I hesitated at the entrance of the church because of him. It was full of Thomas’s friends and family. Apart from a few distant cousins, I had hardly any sitting on my side. It was the only time I felt any real nerves. Lucy said there was no shame in walking away, but the wedding march had started. Thomas looked so handsome in his made to measure suit. I allowed his boss to take my hand and Lucy slowly took hold of my train.
Our ceremony was a step back into the past. I said to Thomas that marriage had changed. It was the eighties, men and women were equals. He said what is in a word when we would be together for ever. It felt right to include it in my vows.
As I signed my new name “Mrs Martha Whitman” on the marriage certificate, the letters swirled around the page. I was his. He was mine and life was perfect.
The rest of the day was a blur of photographs and presents being opened. Everyone was so generous. Thomas’s mum gave us a crystal vase. It looked expensive, but I couldn’t see where it would fit in our new home. It was heavy in my hands. I was worried I would drop it. Thomas picked it up, like it was a new-born baby. Put it carefully back in its box. He moved Lucy’s carriage clock away to put it in the middle of the table.
When we moved into the dance floor my pure silk wedding dress felt soft on my skin. Thomas constantly said he loved me. He whispered words I couldn’t repeat in polite company.
I didn’t see the sense in waiting until our wedding day, but Thomas wanted to wait, so it was important to me. I could resist if he could. Sometimes I imagined his other girlfriends. He was so much more experienced than I was.
Thomas had just gone to see his mum before she went to sleep. I couldn’t imagine such a woman sleeping. Often wondered whether she slept with one eye open. I can’t do anything right with Amelia. When I wear make-up, she looks at me with that disapproving stare of hers. When I don’t, she still looks down her nose at me. I try talking to Thomas, but he won’t hear anything against her. It is his mum after all.
I’ve just got to try a little harder to get on with her.