Smoothing my hand over the puffy satin skirt, I traced imaginary creases out of the ivory cloth. The net underneath was starting to itch. My stockings were a little too short to meet the suspenders, pulling the white lace tight into my thighs. At least no one could see that through the meringue skirt.
“I want to be a princess, too.” My flower girl Emily pouted, her big brown eyes looking up at me. I stroked her soft hair.
“But you are going to be more than a princess. You’re going to be a fairy.” I laughed as her eyes lit up wide as I reached for the parcel sitting on the grandiose dressing table. I gave it to her. She handled the pink tissue paper like glass, turning the packet around and around.
“What is it?”
“Open it and see. Go on, it’s for you.”
She opened the silver sticking tape with care, trying not to rip the delicate paper. As the layers fell away, her smile glowed, showing perfect white milk teeth in a straight row – except the one which grew wonky on one side and made her top lip bump slightly when her mouth was closed. She lifted out a pair of pink fairy wings, glittery and edged in white fluff.
“Don’t forget your wand!” Cecilia, my maid of honour, danced around in a circle, twirling a star-shaped pink wand around her head. The ribbons on it swirled through the air, framing her porcelain-perfect face. Emily leaped up and grabbed the wand, twirling around in circles as she checked her reflection out in the mirror. “The perfect princess fairy, I would say,” said Cecilia.
I watched as she embraced her daughter, wings and all, and felt the air rush through my ears. How could I be jealous of a little girl?