Inspired by Sound: "Flightless Bird, American Mouth" by Iron & Wine

    This is part of our series called “Inspired By Sound,” where writers use a song as the muse for their story. This piece by Elissa Gray takes influence from “Flightless Bird, American Mouth” by Iron & Wine.

    White dress, blue lace garter. I imagine a grand hall, or maybe a fairy forest, hidden beneath a sheath of dazzling lights and trees that hang like shrugs, high above.

    My father, holding my hand as I take my first step. My mother, in the front row, eyes blurred with the tears she always seems to be holding back. I’m standing with my hair braided and tied up in a way that usually makes me feel far from pretty – but today, I am beautiful. It’s approaching dusk, and the stars are crawling out from behind the clouds. There is a hint of rain in the air and I am not afraid, because storms are only predecessors for endless sunshine – and I’ve survived one too many cyclones while waiting for this moment.

    Rose gold ring on my finger, heavier than I ever thought it would be. Best friends lined up just beyond the rows of family and endless acquaintances, both close and somewhat distant. There is a sense of tradition and an air of defiance – all mixed together and combined into a day I have imagined since youth, but never pictured until I could now stand before it.

    One breath and the song begins. Something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue – do I have it all?

    As I take the first step, I wonder if I am ready, ready for something bigger than myself, ready for a life I’ve been waiting for with every day that felt like an eternity and every night I cried myself to sleep. Now, tears will still fall and minutes will pass by like hours, but I know I will never be alone. White dress, blue lace garter. I love you.


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