The night before the wedding, celebrating with her friends, she was happy with the dress: white, summery, pretty, cheap
When she saw a shadow loitering in her doorway she was scared. It was late, and she wished she had accepted the offer of a ride to her door. But the shadow had something familiar about it, so she walked on cautiously, as the nocturnal visitor advanced into a pool of streetlight.
- And what are you doing here?
It was the boyfriend of the girl who had been her best friend, and more. Next day he was going to marry her. She, herself, had known him before, and more. Tall, good-looking, a basketball player, she had been in love with him and had suffered bitterly when he left her. It needed all her self-control to handle the fact that, after three months with her, he had taken up with her best friend. For months she had shut herself up at home, so as never to meet them.
Almost a year later she met Martín, the brother-in-law of someone at the office: a cyber-whiz, she was told, capable of resuscitating any computer. Her own had died, so she called him, and he seemed strangely unavailable for a simple repair job. But she made such a nuisance of herself, that she got him to come one Saturday at nine in the evening. To start her computer took him about three-quarters of an hour. It took her just a minute to understand her mistake.
How much do I owe you? He looked at her and answered with another question: owe me? He explained to her that his job was not fixing computers, that he was a programmer, that he designed software, that he had come to her house only out of curiosity, to see the face of this extraordinary pain in the neck. She babbled excuses, asked him how she might compensate him. Again he answered with a question: what have you got in the fridge? On account of the breakdown he had just fixed, he had not had time to go shopping. So he stayed for dinner. And for the night. And for breakfast.
She had always felt unlucky, because her (ex) best friend had always had just a little more of things (height, money) or a little less (weight, pimples) than she had. But when she met Martín she didn't compare herself, or him, with the perfect couple that had been tormenting her imagination. He was shorter, not so slim, neither handsome nor ugly, and made less money than the ex-sportsman - though (true) he was his own boss, punched no time clock.
Besides, he was clever, spirited and funny. For these reasons she not only decided to marry him, but invited her ex-best friend and boyfriend to the wedding.
- You're getting married? What a coincidence! And when? What a coincidence!
The third coincidence was when they ran into each other in the same shop, and had both picked the same dress. But you're having a civil wedding, said the luckier girl, and this is more of a dress for church, I think...
But a few days later, at the office, she learned they were not going to renew her contract. It drives you to tears, she thought, when she is always - always - luckier than me. So she decided to get married in an everyday dress.
But why? Martín had asked her. I'll buy you whatever dress you want... No, she said, and in saying it felt mysteriously contented. I don't need it, really.
The night before the wedding, celebrating with her friends, she was happy with the dress: white, summery, pretty, cheap. And later she met the boyfriend of the luckiest girl she had ever known, waiting for her in the doorway.
When he said he had never ceased to be in love with her, and had come for a farewell visit that nobody need know about, she burst out laughing. She didn't bother to answer and, leaving him under the streetlamp, understood at last who the luckier girl was.