Nobody saw Priya fly away. The wind had upturned the garden wedding like a snow globe. It blew fascinators sideways and pulled hats into kites. It blew open purple dresses like broken umbrellas and snapped tablecloths up into the trees. Everything had to be pinned down, weighted and kept close. But nobody had thought to tie the bride down.
“My little girl,” her mother had said, holding onto Priya’s cheeks. “What a dream come true. If only your father were here to see it.”
After her mother’s words, Priya had taken off her heels, her hooves of burden, and went out the front door. She put her fingers to her temples and shut her eyes like her dad used to do. He would squeeze the bad dreams out of her ears, catch them and blow them away. Her eyes would flutter like wings in the breeze.
When she had a good dream he told her to put her fingers in her ears to keep the good ones from leaking out in the morning. Hold on tight to those, he’d say. Good dreams are hard to come by. He’d stash little things under his pillow. The things he wanted to dream about: boats, seashells, driftwood, holiday pictures. When her dad died, her mother woke up and found him with his fingers in his ears and a dog-eared picture of his family under his pillow. Priya had never put a picture of her fiancé under hers. She had a picture of the skies, blue skies with blazing white trails shooting through them, and a picture of her dad.
So Priya unpinned her veil, the one with small flowers stitched into the net, and she cast it into the carp pond. She unbuttoned the corset, unhooking the fisheye, and her lungs took in the air, her back lifted, unburdened. She knew now what she had been carrying this whole time, this weight piled onto her. She was stuck in somebody else’s dream and it was time to blow it away.
So she stepped out of her dress and onto the damp grass, and instead of skin or hair she wore feathers. A soft, beautiful down all over her.Golden and wild. She thought of her mum, sat alone, clasping onto her hat. And then she remembered her dad’s boat, how her mum tied her hair down with a scarf, her sunglasses wet with spray, but how she laughed when a bump sent her jumping up like a flying fish.
Priya closed her eyes, pulled back her arms, took a deep breath, and ran and ran until a gust of wind lifted her up into the sky. The wedding guests gazed up, but they didn’t see Priya, they only saw the blazing white trail she left behind.
FJ Morris is an award-winning writer from the UK and her collection ‘This is (not about) David Bowie’ is due to be published in November 2018 by Retreat West. She’s been published in numerous publications in the UK and internationally, and shortlisted for a variety of awards. Recently, you can find her stories soaring the skies thanks to a short story vending machine in a Canadian airport, chiming away in Salomé magazine, and walking the pages of the Stories for Homes Anthology 2 for Shelter. You can also find her stories in Bare Fiction, Halo, The Fiction Desk, Popshot, National Flash Fiction Day anthologies, and many more.