Red Ivy

Red like the autumn leaves, fiery like the summer sun, orange as a fire blaze, sparkly, interesting, fun


4. The wedding


The wedding ceremony seemed to last forever. I had to hold Gerry and help her throw her flowers from her little wicker basket whilst holding the shining golden rings on the silky white cushion. Gerry tried to reach out for them a couple of times but each time I occupied her with throwing flowers onto the red carpet behind us.

Gerry was achingly heavy and after a while my arms began to ache. I sat down on the floor, ignoring the pointed looks my Mothers’ friends shot at me. I was tired and I had to sit. I let Gerry play with the hem of my skirt and then she finally fell asleep on my lap, her tiny fingers wrapped around my thumb. I stared in wonder at her beautiful dainty face; the pale pink eyelids, her rosebud lips and button nose. She had inherited our Mother’s piercing green eyes but the resemblance stopped there. She had a tuft of pure jet black hair and not a single freckle of her smooth features. I envied her.

After Jay and my Mother had said their ‘I do’s’ and kissed (ew – not something you particularly want to see your mother doing in public), me, Gerry, Jay and Mother climbed into a separate limousine and raced off towards the fancy Italian restaurant they had chosen. Mother put her head on Jay’s shoulder and wrapped a protective arm around me, taking Gerry in her free arm. I had been babbling on about how wonderful the wedding was and how great a time I’d had (not) until she did this, shocking me into silence. My Mother was someone who kept herself to herself (except with men) and she never as a rule displayed any public affection towards me. At first I sat stiffly in the crook of her arm, scared of making a wrong move but finally relaxing against her body, joining in with the light banter and chatter of Jay and my Mother.

Even though it pained me to say this after so cruelly losing my Dad, even then at the age of eleven I could say that Jay was the best thing that ever happened to my Mother. She was relaxed, open and showing her affection towards me. It was an accomplishment. I even think I was being to love her. Until the fragile bridge we had begun to build crumbled in front of my eyes.

Jay left my Mother, leaving her to cope with Gerry. Or, in other words, me to cope with Gerry. I don’t blame Jay. He had every right to do what he did. He didn’t realise I’d be the one looking after Gerry. Do you want me to tell you what happened? My Mother. That’s what happened. Again.

It was about five months after the wedding and even though my Mother was happier and more open, she started going out with her horrible friends again. Staying out late, drinking, smoking. I was eleven and she was twenty-nine but she reminded me of a fairly rebellious teenager.

The first time she came back drunk, Jay was asleep and I had to get her to bed. She asked me to ‘fetch me a glass of wine, would you love?’ but instead I got her a cool glass of water. By the time I got back to her, she was asleep. I hoped against hope that that would be the last time she came in drunk but a week later, she came in singing a wobbly tune from the eighties.

I had just helped Jay put Gerry to bed and we were putting on Jays favourite movie, Madagascar, when the doorbell pealed out a merry tune. I got up to get it leaving Jay sipping his coffee. I opened the door, not knowing what to expect but definitely not expecting to see my Mother, her make-up dripping down her face, claiming that she’d seen my Dad down at the local bar. My heart leapt into my throat but I told myself not to be silly, Mother was drunk, she had to be seeing things. I led her through to the kitchen, sitting her on a chair and handing her a glass of water. Jay wandered through, having heard the commotion and when he saw Mother he rushed to her side.

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