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Virginal Lilies

In Mexico at Catholic Church weddings there are two bouquets. One for the bride, as you would expect, and one for The Virgin (you know Mary, Jesus's mum). At my sister's wedding to her Mexican fiancée somehow this was overlooked so his aunt and uncle were dispatched to the local florist. What they came back with was beautiful. Unfortunately, for me, it contains lilies. I am allergic to lilies. I don't go into anaphylactic shock, but sneezing and headaches ensue.

There are three bridesmaids, the others have their jobs and I have mine: to sing at the end. However, this means I am free for the rest of the ceremony, so presenting the bouquet to the Virgin (to her statue - the real one's busy presumably) becomes my job. It weighs a tonne and walking down the aisle of the chapel I hold it out away from me. It feels like a dumbbell. The bride joins her fiancé at the altar and we take a seat. My arm is burning and the stench of the flowers chokes me. I have one barrier against them: my lacy fan, very elegant but too flimsy. I desperately hope the presentation will be soon. However, the service is in Spanish so I can't tell. As the priest goes on I am aware that my nose is starting to itch. I might end up croaking not singing. Fortunately after ten torturous minutes the Spanish speaking flower girl taps me on the shoulder. I'm on, Hallelujah!

Story by:

Josephine Allen


21 April 2016