I took a picture of this unknown bride walking near a white bus on Michigan Avenue in Chicago. With her long white veil grazing the sidewalk her blonde hair stayed perfect as the wind swayed around her. The bottom of her dress looked like small white waves that could not be contained. She stands in the light, while the shadow watches from behind.
Wondering about her story, I thought about her beginning. What are the thoughts running in her head? Does she have cold feet? How long has she waited for this day? Did she announce her marriage in the society pages? Is her wedding in a bustling park or in a church?
Someone else’s story becomes powerful when it resonates with you. This brief, unexpected flash took me back to a late June morning almost thirteen years ago. On the day I got married, it rained hard in the early morning hours. But by wedding time, the clouds disappeared, the sun setting the rhythm of a new beginning. As a traditional Indian bride, there was no veil, strapless wedding dress, or long train. My sari was a mixture of shimmery white with a red border, depicting the acceptable colors of an Indian dulhan. My hair did not flow, but was clasped in a tight bun, a hundred bobby pins in my head made me feel like a porcupine. On my wedding day, a swirl of emotions churned in my stomach. Nervousness, excitement and happiness fluttered liked flies around me.
On the day you get married, there is so much you think you know, but so much of it is a mystery. In loving and living with someone else, you learn everyday about the small and big pieces, that make you, him, and the marriage. How you navigate that terrain is something you are not allowed to know on the day of your marriage.
As in the picture, you learn, that there is so much light, dark, and grey.