The dress is white and silk and sheer. Mother puts a hand on her chest, tells me that she is so proud but I look at her wrists and her string of fate clashes with her softness—an accessory out of place with her flowers and stars.
I walk down the aisle covered by a veil of light—the handiwork is flimsy, I know the weaver’s still getting the mechanics of it—holding a bouquet that has been wilting for days now; it stinks of anger and disappointment, pungent and bitter and sour.
My fiancé lifts the veil: I wonder what he sees—I, no longer a girl, but nearly feral, nearly clawing out a ribcage, with lips bleeding roses and charcoal masking eyes. I wonder if he can still recite his vows in the face of an oncoming storm.
The rings are the sun melted down to fit both of our fingers. The varnish chokes the air in my lungs. He says I do as he slides his ring on my finger, something in me screams and collapses, shattering into muted petals. I say I do as I slide my ring on his finger, I hope he hears the clink of ball and chain linked around our hands.
The night after the reception he’s in the bathroom and he won’t come out. With the door in between us, I ask why and he said that he did not marry a wolf, he did not marry to be eaten alive. I told him that someone had to, for tradition’s sake. I also said that girls weren’t meant to howl at the moon every night.
Toss a coin.
If it’s heads,
take the path
with the gnarled trees
and faint buzzing
of something coming alive.
Tails, take the one
that’s half concrete,
If neither appears,
take a gambit.
What could go wrong?
Saquina Karla C. Guiam is a writer from General Santos City, Philippines. Her works have appeared / are forthcoming on Venus Mag, Geoliterary, Scrittura Magazine, Transcending Shadows Review, Feminine Inquiry, and others. She is the Roots nonfiction editor of Rambutan Literary and the Social Media Manager of Umbel & Panicle, a new literary magazine about all things botanical.
Featured photography by badpoem