Sally donned her veil and scooped up the single red rose lying on the table. She inhaled its scent, and a rush of exhilaration and pride coursed through her body. After all, she had grown that rose herself. She had grown a lot of things at home, since going to the grocery was becoming more and more like going on a pilgrimage. Today was her day, and despite the death and despair that loomed outside her condo, she felt more alive and hopeful than she ever had before.

Sally looked at her watch and gasped. She was already late, and her phone buzzed angrily on her bed for the hundredth time–probably her bridesmaid and best friend, anxious to know what was going on with her. She picked up the phone and said, “I’m on my way,” before hanging up again. She wasn’t going to let her friend remind her that she was always late and give her the “I told you so” scolding.

Sally took another deep breath, hiked up her wedding dress and took her seat in front of the laptop. With nervous hands she logged onto the all-important zoom meeting, and there on the screen they were all assembled like perfect portraits: her best friend and bridesmaid, her parents, the minister, and of course the groom.

“Is the bride ready?” asked the minister.

“Yes,” Sally answered calmly.

The minister began the proceedings. Vows were exchanged, speeches were made, and Sally used a new feature on zoom chat to virtually “kiss” her groom.  There was another feature for more “intimate” virtual interaction, but she would save that for later. There was a big party after, and Sally ate the food that she prepared herself, and drank the wine that she had been saving since last year, all in her room, and all while talking to the others on live chat. Their speech became more and more slurred, and for entertainment, a belly dancer gyrated her waist for everyone’s drunken delight. At least nobody was going to die at the wheel tonight. Once you logged off, your bed was right there.

When everyone else was gone, and Sally and her groom were now by themselves, she asked him, “Are you tired?”

“Nope,” he replied. “Not for my bride.”

“Good,” she replied with a sly smile, “because I have one last show for you.”

And as her groom watched, Sally slipped out of her wedding dress, out of her undergarments, and stood before him, her bare flesh beaming.

“I wish I could touch you right now,” he said. There was a longing in his voice that sounded almost like anguish.

“One day,” Sally said. “Just be patient.” But she herself doubted. Was this how she was going to live her married life? Would the precious time spent with her husband be at the mercy of modern technology? Sally did not want to think of it. She only wanted to enjoy the moment, and bathe under her husband’s passionate gaze. One day they would touch. One day it would all be real. But until then, they had to fulfill their vows to each other from a distance.