Book Series: IRISH BLUE Author: Sheila Willar Copyright: 2021 Sheila Willar ISBN #: 978-0-9867101-4-8
Book Title: THE CHAPEL Chapter #: 13 - PEARL NECKLACE
The bridesmaid's dresses were made from layers of lavender chiffon. Maggy chose it to represent the colour of the horizon, where the sky meets the ocean. She said that the grey-blue was a perfect compliment to the silver-ivy in her gown, and together with the flowers, they were an island in the sea.
Mrs. Clancy wanted to have some say in the matter and insisted that the dresses have matching shoes, so Kelly and Erin found a shop named “Dyeing To Meet You” and took a bag of shoes there to have the colours changed.
While Kelly discussed the shades and finishes, Erin explored the aisles packed with accessories and nicknacks. The displays were filled with shoe polish, glitter, glass beads, and racks of faux jewelry, where Erin noticed a strand of pearls that had a butterfly on the clasp.
She was excited because she had seen one just like it as a kid and now that it was in front of her once again, she considered buying it, but when Kelly called to go, Erin decided not to and left.
When they returned to the apartment, Finola called out, “Your mother called. She’s coming to New York.”
Finola and her sisters were born and raised in Kinkerry, the same as Erin and her mother, but even within small towns, there are legacies of rivalries.
“She’s not invited to the wedding,” announced Mrs. Clancy.
“Mother!” reprimanded Maggy. “Of course she can go."
“New York will be a shock for Kerry.”
“She’ll be overwhelmed.”
“It must be nice having a rich priest for a brother.”
“A rich priest indeed.”
On the day before the wedding Erin took a bus from her office to the airport to meet her mother, even though her mother had insisted otherwise.
Erin waited and watched for a petit waif of a woman who was known to shy away from gatherings. Kerry was normally withdrawn from anyone who had authority, but in contrast was bold with her own children.
Twenty minutes passed, then thirty and fifty and she hadn’t shown up. Other travellers had come and gone and the waiting area had cleared out. Erin was anxious and began to worry that her mother was lost or in trouble, however right then, the doors opened and through it came a group of people laughing and carrying on loudly as if they were having a party.
Erin could hardly believe her eyes. There were a dozen people from Kinkerry, all dressed for a show and pushing a platoon of luggage. Each one, including her mother was grinning from ear to ear and not one of them looked uncomfortable in the slightest.
When the Irish delegation spotted Erin, each one called out her name and her face flushed red with the greeting, as they hugged and pinched, and patted down her feathers as if she was a bird fallen from a nest.
Kerry spoke up, “You’ll overwhelm the girl. Give her some room to breathe.”
The others stepped back and Erin sighed, “I wasn’t expect’n the lot o’ you.”
Erin’s mother explained that they had come to New York as a group to buy fabric and meet distributors for their new business. They had started a clothing company and their designs were so popular that they could barely keep up with the orders.
Kerry said that she would like to meet Erin later but could not spare the time. She said she had a lot of cutting and stitching to do to finish the samples for the buyers.
Erin had gone to the airport to soothe her mother’s nerves, but it was her mother who was playing the role of mentor. It seemed like no matter where Erin went, the adults in her life wanted to teach the younger generation some kind of lesson.
Later that evening at the rehearsal dinner, Peter thanked everyone for coming and made a beautiful toast to his soon to be bride.
He looked directly at Maggy and said that they would be together forever, and while Maggy appreciated the sentiment, her gaze was distracted because she was trying to keep her father and mother apart, as well as many of the other guests who were estranged from each other. For Maggy, who truly loved Peter, the gathering of family and friends was a mix of eternal hope and unrelenting regret.
When it came time to leave, Finola and her sisters, as well as Kelly and Erin, shared a cab back to the apartment. During the drive, Erin stared out the window and when she saw the sign for the “Dyeing To Meet You” shop, she called out, “Stop here! I’ll be right back.”
The driver pulled over and Erin jumped out.
“What on earth?” grumbled Finola.
“What is this place?”
“It’s where we had the shoes dyed,” explained Kelly.
At the mention of shoes the other ladies had to have a look and so they all jumped out and hurried inside.
Erin was already at the counter paying for the pearl necklace when the others entered and browsed the aisles. The little plastic beads with the butterfly on the clasp couldn’t be more loved by Erin, as she held the little velvet bag tight to her body.
“Fake breaks!” snapped Finola as she approached the counter.
“It’s not going to break,” objected Erin.
“That’s what they all say. Everything breaks.”
Erin put the little velvet bag in her pocket for safe keeping and when she went to bed that night, she put it under her pillow. “Everything breaks,” she repeated over and over in her mind as she drifted off to sleep.