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Le Vampire

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Member Since: May, 2007

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By Le Vampire
Wednesday, June 13, 2007

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a fantastical stream of consciousness about a young asian woman getting married

I always wished that my husband would ride down our street on a dazzling white stallion. He would ride by my house, reach out to me and lift me up to the horse to gallop away to the lands where we would be happy for ever. The day of my wedding came and I looked down at my henna decorated hands. The blood red dye stained my hands. My feet were not excused from this ritualistic decorating of the body. M y nails were also painted red. On the dressing table, were boxes and boxes overflowing with golden items. Bangles and necklaces intertwined and earrings and rings lay in tangles. Make-up scattered over the marble top adding colour to the pale stone. A hanger dressed in my wedding outfit hung over the door. The deep red satin shone against the soft glow of the morning sun. The heavily embroidered lengha hung low and glistened with the light. Shadows danced along the walls. I got up and washed my face. I could already hear the voices of the maids rushing here and there. Some running to get the bath ready, other running to make sure we had all the food prepared. My mother came in tying her silken robe around her slim waist. She smiled, pleased that I was up at the crack of dawn. She placed her hand on top of my head and closed her eyes for a moment. I think she was contemplating the fact that she would come this evening to an empty house. Opening her eyes she left the room and called to a few maids.
She peered back round my door to tell me the bath was ready. I pulled on my gown and walked along the cold corridor until I reached the non-mistakable smell of rose petals in water. I opened the heavy oak door to be greeted by a cloud of steam. The overpowering roses nearly choked me. I stepped through the steam, my body slicing through it. I came to the marble bath filled with boiling water holding up delicate whole rose petals. I allowed my robe to drop to the floor and stepped into the water allowing it to support a body that was mine until the end of today. I thought about my husband-to-be. I hadnít seen him yet but I was assured that he matched my looks. I tried to imagine him. What would he look like? What would he wear? Would he talk to me? If yes, what would he say? Did he even know my name? My thoughts travelled faster than the clock and I was soon asleep. I relived the moment that he had put his ring on my finger and I completed the ritual. Then, when the Pandit read the Holy Scripture and we walked around the fire. All this time his face was covered and so was mine. I had not even seen whether he was clean shaven or if he had a beard. Secretly I had hoped that he was clean shaven.
The sound of the door opening woke me. It was my mother telling me to get out and dry myself. She went back out and I heard her calling two of our maids to hurry and bring all the preparatory items to my room. I stood up in the bath and picked petals off my skin that stuck to me. I smelled like roses. So sweet I was almost sick. I put my robe back on and let my hair fall behind me. It reached the back of my thighs and some strands hung about my face. I walked back to my room, shivering along the way. It was still early morning and the sun had not yet started to warm the earth. I left a trail of water behind me.
I sat down on the cushioned stool and looked at my reflection. It was the face of a girl who had just entered her prime years and who was about to be given her first present ever. My eyes seemed larger today, and more caramel coloured than dark brown. My face was paler than it had ever been. I pushed my hair back from my face and imagined it tied in a tight knot at the back with garlands of flowers hanging down my back. I smiled at what I saw. My room door opened and four maids plus my mother walked in. Immediately, they busied themselves, sectioning me off to each other. My hair was being raked back and my body was being perfumed and decorated by someone else. I was forced to close my eyes as make-up was applied to my face. I could feel the tickling tips of the brushes stroking my face. My head jerked back as she tied the final knot in my hair. My head felt heavy towards the back and I could no longer feel my hair on my back. For the first time in my life, I felt naked.
My mother handled my suit carefully and laid it across my bed. The Lengha was placed across the bed, and the choli was placed on top. The sound of horse hooves distracted me for a moment before I was snapped back to looking at myself in the mirror. I was put into the lengha and the choli was wrapped around me, pulling my bust up even further and making me feel more self-conscious. My hands were threaded through bangles until they could hold no more and then came the rings. Anklets were tied around my ankles which jingled every time I moved. Necklaces were laced around my neck covering the flesh that had not been covered by the choli. The tikka was placed gently on my forehead so as not to cover it entirely as my husband would have to put his tikka on me too. My mother picked up the garlands of flowers and pinned them into the knot of hair that had been gathered at the back of my head. She then signalled the other maids to lift my dupatta and they walked over to the stool and placed it over my head. I looked at the transformation that stared back at me from the mirror. My face was painted and decorated like a portrait from the time of the Mughal Empire. A delicate chain ran along the side of my face to my nose ring. I looked down at my hands. They were now covered with gold chains linking rings to a bracelet which was the beginning of a long chain of bangles that went almost up to my elbows. I looked back into the mirror. This is what my husband would see. Would he like it?
