The camera followed as she moved about the room, the geometry of her tangents, of her pleadings, of her sashayed rapture to assemble arcs and vectors into a commemorative pose.  Black suits and white chiffon dresses held the stage.  The wall behind them displayed two framed portraits, one of Virtue, a robed goddess with her right hand raised to her heart, and the other of Vice, the same robed goddess with her left hand raised to her heart.  The photographer leaned into the camera and framed the moment.  "Ready?"  Madeline beseeched the gathered party, the devoted friends and family on either side of her, with these words: "Before this day is through, one of you will betray me."    

In a far corner of the tableau, shadowed by the portrait of Virtue, a rabbi turned to a cousin of the groom and said, "Who does she think she is, Jesus?"  

"Ha!"  The groom laughed, confident that his rejection of sexual advances by his new bride's mother in the cereal and granola bar aisle of the Piggly Wiggly would exalt him.   

"Shit."  The bride's mother choked, confident that her accepted sexual advances by the groom's brother in the cement and mortar mix section of the Home Depot would condemn her.  She then realized this would not betray her daughter, per se, so she winked at the groom's brother and drew her tongue across her upper lip.

Flower girls and ring bearers discussed the merits of frozen desserts and animated sponges.

The groom's uncle Hershel reconsidered his plan to skim a few gold coins from the dowry.  He considered again and decided they wouldn't miss a few coins, not the Neubergers, with the auto dealerships and country club memberships and beach house in Southampton.  He'd had a streak of bad luck at the track, that was all, and soon the Kabbalah talisman around his neck beneath his shirt would answer his prayers.   

In a far corner of the stage, shadowed by the portrait of Vice, the bride's uncle Felix fantasized about the rabbi's nephew who stood there beside him, shoulder to shoulder, and whose hands were deep in his pockets where Felix wished his were, kneading carbonate agents into the dough and feeling the proverbial bread rise.  

"They want me.  They all want me.  I am more beautiful than the bride or the bride's mother—particularly the bride's mother."  The maid of honor said this to any and every reflective surface in the room.

"Don't look at her cleavage.  Don't look at her cleavage."  The groom's father repeated this over and over as he stared at the cleavage of his new daughter-in-law.

The photographer spoke up just then.  "It is I who will betray you," he said, "all of you.  I will bear in this image such witness of humility and bliss that no-one will ever believe it."

Richard Osgood lives on a river where the north meets the south.  Publication credits include, Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, Hobart, Dogzplot, LitChaos, The First Line, Mudluscious, and Writer's Bloc, among others.  He continues to mourn the deaths of Steve Marriott and Syd Barrett.

'I Torasci' (an anagram of Iscariot) was inspired by a wedding photo that reminded me of Leonardo da Vinci's painting 'The Last Supper' (minus the table and chairs).  For whatever reason, I found myself unable to believe the photograph. This led me to question the authenticity of everyone in the wedding party, except perhaps the bride, who among them most resembled the central figure in daVinci's painting. This then caused the whole scene to crumble before my eyes, and in turn, reveal the genius of the photographer and the irony of the image he captured.  His creation exhibited such humility and bliss that it forever transgressed its own believability. 
That, in the end, was the bride's betrayal. 



Copyright 2009