Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Twenty-eight years ago today

I was glued to the television set, wistful and kind of jealous. Eighteen years old, with braces, for heaven's sake. Boyfriendless at the moment. Ready to head out for my freshman year of college like some dumb kid.

Whereas Lady Diana Spencer, only two years my senior and part of a world I'd only read about in books like Brideshead Revisited and The Secret of Chimneys. She was so young and seemingly such a regular girl, a mass of contradictions: a kindergarten teacher, yet the daughter of an earl; set to become a member of the British royal family, Princess of Wales, yet so bashful, she blushed like a peony and dug the toe of her shoe onto the sidewalk when standing before the paparazzi.

My grandma was also watching the wedding from her house; we talked to one another at about five o'clock that morning and wondered why I hadn't just come out to spend the night with her. We talked several other times, too, but I can't remember when. Probably when Diana got out of that gorgeous state carriage that once belonged to Queen Victoria and that train unfurled like a triumphant banner as she walked down the aisle of St. Paul's Cathedral on her father's arm. Trumpet voluntary! Be-hatted congregants! Family heirloom-style diamond tiara!

It was the wedding of a lifetime and I remember it almost as well as I remember my own.

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