when: 6:20 p.m. wed.sept. 17
from: parked car behind dressmaker’s, somewheresville, baltimore
me: omg. nicole, its so perfect. i cried when i put it on. i cant believe it…
five minutes later, my cellphone’s ringing and i see an unfamiliar area code. it’s nicolina, calling cross-country from her city by the bay. and altho she’s exhausted from weeks of travel, she manages a giant HIIIIII and the gushing commences.
it finally happened. what i thought would never, ever happen to a big-mouthed jersey girl like me. even w/all my crying over the past few months, i never thought a dress–or any single piece of clothing–could make me cry. but yesterday, in an almost-secret shop in baltimore, it happened. and i’ve been walking on air ever since.
i’ve heard from friends (and in magazines and on tv and in the movies), “as soon as i put the dress on, i started crying. and that’s how i knew it was the one.” secretly i always thought, man. no way that’s ever happening to me. i’m just not that type of girl. i’ve never been that type of girl. but i tried my dress on last night and it happened: i started to cry.
there i was, in this heartwarming little hole-in-the-wall shop, crammed into in a stuffy woodpaneled dressing room. i get it halfway zipped (i need help to get the zipper all the way up; i was excited that it actually had a zipper, b/c thus far it’s just been a bunch of sharp pins) and i turn around and look at myself. and i look…really nice. different than i’ve ever looked before.
i open the folding door and sorta shuffle out (the slit isn’t quite finished yet). my pointy workshoes click-clack against the tile floor, and, lump in throat, silently enter the shop where the dressmaker and her assistant are waiting for me. their eyes widen and they start coo-ing, half-russian, half-english. seeing their faces, i just can’t hold it in anymore. i start crying and we all hug. suddenly, they’re my family. she’s my stand-in mother and her assistant’s an aunt or an old family friend (that i can’t speak to in english, but we didn’t need words). i’ve just been so heavy-hearted the past year or so as we’ve planned this wedding, with my mom so far away (and so busy with her job) in new jersey. and of course, my MOH is in san francisco. so it’s just been little ol clueless me researching dresses, going to buy material, stopping by the dressmaker’s on my way home from work. as we looked at each other–me, standing there in this elegant dress and these two women, starry-eyed, with their hands over their mouths–i just felt so loved. and to know that they finally know who i’m marrying (i.e. not a man) and don’t give a hoot made me love them even more.
they did some more pinning, and i changed back into my usual workclothes (black button-down, dark jeans, aforementioned clickety-clack pointy-toed shoes). we agreed that once the dress is complete (next week, after one more fitting), i would leave it there for safekeeping (and to keep holly from even getting close to it). “dis is a secret,” the dressmaker told me. don’t tell anyone what the dress looks like. surprise everyone. i wonder if she realized the person most likely to be surprised was right there standing in front of her: me.