19. The Bride

ONE SUNDAY WE WERE walking in the neighbourhood surrounding the the university when we came upon a wedding party consisting of a variety of men in brightly coloured, ill-fitting suits and women dressed entirely in blue. Even their bare arms were blue, their heads and hair dusted in a blue powder - except for the bride, of course, who was dressed all in white, as is the custom. We paused, transfixed. The bride, Roman pointed out, had a dove somehow attached to her tulle head-dress. Looking closer, it dawned on us - not at once but with an interval of perhaps a few seconds - that the dove was a real dove, and that it had recently been alive, for the bride's face was barred with dark streaks of blood, presumably from wounds recently inflicted upon the poor animal when pins were inserted into it to fix it to the headpiece. We could not help but gape at the site like unsuspecting tourists until the wedding party had spilled into various large American cars several decades old, whereupon we resumed our walk, quite unable to remember what it was we had been talking about.