do you remember what I said at your wedding? Once you’d exchanged vows by banjo and your parents cried through their speeches; after Hava Nagila, when you and your bride flew on chairs. Later, when I’d blistered my feet dancing in heels, started telling big stories with flying hands. Later, when I took pictures with people I’d only just met and planned to visit their cities—but what I said, Saul, it was later than that, when you cut cake with your darling, and she smeared it up to your eyebrows. Later, much later, when we all heard a groomsman, having crept off, empty his stomach onto the sea rocks. And we laughed, willed sickness away, went headlong into a humming numbness, the wind whipping us in June off the Maine coast, dancing hard to Beat It because Michael had just died, our toasts to you slurring into tribute for him and someone shouting over the dj, Death do us part. But what I said to you, Saul, was even later still, when the photographer had carted off the tripod, and the pen next to your hand-bound guestbook was capped. Later, with just the wind in our ears, and strings of light dipping from tent poles, you and I said good-bye, old friend. And I remembered how I was there when you met your wife—how she was nervous, and I told you she liked you—and then we hugged at your wedding, you and I—that much I remember; my nose found the yellow freesia in your boutonniere. But what I said to you then is only a flicker in my mind, as fragile as a moment I made up, or a wish I once had. Because you held me at your wedding, took me in your whole arms, and I don’t remember speaking—just the warmth of your throat, your smell of tea and cedar—but then I said something, Saul, I must have, I know it, my husband told me I said something to you and cried. So I wonder if you remember that. And you probably don’t; you were enjoying your family, your bride—and, by the way, I’m sorry to cry like that at your wedding!—but do you remember what I said, as you were leaving the tent? Kissing the last guests good-bye, holding hands with your new wife? Because I can’t remember anything else except this: the train of her dress, trailing away on damp grass. And Saul, if you do remember—I know it was late and I’d been drinking—but whatever it was, this blurt, this thing I said at your wedding… Do you think it’s true?
DAWN DORLAND was raised in rural Iowa and graduated from Scripps College, Harvard Divinity School, and the MFA program at the University of Maryland, where she received full funding and won a teaching award. Works-in-progress have garnered her fellowships from the Squaw Valley Writers Workshops, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Hambidge Center for the Arts. Dawn is writing a novel about poverty and American class ascendance called Econoline. She lives in Los Angeles.