Monday, May 25, 2009

It is a terrible mistake to marry a stranger.

Agatha should have known better. She'd been twenty-four years old and had given serious consideration to three different men before Archie had come along on his borrowed motorbike.
All three had been properly educated, with private incomes. All three were deeply in love.
But...Bolton was too old.
And Wilfred, obsessed with spiritualism.
And Reggie, had gone off to India to help others, giving her the opportunity to change her mind.
It was a woman's prerogative and, like a fool, she'd exercised it.
Agatha didn't know Archie. She couldn't predict how he would react to a word, a phrase, a look. He was scary, unknown, on a tear through her safe, sane world, and still she found herself drawn to him, like metal to a magnet.
Agatha's mother despaired of her daughter's romantic sensibility. She refused to allow her to rush into the marriage, insisting upon a curative regime of French realist novels, in which the passionate heroines are hurled inexorably into disaster, degradation and death. But the cure did not take.
Agatha and Archie married on Christmas Eve.
Scary, unknown: Agatha got what she'd bargained for, and more.
"This thing has happened," Archie said one dark December day. "I must be with Nancy. One way or another I will be."
Fine, then. So be it.
Agatha resumed her handiwork. She'd always been good with scissors. Today she was cutting stories out of the newspapers and pasting them in an album.
One day, they'd be yellowed with age, curled in the places where the paste wouldn't hold. She'd study them and remember. Now their edges were sharp enough to draw blood.
Archie had said in his own defense that everybody can't be happy, that someone had to be unhappy.
But why, Agatha asked herself that evening as she slipped on the silver dress and slipper she'd purchased in town, should I be unhappy and not you?

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