We never wanted a normal wedding.
My girlfriend-turned-fiancée-turned-wife never dreamt of the perfect day. She did not want to wear white or celebrate in a church. Neither did she want us to present rings to one another or do anything that was cliché. For a long time, I was certain that her stubbornness existed because she loathed the idea of getting married at all. And of course, if this had been the case, I would have gladly accepted it. There was no doubt that we were going to spend all our lives together; it didn't matter to me if it were sanctified in front of friends and family.
Flash forward two years and she is wearing a black, heavily cobwebbed dress that would be too sinister even in a morgue. It is Halloween night and we are getting married. We are in an abandoned forest area that is only used for crack-addicts nowadays, and yet it could be anywhere. Her make-up is painted deliberately thick, accentuating the eyes in a Gothic manner; very reminiscent of her favourite flick, The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. It is a twisted, deformed teasing of psychology. And yet, she sees something romantic in it. Am I marrying a freak? Undoubtedly. Is she an adorable freak? Why, yes.
She smiles at me as the sun sets, revealing fake vampire teeth which have had pretend blood dabbed on the ends of the canines. You may not believe this, but I never thought I would marry a vampire. When I was young, I imagined a blonde-haired, blue-eyed princess. Yes, I lacked a certain element of feminist thought. Of course, vampires fascinated me, terrified me, beyond the point of sleep on occasion. How could I spend the rest of my life sleeping alongside one every night? It must have been her Scandinavian roots but she was always slightly cold, slightly chilly to the touch. Not to the extent of a dead person, mind you - I'm not that fascinated by the realms of the living dead - but enough to wake you up when a hand bumps off you in the middle of slumber.
Still, beyond everything, I adored her. If she were a vampire, I'd let her keep her coffin in our room, I'd help her bury the bodies. I might even join in on a feast. I'm not insane but it is something that some sick part of me always wanted to try. Is there anything more forbidden, more taboo, than human blood?
Beside the corpse bride, I am dressed as the reaper of souls from Sjostrom's The Phantom Carriage; a poncho-reminiscent cloak covers my body, my face masked by a thin strip of fabric. I can see through it hazily, but others can't see my face. We joked that it would be fun to have hired some horses, put body paint on them to appear gaunt, and re-enact the entire funeral scene from the silent film. But, as vegetarians, we ultimately decided that we couldn't risk the horses getting injured or scared by our antics.
Yes, that's right; vegetarians. Some terrible vampires we'd make. Starve to death like a duo of buffoons. In fact, the only thing that even closely resembles the supernatural is her pallid visage under a certain light. When there is a strong light on her, you can clearly see her veins in her face and neck. Oh, if only I were vampire-bred. I always thought she looked beautiful, delicious and, as a creature of darkness, someone I could experiment with. Not enough to hurt her, just playful. You'd get worse cuts and bruises from playing a contact sport.
Planning the wedding, we prayed for rain. At best, thunder and lightning crashing overhead. On Halloween night. As two ghouls became one. Atmospheric... It was sunshine. First time in weeks, the news reports said. Well, I guess there is no rest for the wicked. Sunshine would have to do. Perhaps we could simulate melting.
- Will you love me when I wear this dress for a second time? she'd asked; her method of inquiring whether it was to be a lifelong love.
- Yes, and you'll still look as beautiful as you look tonight, my corpse bride.
- And you love me, don't you?
- Yes I do
It is sometimes hard to believe that she's been dead for ten years. I find myself doubting it some mornings, wondering where on earth the time has gone. Hating myself for moving on, and missing her more than I could ever thought possible. And the worse parts are those moments when I reach out for her, or say something she would have liked, and I realize that I am all alone. It is like losing her all over again. It hurts so much that I wonder whether it would have been better to have never met her in the first place.
She always said she would die young. That we would leave this world together, or linger as ghosts if we chose to. But I didn't think it would be so soon. I didn't get to say goodbye, but I am not sure what I would have said anyway. I just know that I spent my whole life looking for my soulmate, found her, and now I will have to spend the rest of my life trying to get over her. I am not sure if it is possible.
I don't want it to be possible.
This pain is her. The loss is her. The nights where I just want to end it all... It is all I have left of her. And as the memories fade, until one day I can't even remember what she sounded like, I will cling to the pain like a lifebuoy. It will remind me that once upon a time I met a real life corpse bride, fell in love, and lived a life that was truly blessed. It will remind me that I once loved the most unusual, kooky, brilliant girl in the world and, you know what, she loved me right back.