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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: South America (02/05/09)

TITLE: To Marry Or Not To Marry
By C Harricharan


Dolly wondered again about the cablegram from Saturday. The message was brief: Arriving on Guyana Airways. September 15th . Will be in touch. Harry.

Dolly rushed about the house getting ready for work. Her new highschool teaching job was important to her, but Harry was coming to Guyana to meet her and perhaps ask for her hand in marriage.

She thought of countless marriages and alliances that were formed with just the promise of a chance to go to America or Canada. They did not always work out, some ended very badly. But the promise of going to America, for a new life with new opportunities was very hard to resist.

Several weeks earlier Aunt Jenny approached the family with a proposition. She wanted to make a match with Dolly and a neighbor’s son, now residing in New York .

At first, Dolly was indignant. “I am not ready for marriage,” She argued, “I still have to finish my studies.” In the end the elders prevailed. Twenty years old they said was old enough to get married, and besides this was an opportunity many girls in Guyana only dream about. So the match was made.

Dolly studied her reflection in the mirror, hurriedly brushing her wayward curls. Brown eyes, dark short curls framed a smooth, tanned oval face, stared back at her. She searched in vain for pretty but the serious eyes looking back at her revealed nothing.

Then there was her voice. Dolly rubbed her throat and groaned inwardly. Her voice was hoarse and sounded raspy to her own ears. She had lost her voice on the first week of school. Her quiet soft voice was not accustomed to being raised so often. In a couple of weeks the doctor had assured her it would get better, but Dolly did not have a couple of weeks.

Within the six weeks, Dolly had to reevaluate her life, goals and dreams. To marry or not to Marry? Dreams of a mysterious handsome stranger offering a life of romance and excitement, with happily ever after.

Suppose things didn’t work out? What if Harry was not interested in marrying a country girl from Guyana? Or worse, what if Dolly did not find in him the husband she dreamed about?

After a matter of weeks, with only a letter and couple of pictures for introduction, Harry was now here in Guyana to meet her family.

Aunt Jenny arrived at noon. “I’m glad you didn’t go to school today, that’s why I rushed ahead of Harry and his uncle. They will be here anytime now.”

Dolly tried asking questions about Harry, but her aunt refused to speak. “You can’t wear that!” She exclaimed. “Go change into something nicer, hurry!”

Dolly quibbled about dressing up, but Aunt Jenny would not give up. “Now comb your hair and powder your face,” She instructed.

“Oh, Aunty Jenny my hair is fine and I don’t need powder!” Dolly protested, but obeyed.

“Now let’s see your hands, put some cream on them! And don’t wave them around!”

Finally they was nothing more to do, except to think, but her brain had gone into retirement

As they arrived, Dolly peered through the curtains, hoping to get a glimpse of Harry. She lingered in the bedroom, before coming out.

Looking down the stairs, there he was, light brown eyes meet dreamy dark ones and for one brief moment, time stood still. It was as if they had already met.

Dolly walked slowly forward until she stood in front of him. She extended her hand and he took hers, eyes never leaving her face. His hand enveloped hers, warm, strong and strangely familiar. His grip was firm and he continued to study her face.

“How are you?” A sudden smile lit up his face.

“I-I’m fine.” Croaked Dolly. Why did he have to tower over her? “How was your flight?”

“Fine, fine,” Still smiling and still holding her hand. She tugged lightly and he slowly released it.

Awhile later Uncle Ed turned to his nephew. “Well Harry? Do you and Dolly have something you would like to tell us?”

Harry smiled broadly and looked over at Dolly. “Ladies first.”

Slowly she said “Yes” and then stronger. “Yes.” No more doubts. This was her chance to keep looking into those dreamy eyes, to find out what laid behind them.

Harry reached over and picked up her hand “My answer is Yes.” He said slowly, deliberately, his eyes never leaving Dolly’s.

© 2009

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Member Comments
Member Date
Gregory Kane02/14/09
I loved the consternation that Harry's imminent arrival brought into Dolly's life. This was really well described. My main quibble is that your story lacks some local colour to root it firmly in Guyana. I felt as if what was being described could have taken place just as easily in some small town in the US. What I needed were some descriptive passages to help me taste or feel or touch Guyana. Perhaps the food or the weather or the clothing or the housing - let your imagination (and your research) run riot. Nevertheless an enjoyable read.