Beauty

by Stacy Wennstrom
Some people begin planning their weddings at the age of four.  I am not one of them, so when I got engaged last August, my fiancé and I had to begin from scratch in planning a wedding that would reflect our relationship, our family traditions, and our sense of beauty.  This was simple initially.  My fiancé and I would organize a weekend in Michigan’s wine country to share with our closest friends and family. There would be cookouts, garden fresh flowers, and the natural beauty of beaches and vineyards. At some point, we would make s’mores because s’mores are happiness.

It didn’t remain simple. At some point, I fell into The Bridal Abyss, the wasteland no feminist wishes to visit where everything is covered in tulle and people refer to save-the-dates as STDs. My carefully drafted financial plan required major revisions after a mostly unexpected layoff. In my last month-and-a-half as a single woman, I am living in limbo, between jobs, houses, and cities.

The beauty in my wedding won’t be what I originally pursued – my soft ivory dress, vivid greenery, dozens of glowing candle lanterns – though these will all be part of my day. It will be in my fiancé who has encouraged me during a challenging year; in my parents who are helping me when I’m not as financially independent as I am accustomed to being; in my sister and brother-in-law who have been helping with wedding arrangements from across the country; and in the friends and family who are traveling to see my fiancé and I get hitched. The beauty, of course, will also be in my marriage, my new role as a stepmom, and in new family ties.

Happily, Halfway Down the Stairs’ pursuit of beauty has gone more smoothly than my own. As the nonfiction editor, I have felt honored to receive many amazing submissions in this quarter. I hope you will love the poems, short stories, essays, memoir and book review as much as we do, and that the varied takes on beauty will leave you with something to think about.

My fellow editors and I would like to thank you, our readers and our contributing writers, for joining us for our 23rd issue. We invite you to submit your work to our September issue, themed “Illusions,” and to follow us on facebook and Twitter.
Stacy Wennstrom is a senior editor at Halfway Down the Stairs. For staff biographies, click here.

© 2013, Stacy Wennstrom