The Elephant in the Garden
There is a pink elephant in the garden. It’s been there since last night. No one else has noticed, they’re all too busy fussing over Caroline. Caroline is my sister. She’s getting married today and it’s all very exciting. For everyone else, at least. Caroline is more excited about the house she’ll be living in soon, and all the expensive clothes she’ll have. She’s only marrying for the money, so the wedding itself is just the thing to get out of the way before her life as a well dressed lady of leisure begins. It’s what she was meant for, she keeps telling me. She’s going to look after us all so well. I had always hoped she would marry for love, but so be it.
The pink elephant looks sad. I wonder if it know what I am thinking. Everything in this room is pink and white and peach and cream. It’s all so pretty and empty. I feel sick just thinking about it all. I’d run away if I knew where to go.
We’ll be leaving shortly to go to the church. The same church our parents got married in. It seems wrong somehow, as though the memory of their wedding will be somehow tainted. I’ve heard about that day so many times, I almost feel like I was there. They were so in love, everyone could see it. It won’t be like that today.
I worry about the pink elephant on the way to the church. Will it be all right by itself? Perhaps I should have told someone after all. I was worried how they would take it, especially on a day like this. How do you react to that sort of information? Do you deal with it face on, or do you ignore it, try to pretend it’s not there? I was the only one who knew about it and I hate keeping secrets. They seem to weigh me down somehow.
The service was lovely. Everyone said so. They got lots of presents and I got to drink champagne at the party afterwards, which would have pleased me greatly if I hadn’t been so worried.
The elephant was still there when we got back that night. No one mentioned it, although I was sure they must have noticed it by now. It was right next to the window now and glaringly obvious. Perhaps they were all blinded by happiness. Or ignorance. Blissfully unaware. I envied them for that.
“You’ll be next,” they told me, all smiles. I sincerely hope not. I’d rather be the pink elephant in the garden than be married.
Caroline has written to me often since the wedding. I can’t really tell if she’s happy or not; mostly it’s just lists of all the things she has bought. I haven’t been to visit her yet, but I mean to, soon. I write back and tell her all the news about the family, even though she never actually asks. I tell her about what I’ve been doing, what books I’ve read and so on. I know none of it will really interest her but I don’t know what else to write about. Other than the truth. That is to say, what I really think of her and her marriage. But that would be unthinkable. So I tell her about walking the dog and trips into town. Mundane things she’ll have forgotten the moment she’s read them.
The elephant is still there. It looks smaller now. No one talks about it, but I’m sure they all know it’s there. They’ve always known it was there. They simply choose not to acknowledge it. It’s easier that way. Everything is easier that way.