Nebraska Center for Writers

THE BRIDE'S LOVER
by JUDITH SLATER

Pictures he takes:

  • Amy, looking radiant (that word invented for brides), standing by the trumpet vine. The flaming, trumpet-shaped flowers set off the gold streaks in her rich brown hair. If Matt took one hundred thousand pictures of Amy, he could never do her justice, never get her right, never express the depth of his love for her. His unselfish, let's-still-be-friends love, which is, after all, his chief motive for volunteering to be the official photographer at her wedding.

  • Amy and Warren, together. By the trumpet vine, by the cake, by the rose trellis, by the champagne table. Matt focuses on Warren's bulging Adam's apple, on his skinny wrists. He'd like to use a special lens which would zoom in on the worst of Warren's features, revealing to Amy (the camera doesn't lie) what a terrible mistake she has made in marrying this man. Though, Matt thinks sourly, Amy won't care what Warren looks like in the pictures as long as she looks good. (And, to be fair, isn't that the way Matt himself is? The way most of us are? We take pictures selfishly, to remember ourselves by.) All brides are beautiful on their wedding day, Matt thinks. Matt is full of clichés about brides today.

  • Amy's Uncle Hugh, over by the dahlias getting smashed on Freixenet. Matt takes a shot of Hugh talking to himself, and it's going to look fine when it comes out, it's going to look like Hugh having a nice, normal conversation with somebody who just happens to be out of the frame.

  • To get it over with, a picture of Dr. and Mrs. Giovanni, whom Matt despises, possibly even more than they despise him. Amy's landlords, the Giovannis have not only rented her their downstairs garden apartment dirt-cheap (she's the only tenant in San Francisco who's had her rent lowered over the years), they have semi-adopted her as the beloved daughter they never had. They cheered from the sidelines when Amy threw Matt over for Warren, and they look so smug today that Matt would like to slug them both.

    Reprinted with permission
    from Greensboro Review, Summer 1993
    Copyright © 1993
    by Judith Slater


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