With Child
Marni Asplund-Campbell, editor

Deep in My Trunk
Julie Turley

[p.15]I bring one of those tossaway cameras to the wedding and use all fifteen shots on the bride coming up the aisle. Her hairstyle is the most magnificent thing about the wedding and this is what I want to capture. It is a complex sentence with many rooms, all false. The blonde cupola on top holds a tiara, which is fraught with rhinestones—a pageant gift the bride won in Utah Valley at sixteen.

The bride is thirty-two and pregnant. We find this out in the basement bathroom of the Salt Lake Arts Center where the reception is. The test stick turns pink, and before the dancing, she takes off her hair, which she hands to me for the box, which is aqua, the color of feminine hygiene. Now my friend looks like Mia Farrow when she was Mrs. Sinatra. I put the wig and the stick in the box and run it out to my car which is parked across the street at the mall. My friend, being Mormon, was married as close to the temple as she could get, in the Lion House, next to the Beehive House.

I was married once and tried to get pregnant all the way through it. Then I broke it off, had everything ripped out, cleaned out. They found something troubling, and I didn’t want to take any chances. Back inside, I lean into the basement bathroom mirror where other female guests mill before the band starts and clean up my lipstick. It is a deep ruddy red autumn stick that I drop in my bra as I tear up the stairs.

The band launches into something from The Lion King and I want to be there for the first dance. My friend, the bride, takes the elbow of her new husband—not the father of this child who accompanies them across the floor, we both know. This new husband, heartbreakingly enough, is a virgin, and runs his free hand over his hair, and then the [p.16]other over the bride’s.  They begin to foxtrot, and, before the song ends, foxtrot to the table of honor and everyone cracks up.

At the buffet I load up on prawns and miniature rice cakes with nicoise-style olives. It is a heady, eclectic buffet, and I raise my strawberry frappe punch in a tribute to the table of honor. They raise theirs back, and then, predictably enough, the bride bends her sleek head into a beaded bridal bag. I meet her in the bathroom and give her my lipstick for a touch up.

“What did you do with the stick?” she asks.

“I kept it,” I say.

We look in the mirror at each other. Someone has been smoking in here, and I mist the room with perfume—a cheap copy of Joy. My hair has been swept up into a simple chignon, and my dress has been so expertly cut that I am undetectable when I sweep into a room. I am all about myself, nothing else.