Bad Luck Bridesmaid by Alison Rose Greenberg (Excerpt)

One

I knew right before the violinist’s fifth loop of Ben Folds’s “The Luckiest” that I was, in fact, the opposite. I was zero for three. I did nothing to disguise my resting this-is-awkward face, helplessly peering down at a crowd of two hundred impatient strangers stuffed into the small, ancient church. I felt the heavily contoured “honey, now you have a jawline” foundation melt down my cheeks. The church’s two ceiling fans were no match for Georgia’s August humidity, and while the makeup artist had promised I would emerge looking like a “dewy Instagram filter,” my face resembled something closer to a sad clown’s. Not helping was the ambitious flower crown digging into my skull. Was I not a bridesmaid after all, but actually a thirty-one-year-old boho flower girl?

I adjusted the folk horror film dangling over my eyes and took in the Gothic sanctuary. Light cascaded into the room through stained-glass windows, which depicted scenes from the Bible—or possibly a toga party gone wrong. The bride, Rebecca, had clocked a disconcerting number of hours on Pinterest, and it showed. Rustic Chic Jesus was thriving. Vines of eucalyptus lined the aisle, with white orchids and light pink peonies dancing on the twigs. Cascading towers of white candles set in mason jars lit a pathway to the altar, arched in a display of orchids. It was all so beautiful. It was all so unnecessary.

Our bride was Gone Girl.

Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. The third time it’s enemy action.

This was an admittedly odd time for a James Bond reference to resurface in my brain, but my mind had no boundaries.

Over the past decade, I had purchased three bridesmaid dresses for three separate weddings. While all three empire waist gowns participated in making me look like I was entering my last trimester, exactly zero of them participated in a recessional. I was three times a bridesmaid, yet there was never a bride.

Zero for three.

I was the enemy of love.

I was Bad Luck Bridesmaid.

I did not come to this conclusion alone.

BAD LUCK BRIDESMAID. Copyright © 2021 by Alison Rose Greenberg.