My short story “Bride of Christ”, an excerpt from my novel-in-progress, was published earlier this year by Relief: A Quarterly Christian Expression, and has now been released for reprinting below. Here’s the beginning:
Brides under archways of creamy white flowers. Black and white at the ballroom window, in soft cinematic light, pressing a pensive hand to the rain-streaked glass. Ballerina blondes, black prom queens who wore their ambitions as tastefully as a string of pearls, but also the average girls, those normally afflicted with plump torsos and ethnic noses, now lavished with the same beautician’s care, grateful for their single day of admission to the pantheon. A democracy of brides. And what of their accessories, the grooms? Banished to the back pages, in the cheesy honeymoon-suite ads. Whatever the magazine, the progression was as scripted as the parade of dignitaries at a coronation. First the gowns, then the housewares, then the mothers and girlfriends in their coordinated pastels, and finally the happy couple taking a bubble bath in a giant champagne glass in the Poconos.
It was a ready-to-wear fairy tale Laura Sue Selkirk could share with her students at Greenbriar Academy, the boarding school where she’d worked as a guidance counselor for the last five years. Some instinct in them ran deeper than the cheerleaders’ rhinestone Playboy belts or the bookworms’ genderless flannels. Girls were girls. The genes said babies and wedding cake, and you denied them at your peril. How different from the models in Julian’s magazines, stacked on the other side of her coffee table, which until recently had been the main object of her girls’ fascination. The women her brother photographed for Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar were hard, untouchable beauties. They drifted from Rome to New Orleans with no ballast. They never smiled, as the brides did, in anticipation of a future where they wouldn’t be the only one in the picture.
Read the entire story as a PDF here.