Like Water

A boy and a girl travel cross-country to one another, trying to decide whether to run away from their family and religion to marry.

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2. AEROPLANE

She was on a plane. Trapped in a little metal cage, and when she said little she meant a lot smaller than Africa, and small as in she couldn’t escape from it. Already, she had to hide her heavy breathing by sucking in her teeth. The older women beside her gave out a sigh of frustration, and licked her finger to flick to the next page of Vogue.  She looked in a death grip of concentration with the recipe for chic dinner party gowns, leaving the girl to squirm into her seat, and shut the window blind down automatically.

In truth, she wasn’t even really afraid of flying. In this case, she was more terrified of landing. The minute the plane touched the ground again, it would be her move that counted. True, it had been her choice to book the plane; economy, and the most basic of airlines; but there was something so much more prominent of her next stage. She’d get a taxi, and even if the plane was two hours late she’d still manage to reach there on time.

In her bag, there was a crisp white dress, folded to absolute perfection. She had taken hours to choose it, hours more to have the courage to buy it. She glanced at her olive-skinned fingers, right to the tip of the red nails, and bit so far into her lip she nearly split the skin. The wedding ring. Right. She’d need that, probably. It was tucked away in the corner of her bag, in the shiny blue box. According to Ezra, there wasn’t much else to do in these weddings except presenting a ring and saying ‘I do’, at the right moments. She prayed to Shiva they weren’t married by some Elvis impersonator.

He’d also mentioned in the phone call about something new, borrowed and blue. It had been Ezra’s box contained so technically that was borrowed, and she thought the dress counted as new. Something old… She’d kept the earrings given to her two years ago, by her father. It had only the birthday before last, and still she thought the earrings should have been covered in cobwebs and rust. Instead, they were golden and red, sparkling in her ears still pink from ripping them out and shoving them back in at customs. When she'd tried to explain ito Ezra what they meant she saw hat glaze over his eyes, a shield to new ideas. What could she expect  him to learn anyway? He was Jewish. They were on two opposite spectrums of religions, and if there had been a garden of faith Judaism would have been planted miles apart from Hinduism. While her leaves would have been like a magnified autumn, with golds and reds; Judaism would have been a bush, with blue fruit and plentiful earth around it.

She wished she didn’t think about it too much. She wished she could tell him, honestly, that it didn’t matter to her. She wished that when she sat in her hotel room last night,  with retro pink frills and a view of an endless city, she hadn’t been in tears when she had agreed to marry him tomorrow. They’d planned it for months, of course. But as she played with the ring as she lay in bed alone, throughout her internship alone, she’d never considered wearing it in the outside world. He had been a dizzy dream, almost like she had made him up in her head as rebellion, or escape.

“Do you mind, dear?” The women beside her asked. There was something so frank about the way she said dear, like it was a dirty swear.

“Mind what?” The mild anxious squeal of her face had transformed to headlit-deer alarm.

“Your worries honey. They’re starting to make me twitch in nerves. I can smell the stress right off you, like a soiled aura.” Great, now her vibes spelt nervous wreck. “Just tell me what’s troubling you, for crying out loud. The flight isn’t that long and with that kind of worry, I won’t be able to concentrate to read a single more word of my magazine. It’s not cheap stuff.”

The girl sat and bit her fingernail, before slapping it away, and all the while her eyes were all lit and curious. Like if she should just spill her guts to the women, and then wish her off.

“My name’s Bubbles.” The older women held out a hand with Barbie-pink nails, and in that moment, the girl agreed. Because she couldn’t think of one bad/gossip/judgemental person in the world called Bubbles. Unfortunately, she couldn’t think of any good people either.

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