Martha MoodyMartha Moody

An Excerpt from Best Friends

In the photos from Sally's wedding, I hate to say it, I look smarmy. I'm grinning too much, my arm over the back of a chair is calculated, overrelaxed. I'm standing too close to Sid, to Aunt Ruby, my head is cocked in a sickeningly perky way. I was Sally's maid of honor in a hotel wedding with over four hundred guests. The wedding was actually scheduled to coincide with my spring break. I went to all the parties. I stayed with Sally at her parents' house. I drove the dresses to the hotel with Aunt Ruby, tossing the keys to Sid's navy Jaguar to a valet, asking the doorman to reach into the backseat for Sally's gown. While Sally and Flavio and Sid and Esther had discussions with the photographer the day before the wedding, I sat beside the pool with the out-of-town guests. "Patricia," I'd say, gesturing toward one of Sally's young cousins, "por favor, un helado por la chica."

"Now what's over that direction?" someone would ask. "Is that the San Joaquin Valley?"

"San Fernando," I'd correct. Every insult I'd felt in being left out of Sally's graduation was cancelled ten times over. I was the fifth Rose.

"Twenty thousand dollars if you two just go out on a boat and elope," Sid had said. "Fifty thousand if you don't invite me."


"A hundred thousand if you don't tell me till it's over."

"Daddy! That's si-ick!"

"Thank God I only have one daughter. At Ben's wedding I can sit there and drink."

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