‘Angela’s big day’

“Where are you, Angela?” Simon asked, his head raised to the heavens. He tapped his foot. “This is getting embarrassing.”

Angela was less than fifty metres away. All day, she had been getting ready, from exfoliating her heels and painting her nails to sticking the bloody eyelashes on for the third time. She was inept, yet determined. Today of all days, she told herself, she had to try. Making an effort meant that people noticed you, and she’d never been very comfortable with that.

Her hairless legs rubbed against each other as she paced. It was a strange, almost dizzying feeling, like picking up a silk scarf. Her arm hairs stood on end. Everyone that passed her in the street; surely they must be able to feel the static coming off her. The meaning of today. She longed to fade away into the crowd, one of the wandering texters or the legginged child wranglers. That’s what wearing trousers does, she concluded. It makes you invisible.

A roll of hair pinned behind her left ear was beginning to loosen. “Good luck!” a plump lady wearing a lanyard called out from the other side of the street. Angela smiled awkwardly back, and her lips felt greasy, unnatural. She remembered the lipstick: pillarbox red. She wondered if she had it on her teeth.

She picked at her freshly lacquered nails, wishing she had something to hold. Should she have arranged flowers? No, it was only a registry office do. And who walks into a florist on the day of their wedding? Her fingertips felt taut, uncomfortable. It was already twenty minutes past their slot.

The piercing voice of a little boy caught in her ears.

“Why’s that lady in a white dress?” it asked.

“Because she’s getting married,” his mother replied.

“Why is she getting married?”

“Because she’s in love, and that’s what people do when they love each other.”

But she wasn’t in love; at least, not with Simon. It was then that she realised, the only thing she loved was being Angela. Angela in the awful jeans, Angela with the knotty hair, anonymous Angela in her anonymous life where nothing was scrubbed, or special, or organised.

She grabbed a handful of skirt in each fist and ran.