The doors were supposed to be always open, so it’s funny that when I picture them now they are firmly closed. They were made of wood, I think, a heavy sort of wood I couldn’t name, several inches thick and standing many feet above head height. Our small hands couldn’t reach the black iron fittings; we would have to wait to be admitted.
I stood in the cold spring sunshine, my knees turning pink as they protruded between the white satin hem of my dress and the tops of my socks. I envied the other girls their longer, lacier, shop-bought confections. Kathryn Bartlett’s dress even had a train. My ringlets, painstakingly created with rags the night before, were held in place by a circle of white satin rosebuds and a small veil. I felt sorry for the boys, so plain in identical grey trousers and red ties, knowing that once the doors were opened no one would really look at them. Not compared to us girls. Like angels, my auntie had gasped.
Finally the doors creaked open and the organ began its refrain from way up in the gallery, making me feel for a spinning second that the music was coming from heaven itself. I squeezed my eyes shut for a moment and offered a prayer: please God our Father, Mary our Lady, and Jesus our Lord and the Holy Spirit and all the saints, let me make it up the aisle without tripping up and falling over.
I held Andrew Rafferty’s hand, because that was how we were to do it, two by two like Ark animals. But my palm itched to be free, and each passing step brought greater certainty, my brand new rosary bobbing against my heart, that once I reached the altar, I would at last be married to God.