With the encouragement of my wife, I've decided to attempt to write a story (I'm far more comfortable with writing plays.) So, for your consideration, here is a small section. The character "speaking" was born in India in 1930, so the time now would be about 1946.
Sometime in the sixteenth year of my life my father came to me with the following offer. “Son, I think it’s time to buy you a new suit.”
‘Thank you,” I replied. I was both pleased and honestly perplexed. Unless he wanted something, my father rarely spoke to me. And the thought that he wanted to participate in some aspect of my life was quite beyond my comprehension.
“Would you like to know why?” My father was being both tenacious and purposely vague. And he was enjoying every moment of our conversation.
Yes, thank you, I would.” If this conversation reads as somewhat stilted, it’s because I honestly don’t remember it. Nor do I recall much of what would happen in the next few days. However, because the events occurred, it seems probable this conversation occurred, as well.
“It’s for your wedding day.”
This snippet of information shouldn’t have come to me as any great revelation. In the caste system practiced throughout India, my place was quite near the bottom of the social food chain. The way of life was well laid out, and had been refined over many generations. You were born, worked, married, worked, produced children, worked, and died. It was that simple. Life was orderly and without surprises. Everyone seemed quite content.
Well, almost everyone. I believe with an almost certainty that all human beings are basically optimistic. I believe that disaster will strike someone else before it strikes me. The fallacy in this logic was that I didn’t know anyone else, so when my turn came it caught me completely by surprise.
My mother gushed. “Her name is Alisia, and she’s definitely above your station.” I’m not sure I truly appreciated my mother when she gushed. This was in fact the first time I had ever seen her do it, and I’m sure I didn’t appreciate it.
“I had to work hard for this match. It wasn’t easy. Her grandfather is a true Brit, I certainly hope you understand what that means!”
I waited for my mother to pause for breath. It would prove to be a long wait.
“No, you don’t. I can tell by your expression that you have no idea what this could mean for your future. Well. Believe me, I’ll be pleased to tell you. It means that … and that … and that … not only in this life, but in several lifetimes to come! So you just think about that!”
She said other things. I know she did. Her voice began to echo in my head. The tone of her voice became deeper until it was nothing more than a grumble of sound, not unlike that of distant thunder. At the same time, the edges of my vision darkened, and it appeared that moving objects were slowing down.
My mind withdrew to some safe place, and the processing of information became questionable. I moved hypnotized through the next few days. I know there were people around me. I know there was a ceremony of some sort - I can vaguely remember a blur of orange and white.
Awareness returned to me in a snap. One moment I was in our small kitchen, talking to my mother. In the next moment I was in my own room, and across from me was … the enemy.
She was sitting on my only chair. I was sitting on the bed. She was thin. I was thin. She stared at the floor. I stared at her. Her hands were folded in her lap. My hands were folded in my lap. She was wearing her one-and-only sari. I was wearing my one-and-only suit. Her eyes were red, her nose was running, and she had a nervous cough. I had … my one-and-only suit. Great. She was already ahead of me on points. Neither one of us spoke a word. Eventually I fell asleep. I think she did the same.
That was our wedding night.