an impish face with ‘wise owl’ eyes to newlyweds, Dianne and Hugh
Levitt. She wished she could be as happy as they were. She felt
something, but it was not happy. She stared down at the ground,
making an effort not to drag her feet along the macadam road which
stretched past dairy and livestock farms. In the midst of this
pastoral setting, sat a nifty Cape Cod styled house, the Levitt’s
would soon call home. They swung their hands in unison, strolling to
a lawn reception to be held at the home of Dianne’s gal pal, Abigail
Tears stung Julie’s
eyes. Things seemed pretty cool right now. She was ten years old,
growing up fast, but not fast enough. Dianne and Hugh were in the
process of adopting her. But nothing good ever lasted.
The threesome made a right angle
turn and went down a rutted dirt road past a huge wood pile in a
clearing which narrowed to a drive bordered by hedges. As they drew
near to a freshly painted, white farmhouse with green trim, Julie
released each pulsating hand and skipped ahead through a grassy
triangle cut out by the sun beneath tall poplars.
Abigail Dawes was leaning over an
elaborately set long white table, fussing with a centerpiece of
white camellias, white roses and delicate baby’s breath. She turned
at the sounds behind her and looked up. “The guests of honor have
arrived,” she announced.
Julie slid her hands
down the lush material of her pale blue dress, pleased that it was a
girlie garment. Hand-tooled, silver barrettes held her red hair in
place, making her look older; at least twelve.
“You’re a knock-out,” Abigail
gushed. “That is a stunning dress. I meant to tell you how much I
liked it at the ceremony.” She had a wide smile and her cheeks were
flushed. “Would you help me serve these? I don’t have enough hands,
and many of the guests have arrived. I know you would rather be
doing something than standing around looking beautiful.”
Julie accepted a platter of canapés
and sampled three. “They taste good. I’m hungry.”
“Save some for the guests,” Abigail
called after her.
Julie headed in Dianne’s direction.
The bride was talking with her father, John Hobarth. She listened as
Mr. Hobarth congratulated his daughter, “Dianne, you look ravishing.
You deserve to be happy with a remarkable husband and a charming
“I feel blessed.” Dianne beamed as
Julie drew near with the tempting tray.
“Have one of these
little sandwiches, Dianne,” Julie pressed. “The peanut butter ones
“Um, they all look delicious,
honey; just one – the one with a cucumber on top.”
A black limousine with a
Massachusetts license plate drove into the yard and stopped. Julie
watched Yvonne Baleaux step out of the back seat of the vehicle
while two silver-haired, jeweled ladies climbed out of the front of
the car. They each carried gifts. Abigail greeted them with smiling
assurance and guided them to a table set up for the purpose of
displaying the gifts. A circle of white crepe paper bells danced
Yvonne made a bee line to Hugh.
Julie crept up behind Yvonne and Hugh and listened to their
“Wow, super day,”
Yvonne said breathlessly, shaking out her luxuriant auburn hair.
Hugh leaned his cheek down to her. With her slender, musk scented
hands she turned his face sharply and kissed him full on the lips.
“Congratulations bridegroom. I hope you’ll be happy with the little
woman.” Pouting, she looked across the sweep of lawn at Dianne
mingling with guests.
“I’ll be reasonably happy,” Hugh
drawled with conviction. “I knew from the moment I met Dianne I
Yvonne’s laugh was contemptuous.
“You’re not a romantic, Hugh. Love…you! A forty-one year old kiddie
counselor, hitching up with an old-maid social worker? You were more
exciting when you were an ad executive!”
Hugh’s eyes narrowed. “What pointed
nails you have, Yvonne. Why don’t you make an appointment to see me
at my office? I have just the therapy to help you function
Julie nudged Hugh and offered him
canapés from her tray. He placed several on a napkin and winked at
her. She turned deliberately away from Ms. Baleaux and proceeded on
“And, you have a brat
in the package!” Yvonne snapped her elegant fingers in the air.
“Now, about that offer, Doctor, if you are considering couch
The guests were
called together at one o’clock to feast on a sumptuous luncheon.
Mid-way through the gala, Julie left her barely touched plate and
walked over to a table situated adjacent to the main one, to view
the beautifully decorated, two-tiered wedding cake. She stared for a
long time at the miniature bride and groom ornamenting the top of
the cake. She suddenly ached for the dysfunctional mother whom she
would never see again, and, at the same time, a rush of abusive
memories threatened to paralyze her.
Out of the blue, Dianne appeared
and handed Julie a napkin. “Here, you’ll want to wipe the kool-aid
ring off your lips.”
Julie rubbed the
paper napkin over her mouth, and crumpled it into a ball.
“Come with me,” Diane
smiled down at her.
Julie followed the
vision in the rustling, white taffeta dress across the lawn, away
from the celebration. They stopped beneath the network of paper
wedding bells where splendid arrays of white, silver and gold
packages were spread out on the table.
“It’s too early to open gifts,”
Dianne explained. “We must wait for the proper time, but I want you
to open this one.” She picked up a small package wrapped in glossy
white paper and handed it to Julie.
“Go ahead, open it.”
Steadily, Julie looked up at
Dianne. She dropped the napkin on the grass, and ripped the paper
off the box, removing its cover. Inside a folded tissue lay a gold
charm bracelet with a triangle charm fastened to it. She held the
dainty piece up in order to read the inscription appearing on each
flat surface of the charm. It bore the names of Hugh, Dianne and
Julie. A tiny silver cross dangled in the middle with the name
Levitt and the wedding date inscribed on it. She extended her thin
arm out to the flushed young woman. “Put it on my wrist!”
“Please,” Dianne coaxed.
Julie rolled her eyes impatiently.
Dianne secured the hasp. An
intense, warm feeling came over Julie, and she burrowed her face
into a pleasantly-scented bosom. In the next moment, Hugh’s strong
arms encircled them both. At that moment, Julie knew in her heart
contentment would grow.