“What do the fat brides do?” June asks as the they hitch the dress up over her narrow shoulders. She’s the only customer in the bridal shop; all three clerks are waiting on her. One is looking for a veil while the other two are busy with clothespins, pulling the dress tighter around her chest, nipping it in at the waist. They only carry one size, a ten.

“Oh, the plus-sized girls hold the dress in front of them.”

“Curious. It’s an act of faith then, giving you all that money without knowing what they’ll look like in the end?“

“All brides are beautiful.”

“No, they aren’t. That’s like saying all children are good.”

The older woman, the one with the Chanel glasses and sharp nose shakes her head. “There, all done. Do you like this one?”

June touches the bodice, the tiny pink-hued pearls sewn on by hand, and pushes her fingers into the deep folds of silk gathered at the back.

“It’s fine. I’ll take it.”

“Do you want me to take a Polaroid? You can show your mother, or your fiancé if you don’t believe in bad luck,” the youngest one says. Her voice is high-pitched and uncertain. She wants to please.

“My mother is dead and I believe in bad luck.”

“Well, you’ll just surprise him. When is the big day?” the third one says and helps her out of the dress.

“Soon,” June says.

Heather Austin
All Exits Are Final