With a heavy heart after the death of my Mother, I climbed the rickety steps to the attic to begin the clear out process.  I passed mementos stacked on the steps, and paused to look each item over carefully. Mom loved to read.  She saved every book her beautiful long thin fingers with manicured nails touched.    Christmas decorations were stacked, awaiting their final destination to the storage bins in the back of the attic.  I am sure it was much too cold for Mom’s frail physique to venture beyond the puffs of heat only felt ankle deep while ascending the attic steps.

I continued my journey up the steps, pulling my sweater around my turtleneck already perched over the bridge of my nose.  I was attempting to “self heat” as I breathed slowly in and out.   At times, I shed tears as I came across pictures of Mom and Dad. What a truly happy and blessed life they had lived. At times, I wished I had a brother or sister to share in times such as this, to make the burden of Mom and Dad’s loss somewhat easier.

One picture I loved in particular was of Mom and Dad on their wedding day. I was shocked to see how young and vulnerable they appeared-like children.  I remember Mom talking to me about her wedding day, and how beautiful she felt in her wedding gown, hand-made by her grandmother and aunts.  Mom said it took them over a year to hand stitch the lace overlay-it was one of a kind.

The black and white wedding photograph prompted me to search further into the attic despite the cold that made my teeth chatter.  Although I never had the chance to see Mom’s wedding gown, I was destined to see if she saved it as she did every other treasure in her life.

I walked the narrow walkway, passing bin after bin of clothing, books, decorations, and my Dad’s war memorabilia he used to share with me.  Tucked away on a back shelf, with cobwebs attached to almost every corner, was an unusual rectangular box faded and water stained from years in the attic.

Brushing the cobwebs away, I gently pulled down the box from the shelf.  To my surprise, it was quite light weight, quite different from what I expected.

I gently carried the box across the attic and down the stairs, feeling relief as the heat hit my ankles before it spread lovingly around my body as I reached the landing.  There was a cord wrapped around the box that I gently pulled apart.  There was no “viewing window” to see inside the box as more modern brides were used to.

As I gently lifted the lid, my heart took a flutter as I cast my eyes across the certain fabric that made my Mom’s wedding day one of the happiest days in her life, and I could see why so.

Just as my Mom, the fabric was fragile and unique.  I could just imagine how she must have felt on her wedding day, and fortunately, today, I was able to feel her joy as I lay my hands on the fabric of her life.                                                                 ~Monica Sleap

This is a work of fiction.

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