The music played in the background, the soft hum of the organ setting the scene. Erika took her father’s arm, and started the walk down the aisle. One she’d dreamed of ever since she could remember. She could see Emily, her baby sister, sitting off to the side. The deep purple ribbons in her hair woven through the long golden strands put Erika’s mind at rest. She focused on the ribbons as her thoughts went back for just a moment to the day Emily was born.
“She’s a perfect peach,” she could hear their words through the confusion of relatives gathered around her mother’s bed. “Look at those fingers and toes, just perfect I tell you.” The voices were mingling together . Her father reached down and touched Erika’s shoulder. So, he said, what do you think we should name her? Erika had felt a surge of pride at being asked. “Well,” she’d thought quickly, “I think maybe M would be a good name”
You mean Emma, or Emily? Her father smiled.
“No, just M, the letter M. That would be fun.”
Then he’d taken her by the hand, out into the living room. “You’re new baby sister isn’t a toy sweetheart, or a letter out of Sesame Street,” he’d sat her down beside him and looked at her with the gentle blue eyes she’d come to trust so much. “This is a real live human being, your own flesh and blood who will be in your life forever.“
“Then Cinderella.” Erika’s five year old face went serious, her eyes the size of saucers at the levity of the situation. Cinderalla lived happily ever after forever with the Prince. Is that forever enough dad?”
Erika pulled her own thoughts back to each step she was taking down the aisle. She felt her father’s arm warm inside the crook of her own. She knew the blue eyes were watching both her and Emily. But the celebration of today should be different. Someone was missing.
“What are you doing,” she could hear her mother’s scream from the kitchen as Erika shoved the coloured pills, one by one, into the baby’s mouth. She’d smiled and drooled her baby smile as she swallowed the coloured orbs. The next thing Erika remembered was the sound of the siren, so loud some nights, still in her head.
Emily was born a few years later, but she would never forget Cynthia, the Cinderella that should also be celebrating this day with them. She struggled to forgive herself every day, especially when the blue of her father’s eyes clouded over from time to time.
She continued her steps down the aisle of the great cathedral, her eyes now distracted to the images of her faith, streaming colours from the stained glass windows. Her father gently released her arm and sent her into her new life.
She looked forward to someday being able to use her new name, Sister Erika, once her vows were complete. (498)
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