In the middle of the table, Sophia sat alone, the glass in her hand growing heavy. Her head hummed, the beat of the music invading her mind.
Sophia looked at the last dregs of the drink, and poured what was left down her throat. It burned away as she placed on the delicate tablecloth. She leaned back, bloated and uncomfortable.
Across the room, Stephen was dancing. Hand in hand, he moved around with the bridesmaids, laughing and dancing in the glow if the lights.
She leaned across the table once more.
She grabbed a bottle.
And she drank.
A chiffon dress covered her, lightly layered and crimped. It floated on her, long on her arms and to her feet. It was high-cut, silver patterns choking her neck. The fabric around her waist felt tighter with each drink. The champagne bloated her, tightening the layers, bubbles burning her chest. She burped. A few chairs down, an older man stared. Some uncle or grandfather of Stephen’s, Sophia wasn’t sure. Noticing, she toasted the bottle at him, and took another sip. He looked away, nose stiffening up, mouth downward in judgment.
Across the room, her father watched on. Sophia’s cheeks burned as their eyes met. She looked down at herself.
The dress was smothering. The room was blurring. Sophia watched her husband dance once more.
And she drank.
Some several drinks or more later, Sophia wandered outside. The sun had begun to sink, bloody clouds falling and drifting into the early evening sky. She walked down the winding pathway, away from the party in the barn on the top of the hill. Her steps stuttered, irregular against the stones, the increasingly thinner path breaking through the tufts of grass. The ends of the dress tripped and tugged at her feet, exacerbated by the small satin heels poking through the rips and digging into the stones every other step, forcing her to finally stop and rip them off.
Bare-footed, holding up her wedding dress as best she could, Sophia sped up her pace to reach the bottom of the hill. Upon reaching there, she gratefully leaned against the fence, as she breathed in the clean air. Before her, large trees grouped together, leaves cowering from the summer winds. Arms crossed on the fence, she put her head down, and momentarily watched the branches shake. Darkness had started to pollute the sky and transform it to the night. The trees drowned in moonlight.
Sophia ignored the cold. The placebo of the alcohol kept her warm, in her mind. She started to climb over the fence, dropping the heels over to the other side, pulling up the dress, now decorated with further rips and the dirt of the fence rubbing against the clean, bleached fabric.
Nearly falling as she half toppled over, she kept her composure, grabbing hold of the fence with one hand and waving at the air for balance with the other. Steadying herself, Sophia faced towards the woods.
Ignoring the shoes, pointless to her now, she, curious, wandered around, the trees shielding what was left of the light. A sharp, cutting pain suddenly burst on her scalp - the small veil, forgotten by her, was being torn from her, ripped by a branch nearby. She stopped to untangle herself, unsnapping the tightly bound clips holding it together, pulling a few thin strands of hair from it as she did. Wincing slightly, Sophia left the veil behind, and ventured further past the trees.
Her arms out to her sides, she felt the touch of the wood, the bark, the leaves and dirt. She squatted down on the grass and the felt the softness of the blades beneath her. Ripping and clawing at the ground, she held clumps of grass and flowers between her fingers and her palms, feeling the insects crawl beneath.
She wondered if she might find a gingerbread house out here. A cottage with seven dwarfs. A house belonging to three bears. She curled up on the ground. She wanted to listen to the earth hum, sing the hymns of the planet. Sophia so desperately wanted to hear the ground speak to her, and raise arms up, and pull her into an oblivious peace. She lay there. She listened, closely.
She heard nothing.