Welcome to the first installment of our serial story written by five of our own Inkies. Be sure to stop by each day this week until the exciting conclusion on Friday.
by Dina Sleiman
March is the Month of Expectation.
The things we do not know --
Are coming now --
We try to show becoming firmness --
But pompous Joy
Betrays us, as his first Betrothal
Betrays a Boy.
- Emily Dickinson
- Emily Dickinson
Three more weeks. Her life would begin in three weeks. Emma peered through the creamy veil of Chantily lace into her reflection. Coppery red hair shimmered prettily beneath the elegant floral pattern. Her simple strapless silk gown with its blossoming skirt would serve as the perfect backdrop for her peaches and cream bouquet with its yards of swirling ribbons.
Just perfect. Perfect, perfect, perfect.
Everything about this wedding would be perfect from the Gothic Cathedral constructed in the early eighteen hundreds to the antique candelabras to the gold-rimmed china. Even the date, March 21st, precisely three weeks away, was the perfect choice. Forget June with its soaring temperatures and muggy air. The first day of spring and new life was the ideal day for a Southern wedding. The wind might blow like a lion outside her window, the tall brown grass thrashing in the gale, but by her wedding day it would no doubt settle into the warm gentle breath of a lamb.
And of course, most important of all, nothing could be more perfect than her groom. Thaddeus William Blackwell III. What a distinguished name. Thank goodness she had put all of her childish foolishness far behind her. Their new Victorian home in the suburbs might not have a picket fence yet, but a trellis of red roses climbed up the side, and she would remedy the fence issue soon enough. Emma looked forward to tending his home and raising his children. Their children. Perfect stair-step Godly children. She would not let her double major in art and literature go to waste. Instead she would homeschool her offspring and pour all her wisdom and knowledge into their sweet little heads. Her life would begin in three weeks. However would she wait so long?
She clasped her hands to complete the picture and smiled demurely at herself. Swishing her skirt back and forth, Emma watched the silk ripple like waves in the ocean. The thought of waves pulled her mind toward the Jamaican honeymoon to follow the ceremony. She watched her cheeks turn pink through the lace of her veil. No wonder the term “blushing bride.” Thad had been so patient with her, respecting her values at every turn. Just wait until he discovered the wildcat simmering within. He had quite a treat in store. Though Emma kept herself pure for her wedding night with the patience of a saint, she had every intention of treating her man right and keeping him well satisfied.
She cut off the fantasy. No point in awakening love before it pleased. Besides, the blush clashed with her hair. When she marched down the aisle, she must be extra cautious to keep her thoughts on the straight and narrow. Emma giggled. She had awaited this moment with great expectation for years. She could handle one more month. Yes, March would be a month of expectation. A month of expectation and wonder.
* * *
Evangeline rested her cheek against the doorframe as she watched her daughter caught within a magical moment. She had no desire to dash Emma’s fantasies. How well she remembered her own wedding and dreams. But she had to say something. As she watched the rapture on her child’s porcelain face, she realized she could put it off no longer.
She tiptoed across the room and placed her hands over her daughters shoulders. Despite her attempt to smile, the mirror revealed tension in her eyes. Evangeline lifted the veil from her daughter’s head. She fluffed out the layers and laid it upon the dresser. Taking Emma’s hand into her own, she led her to the bed, and they both sat.
“What is it, Mom? Is something wrong?”
“You know me too well.” Evangeline took a deep breath and gazed down at their joint hands. “Darling, you’ve been on my heart these last few days.” What a silly thing to say. Of course she’d been on her heart. Emma was her daughter about to be a bride. “What I mean to say is, I’ve felt a burden for you. A heavy burden. And I’ve spent hours on my knees praying for you.”
* * *
Emma gulped and attempted to shrug off the cold shiver that ran down her spine. Mother might be known for her odd prophetic tendencies, but she was an incessant worrier too, even if she denied it. “Thank you, Mom. I always appreciate your prayers. But I’m sure it’s nothing. Just pre-wedding jitters. Everyone gets them.”
Mother shook her head, then raised her chin to pierce Emma with her blue stare. “No darling, I’m afraid it’s more this time. No matter how much I pray, the feeling won’t leave. You need to be prepared. Of course we’ll hope for the best, but you need to expect that things may not go quite as you planned. I’m not sure what it will be, but it’s coming. I have no doubt.”
Emma smiled with resolution. “Everything will be fine. Don’t worry. More than fine. Perfect,” but as she said the words, she couldn’t keep her lip from quivering.
So based upon the poem, Mom is our person of "prognostication." Anyone care to guess what might go wrong? Anyone spot any foreshadowing of a possible problem? If you were writing this story, what would you choose as the primary conflict?
Remember to come back tomorrow for part 2 of "The Month of Expectation."