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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Want more? Chapter four!

Well, I'm moving slow today. Mommy's have that right, ya know! I'm posting chapter 4 of my book Road to Pseumish for your enjoyment!

The Wedding

    Anna began to panic as she thought of planning a wedding that would please the Mullers. She went to her mother and asked fifteen questions in the space of a minute. “Hold on, Anna. You need to calm down. We’ll just make it as simple as possible and hope for the best.” Her mother always knew what to say. “Okay,” she thought, “as simple as possible.” Her brain hurt. She needed to talk to Roy. She called him on his cell phone, and began to tell him her misgivings. He tried to reassure her in typical male fashion saying that, “anything will be fine.” And then afterward she tried to convince herself that he was right.  As she went to bed that night, she actually felt angry. There would never be a stack of popular bridal magazines on her floor, and no going to shops and trying on fifteen dresses in front of three sided mirrors. She had no happy, fun bridesmaids, or decisions about flowers and cake shared with her mother. There would be no romantic song that was theirs alone. She was fairly certain there would be a tremendously long sermon at her wedding and that she would not get a traditional seal-the-deal kiss from her groom. The reception would be a heavy and dull affair; with no traditional cutting of the cake or toasting the bride and groom. Do they even have honeymoons? She drifted off to sleep with the thought of wearing a black dress to her big day.
    The next Saturday, Roy came and spent the day with her at the Nathan home instead of driving her to Platzville. She thought probably the family was relieved he wouldn’t have to bring her to their home anymore. But then again, they would not be able to scrutinize their every move. At the same time she wondered if they were even more upset at Roy for choosing a girl like her for his bride. They sat on the couch together and began to discuss their future together. Some of her worry and angst melted away as she spent time with this sweet man. He told her he already had enough money saved up to buy a house outright and hoped they could get one closer to Knoxville and his job. He wanted a quick wedding; no long drawn out courtship. “When should I be ready?” she asked with a big smile. “How about the first weekend in April?” he asked. Five weeks away.  Sure, why not? It’s not like I have tons of planning and preparation to do.” “Okay,” she said.
    The next weekend he and his big-haired realtor took her to Knoxville to look at homes he thought would work for them. They settled on a nice three bedroom ranch style home on two acres. They would have to come back to Knoxville during the week to do the paperwork for the house. In the meantime, Anna and her mother sewed a very plain white dress that they thought the Mullers would at least tolerate. In a rebellious streak, she made a lacy petticoat to wear underneath. She could hear Sadie exclaiming, “We do not wear lace!” She got a mischievous smile and thought, “I will be the only one to know I have something beautiful on somewhere.” The next four weeks were a blur of closing on their house and other final preparations for the wedding. She had to deal with feelings of guilt for leaving her father with the saw mill. He had employees, but it wasn’t the same as having her there. He finally assured her that it was fine and he was happy she was getting married. With that put to rest in her mind, she could focus on becoming Mrs. Roy Muller.
    The morning of the wedding dawned clear and cool. Anna donned her ultra plain white dress and covered her long, brown hair with a starched, white scarf. “Well, I guess this is it.” Bill Nathan loaded the rest of Anna’s things into his truck and they made the drive to Platzville. Everyone was waiting at the small, austere church building when they arrived. She felt that all eyes being on the bride was a terrible thing in this situation. Every eye seemed to carry a laser beam of criticism and judgment. Their stares seemed to say, “Why did he have to pick her?”She spotted Roy near the front of the church and in his eyes she saw love and acceptance. “Just get this over with,” she thought as she looked at the clock on the wall. Her father walked her to the front and Anna and Roy sat on opposite sides of the center aisle. There was no bride or groom’s side at this wedding. Men sat on the right and women sat on the left. At that moment she thought of what her grandma used to say when they were about to do something difficult….”Valley Forge!!!” Thinking of her brought a smile to her face and made it easier to endure the hour long sermon. The innumerable words seemed to be foisted out of the preacher’s mouth and became spears to shoot the congregation. “And I thought weddings were happy occasions; silly me, “ she joked with herself. She didn’t dare look across that formidable aisle to her betrothed. She imagined two bald spots on the back of her head where Sadie Muller was sitting behind her. Finally, the sermon was over and the actual ceremony only took a few minutes. There was not a ring exchange since they did not believe in wearing any jewelry. Anna smiled during the prayer thinking about her lace petticoat and the gasps that would occur if someone caught a glimpse of it. When they turned to face the congregation, instead of seeing a crowd of smiles, all she saw were frowns. Her parents had the lone smiles in the building. She couldn’t help but revisit her feeling of being extremely unwelcome in this family. She had no idea how Roy could take such risks and yet, he still seemed to love his family.
    The Mullers were taking care of all the food afterward; so the Nathans could only smile and express gratitude time after time. Anna was happy to be able to at least hold Roy’s hand and use him as a human shield against the piercing stares of his family. The food was so heavy and the cake was so sweet it made her pucker, but at least brides were not expected to eat heartily on their wedding day. The day seemed to creep along and the hour of their departure into married life came at a snail’s pace. She tried to imagine these somber people dancing in her boredom. That mental picture made her smile. She was, however, shocked to see the generosity of this family in the form of a mountain of wedding gifts. She assumed nearly everything would be homemade and mostly for the soon expected baby. The hour did eventually come to take their leave and Anna made a point to spend most of her goodbyes on her parents and very little on any of the Mullers.
