I feel my smile fade as a turn to escape this blissful day.  One moment of solitude before walking down the aisle to eternal partnership.

In the mirror I see delicate lace and controlled perfection.  But all I can feel are layers of heavy pressure and a constricting corset that forces me to hold myself a certain way.  

I unlace the ribbons and unlatch buttons until a deep, gasping breath reaches my lungs.  I collapse on the floor in relief, my hand hitting the lid of a shoebox, tipping it open.

Your letters scatter the innocent, pink carpet of my old bedroom.  Return addresses from Fallujah, Basra, and Kabul stare up at me in defiance, flaunting their distance.

I can’t help but read them all, despite the tears they cause, creating black mascara tracks across my porcelain face. 

Each ends the same way, a solitary x and your name.  With each x, I fell deeper into the delicious fragility of this tragedy.

The last few letters are the worst, brief and completely detached, written more like orders than love letters.  It was around this time when I knew I lost you.

It was around this time that I realized I fell in love with a man who fell in love with a war.

With my ear against the floor, I hear the commotion of arriving guests in the foyer.  I can’t hide forever. 

I can’t wait for you forever.

My hands shake as I latch each small button at the back of my dress.  I tie the ribbon in a foolish way, in an attempt to hold onto one piece of my chaotic world.

Before turning away, I place the shoebox back beneath my bed, amongst stuffed animals and folders of my old schoolwork.  I step back and observe the miss-matched mementos of my past. 

And you seem to fit in there, as a memory in this place where we still laugh and wish.

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