My mother came and stood me up. She made me aware that the carriage had been here for more than a good few hours and the driver was impatient to get back before sunset. I jingled out of my room and almost had a complete song had it not been for the stairs. The long staircase that I had often ran up and down and been chased on now seemed to look shorter. In no time at all, I was near the entrance. Only, for me, this was now the exit. My mother hugged me like a lady and she led me to the carriage. I felt hot tears sting my eyes but refrained from releasing them as they might ruin my preparation for meeting my husband. My mother helped me into the carriage and touched my dupatta for the last time. She then, did the most unexpected thing ever. She took her necklace off and her gold bangles that had accompanied my melody through the house and placed them into my hands. Telling me to take them as her personal gift, she kissed me lightly on my forehead and walked back to the house. Not once did she turn back to see my hand in the air waving good bye to her.
So started the long journey. My exit from one home and entrance to another. I thought over everything my mother had taught me over the years. I was not to talk back to him unless asked to. I was to respect his privacy and accept his comments. If his family had any requests of me, I was to fulfil them unconditionally. Thinking back to lessons took my mind off things for a while but there was still the shadow that hung about at the back of my mind of what I was now into. I had just been married and now I was on my way to my husband. Would he be waiting for me in our sleeping chamber? I had heard that he had his own wing of the house, at the heart of which was our sleeping chamber. I wished it was not covered in roses. Thinking of roses almost made me sick again. I looked out of the side of my eyes to catch a glimpse of some cows grazing in the fields.
The carriage came to a halt and I almost screamed from the shock. It was dark outside now, and I could tell that the driver was not too pleased at having to arrive so late. The door opened and a hand helped me down onto the gravel path. I looked up to see two parallel lines of lanterns leading me to the house. The driver unloaded the luggage and took it round the back. Was I expected to go in through the front? I walked up to the door, my anklets chiming with every step. I neared the door and I heard a lot of shuffling before the door was opened and an old lady stood before me with a thaal and a diva on it. She circled my head three times and then motioned me to kick the little pot of rice. She then looked to the other side at which there was a pot of water. I spilled that too and only then, was I granted permission to enter the house. I felt as though I was a piece of old china that was on show. Everyone was looking at me. After passing the visual test, I was spoken to. I was asked about the journey and whether I was hungry or not, I denied their offers and sat like a mute. I looked around at the new faces that would now be my family. Young and old faces looked at me with awe and respect. I looked down at my hands again and saw my motherís bangles. I felt the tears sting my eyes once again, but the old lady who opened the door saved me. She stood me up and led me out saying to everyone that I would rise in the morning to grow into my new family.
I felt the butterflies rise within me as I was led closer and closer to my husband. The corridor was long and turned a lot. We came to a door which she opened and then led me further to another door. This one was slightly larger and more grand. There she left me and I assume she went back to join the family. I touched the handle to find it cold. I pushed the door open and saw the back of a man. Strong shoulders were draped in a delicate cotton shawl and his head was not covered. I wanted him to turn and face me and show me who he was. I held my breath and stepped into the room. The bed was decorated with chains of flowers hanging down from the ceiling and petals of flowers from every field I had ever seen scattered on the bed. He signalled me to go to the bed, which I did and I sat down. I let out a light breath and sharply pulled some air back in. I felt heavier than I had done ever in my life. I looked down at the wonderful marble floor that shined ever so plainly in the candle light. I heard footsteps approaching me and I saw the shiniest black shoes contrasting sharply with the floor. I felt his finger and thumb press against my forehead and I saw a few particles of the red dust fall onto my hands. I was now my husbandís wife. I looked up to face who I would live with for the rest of my life. Our eyes locked and for the first time in my life, I saw my fear reflected in another personís eyes.

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Reviewed by michelle noble 11/30/2007
wow that was good. it wasnt what i thought it would be but good none the less. i can not imagine how it would feel to be in that sort of situtation being that i live in the u.s.a and all but i would also like to know what you meant by i saw my fear reflected in another person's eyes. and if you would also tell me do you live in an area where marriges are like that? i wont ask exactly where you live i think that be rude. but good good story
Reviewed by Dark Knight 6/20/2007
Lovely story but may I ask one question-your last line..." I saw my fear reflected in another person's eyes" Can you tell me more what you mean by this line?

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