by RON BURCH

The Brides of March love to dance. Flinging their arms up into the air, bent half-angle, they boogie all the way down the hips, knees, and ankles. Most of their white wedding dresses shimmer like light, a few dangle like lead. Some of the Brides are men. Some are other.

Together, they ride a blue bus with black spray can art flowing across it. The Brides imbibe bottles of clear alcohol and consume quantities of illicit colorful drugs, which causes them to sway, clap, sing nonsensical songs, and call people by the wrong names without even realizing that they are the wrong names. Even the Brides who are called the wrong names don’t realize they’re the wrong names. They just smile and nod and continue the conversation because, hey, maybe that wrong name is right for today.

The diaphanous dresses aren’t designer gowns. They are used and thrift-stored. Holes in the seams and stains scattered on them as if the brides, the original brides, had taken off on a run during the wedding while the rain poured bleakly down and they had tumbled and fallen down again and again to get away from the men they realized they did not love and then sold their stained dresses to used retail establishments or gave them away to places of goodwill. The original brides have finished their run of the dresses and gratefully passed them off to others and, if the price is cheap enough, that other is a Bride of March. The Brides of March host no weddings. They don’t pack the church with well-attired family members or the Italian restaurant down the street with 150+ guests. Their reception is on the rolling bus that ferries them to various exotic locations.

The Brides of March prowl bar to bar, bringing their celebration with them, traveling in small packs, 15 to 20 at most. Usually, at each of the bars, a single man, not in a wedding gown, will approach a Bride of March and, in the course of flirting with her (or him, don’t forget the Brides are also men), will usually ask why all these people are wearing wedding dresses. The Bride knows what is afoot here, knows the angle that is being subtly applied, and replies with a polite “Fuck off.”

The Brides don’t play that shit.

They are the Brides of March. They are special and unique. They are not beholden to anyone else. No Bride will flirt with another Bride when they are the Brides of March. It would ruin the social order. Chaos would reign. For this day, they are a bride to March, and they revel furiously in it. They drink and ingest. They party and pass out briefly only to awaken and drink, pop, snort, smoke whatever more. They commemorate this glorious day of being a Bride.

But as the day begins to descend and the Brides witness the impending dark fall of evening, they become morose. The alcohol sits heavier, the various drugs leave them stupefied, numb, and sad. A few get chills and cold sores. Some reluctantly sober up. At the end of day, when the blue bus drops each one of them at his or her home before the stroke of midnight, the Brides sit silently on the lurching commercial vehicle. Some whisper prayers. Some call old boyfriends or girlfriends only to hear a recorded voicemail. Some cry.

When the blue bus stops, the Brides freeze until the one, whose home they arrived at, slowly stands and drags him or herself to the shuttered door. The other Brides solemnly wave their goodbyes as the door slams shut and the bus rumbles on its dark way. The remaining Brides console each other because they know that tomorrow brings a day of being un-brided and not free and scarily open to returning to who they really are, having to suffer through another 364 days, hoping they can get through the long days of existence, until they are safely once again the Brides of March.

 

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RON BURCH‘s short stories have been published  in Mississippi Review, Cheap Pop, PANK and others. He’s been nominated for a Pushcart, and his first novel “Bliss Inc.” was published by BlazeVOX Books. www.ronburch.com.

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