    Roy loaded her things and their wedding gifts into his truck and they drove to their new home. They brought everything to their otherwise empty house and looked around for a moment. Roy put his hand on her shoulder and said, “I’ll get the overnight bags. We should be heading to the hotel now.” He gave her a tentative kiss on the mouth. Their first kiss had been so unexciting. A shiver went up her spine. Before this moment she hadn’t given much thought to what happens on the wedding night. She had read a little on the subject in the library and her mother had told her a very little, but she was not at all ready to experience intimacy with this man she barely knew. The thought of taking her clothes off in front of him, and him taking her virginity, frightened her severely. She actually felt the fear gripping her chest as they approached Knoxville and the hotel that was to be their honeymoon for two whole nights. Anna then came up with a plan. She would ask him to tell her more about his family’s dislike of his education and job. That might delay the inevitable for a while.
    When they settled into their room she sat in a chair in a guarded position and began to question Roy. He was already taking off his shirt, so he sat on the bed and sighed, “Can’t we talk about this another time?” He obviously was ready to consummate their marriage as soon as possible. She quickly replied, “No, I need to know what I have just married into!” He rubbed the back of his neck and sighed again. “They hate me. The whole lot of them hates me. When I told my father I was going to go to college so I could use the gift of numbers that the good Lord had given me, his face turned red. He screamed at me that if I got into my truck for the first class he would never speak to me again. He has definitely kept that promise.  I have marveled over and over that they haven’t kicked me out altogether, but I might as well have been since most of them won’t talk to me. The wedding was all formality and obligation. I am now happy to be with a woman who loves me and will speak to me no matter what I do. I just keep showing them I love them and hope they will accept me again.” He then got down on his knees in front of her and begged, “Now can we forget all that and just have our honeymoon?” A tear slipped from her eye and coursed down her cheek. “I am so scared,” she managed to squeak. Then he said the words all men say, “Don’t worry. I’ll be gentle.”
    In two days they were back at their house. There was much planning and shopping to be done to set it all up to Anna’s liking. Roy wanted to buy furniture a little at a time to stretch his savings. They bought a bed and a dining table for the first week. She thought you could tell what was important to Roy; taking advantage of having a wife and eating. She opened all of the wedding presents and confirmed her suspicions. Most of the gifts were indeed in expectation of a baby; a male child, if one were to look at the color of the gifts.  Anna thought she would decorate with medium blue because it reminded her of the day she met Roy; so she put a little bit of it all over their new home. She never did get to decorate it completely in the rustic French country style she had fallen in love with in a library book on decorating; because it was too fancy for Roy. After a month of marriage they went to visit the Mullers. Sadie’s first question was whether they were going to have a baby or not. Anna quietly responded, “Not yet.” Inwardly she had wondered why she wasn’t pregnant. Roy certainly was putting in the effort required. She sometimes felt that was all he wanted to do when he got home from work. She was shocked when three days ago “Aunt Flow” had come to visit her and she had to scramble to get feminine products. Despite this, they had settled into a comfortable routine and were generally happy. Even though Roy seemed to enjoy the bedroom activities frequently, he was not an affectionate person. Anna missed her father’s hugs and interesting conversations with her mother. Each night when Roy wanted her, she obliged him because she thought she had no choice. She thought so many times that there had to be more to this than just pleasing her man. She began to resent him for being so focused on his own gratification and not on making her happy. Still, she didn’t know what else to do, but be a good wife.
    They decided they would not have a garden their first year in their home, so Anna focused on flower beds and the inside of the house. She was a good cook, but Roy had to get used to not eating heavy meals all the time. She liked fresh food to taste fresh. The first time she steamed fresh artichokes and served them whole, Roy took one look and said, “What in the world is that?” She taught him to dip the bottoms of the leaves in sauce and scrape the meat off with his teeth. “You know I’m not used to weird food,” he said in his embarrassment over being taught how to eat something. Since they only had one vehicle, Roy would take her to a farmer’s market and the grocery store on Saturdays. She was used to planning meals around once a week shopping from her mother, but being in the house alone all week was uncomfortable for Anna. She worked on good homemaker skills like cooking, sewing, knitting, and gardening. Then she would sit outside on the front porch swing and sigh. One can only do housewifely things so long. She wished she could make a friend, but there were no close neighbors and no where she could walk to be around nice people. Late in the summer, one hot sticky morning she was sitting on the swing and suddenly became very sick to her stomach. She ran into the bathroom and was revisited by breakfast. “What was that?” She hadn’t eaten anything that would make her sick and certainly had not been around anyone who could make her sick. As she sat on the bathroom floor pondering her stomach, her eyes glanced at the bag of feminine products on the shelf. She smacked her forehead, “Oh my goodness, I’m two weeks late!” When Roy came home from work she sent him to the pharmacy for a test. Two blue lines confirmed her thoughts. She was going to have a baby. “That should placate the Muller family for a while,” she blushed. Roy, of course, was ecstatic. Unfortunately, she didn’t have much to smile about for the next four weeks as she found herself on the bathroom floor on a regular basis. Roy insisted on a midwife because that’s “how we do things.” She had no opinion about the subject. She knew she had been born in a hospital and turned out ok. To please Roy, she found a midwife and scheduled her first prenatal visit. The midwife felt there was no need to see her until she was nine weeks along. In the meantime, she called her mother and asked advice on various topics related to pregnancy. The Nathans were happy at the thought of their first granchild.

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