The Flower Girl
Updated: May 6
When I was five, I was the flower girl in my oldest brother’s wedding.
I remember the day mostly through pictures. There’s one, I’m at the bridal table next to my mother and father. A white cloth napkin tucked into the collar of my burgundy, velvet dress, fork in my left hand and I’m enjoying a dinner of spaghetti and meatballs. Sauce painting a ring around my mouth.
Then there are those posed pictures.
You know, a tiny version of me standing with the wedding party clutching a basket of flowers. Another with me and just the bride and groom—my brother's large curly mane along with both the bride's dress and mine blowing in the wind.
I don’t remember the walk I made down the center aisle. I don’t remember my excitement of wearing that long dress with the pink ribbon tied around my waist. I don’t remember holding the basket of flowers. Do you know what I do remember? A song. I remember sitting in that front pew with my parents watching my brother, fifteen years my senior, standing with his bride. They faced the altar as Bread sang If.
That moment—the wedding, the whole day—has become that song to me. It spun years of girlhood romantic fantasies. I wrote stories to that song in my head. I hear that song and I immediately recall that day, sitting in that pew.
For me, music and books go together like two sides of the same coin. I could not have one without the other. Each book I write has a soundtrack. What’s more, there's the one song that set the spark for each story. For The Passenger, it was Billie Holiday’s Solitude. For the book I’m working on now, Blossom Dearie’s Someone to Watch Over Me. And for another book for another time, Florence and the Machine set my mind racing, creating my mermaid books with the song, What the Water Gave Me.
As long as I have the songs that remind me—of my day as the flower girl, or skating in a circle around the roller rink, or hot summer nights during my teenage years in the 1980s—I will relive the memories. As long as I discover more songs that inspire me, I will have endless stories to tell.
Until next time, what song or songs take you back to a favorite memory?
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About the Author
Thanks to a family with a grand imagination and a love for books of all kinds, Joie learned to value a heartfelt story. Early on she realized writing and storytelling were as essential to her as oxygen. She recorded her first story at six and finished her first novel at twelve. The Passenger is Joie’s first published novel.