Saturday, January 7, 2012

Something Borrowed

I've mentioned my cousin Vanessa before, the one who loves April Fools jokes. Well, she's getting married this year on April Fools Day. She swears it's no joke, but something deep down inside me thinks she's secretly planning her revenge on the world. It may sound crazy, but she has just the temperament to pull it off. Is this really going to be her blessed wedding day or the best party in the world? We shall see. 

One inducement that makes me believe she may be telling the truth about her coming nuptial, is the fact that she's going to wear my wedding dress and veil. Yes, the very dress I wore on the happiest day of my life to the sweetest, sexiest man alive. How did this come about?!

We'll have to go way back to 1987, when I was a sixteen year old New Waver and she a wicked slip of a girl nine years my junior. I can still see her on a particular New Year's Eve at Aunt Pam's house on Baker Street in San Francisco. She was wearing an oversized men's t-shirt with a wide belt, slightly pushed down and to the right, no shoes and wild hair. Her eyes were everywhere. I thought she was the closest thing to an elf or an Irish Fairy. Elusive, laughing all the time, surviving her childhood best she could. I used to try to hold her, like I did all my cousins, nieces and nephews but she'd always squirm her way out of my arms and run away screaming and laughing. 

Little did I know as the years passed, she sort of looked up to me. She would secretly go into my bedroom, look through my things, put on my perfume, steal my favorite sweater...all without a trace that she'd ever been there. At one point she lived with us and I had the little sister I'd always wanted, but she remained evasive.  

It was years - a near death car accident, the birth of her son and believe-it-or-not Facebook, before she and I became friends. I'd just been laid-off from UC Berkeley due to budget cuts, when she invited me to the premier of New Moon and on a road trip to Forks, WA right after the movie - a real bonafide TwiHard Adventure. How could I resist? 

On that trip, while her buddy slept in the backseat, she and I talked about our lives and how we'd got to the point where we could forgive our pasts, and more important, how our faith in God has been our saving grace. It was so nice to catch up with her after years of brief encounters at baby showers, bridal showers and weddings. As I listened to her talk about her mom and becoming a mother herself I realized that she was all grown up, and more. I was the one who admired her now. 

Not only has she survived her childhood, she is the most amazing mother I've ever known. I remember as a girl she loved babies. She always wanted to hold them, feed them, speak tenderly to them. A real natural. Her son, Joshua Tiger, has special needs and he's the happiest boy I've ever seen. A big part of this is due to Vanessa's loving care, hard work and selfless dedication. She's amazing. I'm always singing her praises to my friends and family. In truth, Vanessa inspires me to be a better person. 

So, while she was here for Christmas with her fiance, JV, I had an epiphany. She still didn't have a real wedding dress, barely four months before her wedding, so why not offer mine? It took her a long time to believe I really meant it, but as she stood there in my bedroom, with the entire ensemble on, she positively glowed. It was one of the most precious moments in my life.

When I got married my cousin was only sixteen years-old. It has always made me sad, she and her mom, as well as our grandma wasn't there. Now Vanessa is thirty-two and she's getting married. Her mother, and our grandma have since passed away...but I'll be there. I am a part of Vanessa and she is a part of me. Our bond started long ago...

I can't wait to watch her sweep down the isle on Tony's arm and towards her future life. That is if this isn't all an elaborate hoax. April Fools!


  1. How can I even comment? Wow, I am completely purely touched. Its always been difficult to share my emotions, thank you for beinpatient in knowing me. I am so blessed to have you to call my family. All the years idolizing you, then years drug apart, and now to truly know you, to know each other as women-complete. And dang, we are pretty fantastic. I really, really like us. I want to be our best friend. Is that crazy? Yes but its true. And we are both blessed to have such wonderful husbands or in my case (oh my LourdyLou) soon to be husband. Your dress is perfect and I im completely honored to wear it on my epic day. Thanks, Buddy. Thank you so much for seeing me for me!
    Your's are the kindest words anyone other than J has ever spoken of me. You've warmed my heart. No joke.

  2. Rachel, you really are a great writer!!!