Wed In General Prologue

June 7, 2009
By Anne Tan BRONZE, River Forest, Illinois
Anne Tan BRONZE, River Forest, Illinois
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

White petals littered the marbled floors and candles were halfway melted. The carcass of a quail lay lifelessly on the guests' plates. The juice from the sautéed mushrooms made swirls on the porcelain plates. Glasses of champagne were full to the brim and raised toward the table, in which sat the bride and groom, the parents, the siblings, the friends and the priest, who had guided the bride through communions, Sunday school, and now a marriage. All in good spirit, the father of the groom proposed the guests share relationship experiences, so the bride and groom would not make the same mistake the others had. Whoever told the best story would receive the bouquet. “What's the fun in chance”, said the father, “surely the one with the least luck in love deserves the bouquet the most.” And so began a telling of tales.

Susan rose first. From seventeen, the finger adjacent to her middle finger never lay empty. Susan was now thirty-eight. Her face was painted opal white, so that is resembled a glass doll, and her hair was curled into bouncy ringlets. Her pink dress was above the knee and ruffled at the bottom. Over the years, Susan had acquired three rings. The first ring lay inked into her skin. Nothing remained from that marriage, but the black ink that seeped into her bloodstream. It had been a romantic gesture at the time. But he soon left Susan, and she would always remember whenever her ring slipped out of place. The black band lay hidden under the engagement rings that would soon follow—a fourteen carat gold ring and later a diamond encrusted Tiffany's. Standing up at the wedding, she was single.

Peet stood up next. He was a devout Christian, who had been forced to memorize the bible at age twelve. Peet was furious of all the people that were tarnishing this holy unity of marriage. “How dare you all speak of marriage in such a foul manner,” he cried. He began to speak of his longtime marriage to his wife, Maria. The two had met when Peet had traveled to Thailand to hand out bibles to the poor. Her name was Prajuk. He took an instant pity toward her, as she sat on a plastic stool, her feet encrusted in the brown dirt of the land. She was selling green bananas. What a fool she was. No one would buy green bananas. She was a foolish girl, too stupid to wait until the bananas ripened to sell them. He bought a green banana, and gave her an extra baht, hoping it would feed her for the week. Peet even tried to explain to her that she should be selling yellow bananas. The next day, Peet came back. He felt it was his duty to save her, for surely a woman as foolish as this could not survive on her own. He brought her back to the United States. He fed her; he spoke for her (because she was too ignorant to ever learn English); he walked her about the town; he clothed her; and he made this poor child his wife and christened her Maria. Peet even helped her make friends with their Filipino maid. Marriage has its happy endings.

Herbert was a multi-millionaire at seventy. His youth had been devoted to the production of screws, nuts, and bolts. At seventy, Herbert wanted the wife he should have had at twenty. He met his wife at a horse race. She was young and slim. Her name was Camilla and she was twenty-one. They got married within three months. At times he worried about his younger wife. Herbert had wrinkles in everything but his suit; he had grown a potbelly; he walked with a cane; and his heart barely pulled through to the next heartbeat. His friends assured him that money would keep Camilla. And he believed them. He was approaching death. Surely Camilla would love and nurture him until he died. Then all was hers and she could do whatever she pleased. Herbert should have known better.

There was no need to Gail to stand up. He had the kind of voice that could command an army. There was curiosity in what a man so strong and handsome as Gail was doing with the horse-faced girl beside him. Gail looked like a football star. In high school, he had been paralyzed waist down during a football game. He went from the knight in shining armor to the boy you held doors open for. The only stares he got were looks of pity. There was only one person that stared at him the same way as before, but it made no difference to Gail. She was ugly. She eventually built up the courage to ask him out. Gail said no instantly. It was out of the question. But she was persistent, and eventually Gail gave in when he saw that his options were limited. He hated her, but stayed with her because he feared being alone for the rest of his life. And in the months that came, she grew more beautiful. Everybody thought still thought she was ugly, but Gail knew she was beautiful.

If like anything, love is like a flower. It can be a weed that kills everything around you. Its thick roots taking the oxygen from you, and ruining you of all your senses. Love can make you the butterfly that seems so free and lively, but bound to the everlasting need for the flower. But sometimes love can be found in something as simple as daisy, whose beauty is unapparent to the naked eye. We are all hoping our love will be like an orchid and lily. It is only at weddings and funerals that we see these flowers in abundance.

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