"Can I get you girls anything?" the saleswoman asked the group as they settled into the blush colored couches. Soft, early afternoon light flooded the room, casting shadows on the exposed brick walls, dancing across the floor and shining a perfectly placed natural spotlight on the dresses that hung from the rack in the corner. The girls looked back and forth at each other anxiously and finally one piped up, "Is it alright if we open this in here? We're just so excited, she's the first one to go through this!" Ten minutes later, glasses were filled and toasts were made. "To finding the perfect one!" the friends exclaimed excitedly, sipping the champagne and adding to their Sunday morning brunch buzz.
The initial few she came out in were pretty, there was no doubt about that. The group loved the lace fabric that made up the first dress, and they gawked at the flawless silhouette of the third, commenting on how it clung to her body in all the right places. "I like it, but I don't love it" one friend commented on the fifth dress. "It's beautiful but will you be able dance in it?" said another.
Thirty minutes later the saleswoman had just began to get a bit nervous about not finding the perfect fit, when the girl emerged from the fitting room and the peanut gallery fell silent. The friends watched intently as the girl stepped in front of the full length mirror and they gasped as she released hold of the dress, letting the train fall the to the floor.
"This will be me soon" she thought as she stared at her roommate and one of her closest friends. "I am making the right decision" she silently told herself when thinking about her upcoming move and the new job she had just accepted in another city and a completely different state. "We will be good together" she reassured herself as the nerves associated with moving and moving in with her boyfriend surfaced. They had met in this city and had been together two years, in a relationship that could be characterized as easy and more than anything else, simple. However, during the previous two weeks they had engaged in more deep and real conversations than they had in the entirety of their relationship. "If you follow me and we move in together, you know that means that we're really committing to be with each other, right?" she had asked him one night while they were discussing the impending move over pizza and wine. "Well, I'm not going to marry you tomorrow, but ya, I get it. I know" he had responded in true, 26 year old boy fashion. "I'm next" she thought as she admired her friend in white. "I'm next and I think I'm ready".
Though she was sitting on the blush colored couch next to her friends, admiring the perfection that was the bride-to-be in what was quite possibly the dress-to-be, her mind was elsewhere. She checked her phone for the forth time in ten minutes, hoping that there would be something from him, anything from him. "What am I doing?" she wondered as she realized how desperate she was to hear from a man she barely knew, a man who was certainly not the man that she was currently dating. Her phone buzzed and she felt a pang of guilt when she read "can't wait to see you this week, babe". Slipping her phone into her purse she scolded herself, "Dammit, this is the man I should be wanting to hear from, this is who I should be getting excited about. He flies across the country to see me, he loves me whole-heartedly and if he knew I would let him, he would put a ring on my finger tomorrow and then I would be the one trying on these ridiculous white dresses like every girl dreams of doing". But even with the feeling of guilt, her mind still wandered to the mystery man she had met during a chance encounter. "He's the perfect stranger" she thought to herself, "keep him that way". But as she recalled the conversation they had engaged in, the way she had opened up to him like no one before and the way he had really looked at her during their brief time together, she couldn't help but smile. Their exchanges since that fateful day had been short but heavy, loaded with questions about fate and destiny, yet lacking anything concrete or solid with regard to the future. "What am I going to do?" she asked herself. "Chris loves me, he would do anything for me. He is the safe bet and I could have all of this if I wanted it". Focusing in on the white dress and the gorgeous girl wearing it, she was honest with herself for the first time in a long time and asked the question "But what if I don't want all this?".
"What the fuck, Josh" she cursed in her head as she stared with envy at her beautiful friend in the beautiful dress. Sunlight streamed through the window and landed on the back of the dress, catching one of the shiny rhinestone buttons, sending beams of bright light dancing across the room. She closed her eyes and breathed heavily, reminding herself not to get too worked up. "Two years you chased me" she thought angrily, "It took you two whole years to convince me that you would love me forever and when I finally let you in and finally gave you my heart, you shattered it. Fuck you Josh, this was supposed to be me" She opened her eyes slowly and plastered a smile on her face, hoping that her outward expression showed the opposite of what she was feeling internally. "One day I will have this" she told herself repeatedly, "One day someone will be worthy of my affection and when I give them my heart, they won't run. They will stay." And as she caught the eye of her friend in the reflection in the mirror she smiled a warm and heartfelt smile, nodding her head and telling herself, "I deserve this and sooner or later this will be me".
"I've never seen something so beautiful" she realized as she gazed at the train falling perfectly around her feet. It really did hug her body in all the right places, accentuating her curves yet complimenting her tiny waist. She watched the light catch the rhinestones on the belt and admired the way the dress moved with her when she moved. "I love this" she told herself, "I've actually never loved any dress more". Looking at her friends reassuring smiles in the reflection of the mirror she thought about how lucky she was to have such incredible people in her life, friends who would do anything for her. Redirecting her attention to her own reflection in the mirror she could feel the tears start to well up. "She's found the one!" she heard her friend say as the first tear rolled silently down her face, followed by many, many more. The room erupted in applause and cheers as photos were snapped and hugs were given. Her mind raced. "How am I ever going to tell them? How am I ever going to tell him?" she questioned as she removed herself mentally from the celebrations, looking deep into her own eyes and deep into herself in the beautiful white, floor length mirror. "I can't do this" she thought, glancing through her tears at the diamond ring on her finger, "there's no way I can go through with this, he's just not the one."
"How wonderful, it truly is perfect on you" the saleswoman exclaimed as she wrote down the style number and color before running off to grab a celebratory bottle of champagne.