Kalika turned from her position near the French doors. “The sun is shining, there’s no hint of rain, and the garden looks lovely.”
Jenna eyed her daughter. "You look lovely.”
“And not the garden?”
Jenna laughed. When Kalika had told her she wanted to be married in the garden in spring, Jenna had pleaded with her to wait until summer. The wisteria and daffodils would be out in spring, but it was in summer that Jenna felt the garden was truly beautiful.
There’d been no house when they’d first seen the garden - just an old arch that had been covered in vines. They had worked hard on the garden: Jenna tending the plants and Aaron building arbours and arches – not as skillfully and masterfully as the original from which he took his inspiration – but still beautiful in the spring when the vines came into bloom.
It wasn’t until the garden was complete that they’d turned their attention to building the house. Like other houses built after the war it was plain and box-like, but over the years they had extended it with another wing and added vine-clad pergolas to soften its facade.
Now spring had awaken the garden once more and their youngest was about to be married. Kalika had insisted on standing under the old arch with its canopy of wisteria and early roses when she recited her vows. Spring had always been special to Kalika. Perhaps it was because it had been in the spring when Kalika’s life had become inextricably woven with theirs …
Jenna’s Diary, 1969
She is so tiny. I never thought a two-year-old could be so tiny. The social worker said she’d been neglected. … How could anyone neglect someone so tiny and helpless?
She reminds me of a rosebud filled with the promise of spring. We just need to know how to nourish her and water her and encourage her to bloom.
Are we up to the task? All we have to offer is our love. I hope it’s enough.
“You’ll wear daddy’s pearls won’t you?”
Jenna tucked a few wisps of stray hair under Kalika’s headpiece before catching her daughter’s eye in the mirror. “I thought you could wear them.”
“Uh-oh. Daddy gave them to you for your thirtieth wedding anniversary. You should wear them. I’m going to wear the diamond rosebud he gave me for my twenty-first. It suits me better.”
Jenna’s Diary, 1972
Kalika has a friend. A new family moved in next door: their son Nathan is three years older than Kalika. At first she took an instant dislike to him. I never thought I’d be pleased to see my daughter do such an un-lady-like thing as poke her tongue out. But he told her he was going to marry her some day and she poked her tongue out and turned and walked away! It’s the first sign of spirit I’ve seen in her.
Nathan’s mother’s ancestors settled in this area. I wonder if it could be the family who built the original homestead? I told her about the arch and how we’d restored it and the garden and she seemed pleased. I like to think that generations of that family live on.
“Here,” Jenna tucked the sweetheart roses into the bouquet before placing it in Kalika’s hands and standing back to admire the effect. “Perfect.”
“Will he think so?” Kalika turned anxiously to the mirror.
Jenna smiled. “I know so.”
Jenna’s Diary, 1989
Kalika and Nathan announced their engagement last night. I cannot begin to describe how pleased we are …
Nathan is like a tree – strong and solid, unbending in the face of the worst of life’s storms. Kalika is the rose that flourishes beneath his protective care. It is only fitting that they join their lives together.
Jenna looked to her husband standing in the doorway. He was still the most handsome man she had ever seen.
“You look beautiful,” he added.
Jenna blushed beneath his loving gaze.
“What about me daddy?” Kalika pretended to pout.
“You, my darling, look just like a newly opened rose. Gorgeous as always.”
Kalika laughed and kissed his cheek.
Aaron held out both arms. “Shall we go then?”
They placed a hand on each arm - the woman who had been his bride and the woman who was a bride - and he turned and led them out through the open doors, into the garden and toward the waiting guests.
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