The decorations have been set, everything immaculately arranged. I can hear people arriving at the venue. I can hear wailing children, gossiping ladies and boastful men. Here I am, waiting for my father to come and take me to the altar where I will pronounce my vows to Theodore Smith. Yes, I am getting married today!
At this moment, sitting alone is helping me meditate and think about all the achievements and decisions I have made. It was not easy to keep them aside and start a new life where I will be responsible for certain duties that I have never performed. Indeed, marriage is a sacred bond and both the husband and wife should be equally responsible for everything, but should I leave my job because I am getting married? I, Madeline Thompson, am 24 and at the pinnacle of my career. I can earn pretty enough to thrive and retain. Since last night a thought is nagging me, my subconscious is asking me the same question again and again. Will Theo be a good partner for me? I can remember the days when he restricted and obligated me by abstaining from almost everything. But why? Only because I am a woman.
I was getting late for my morning class and was hastily running in hopes to reach the university on time. As soon as I turned to cross the road, I saw a motorbike wheeling towards me in blinding speed. I froze in shock. All I could do was shut my eyes tightly. The bike was close enough to hit me but before that, a man rescued me. He literally screamed at the biker who happened to be a girl, I asked him to stay calm and let the girl go. Fortunately, none of us was hurt but this almost-accident brought Theo into my life. Gradually, we became friends only to start dating each other later on.
I occupied my allotted seat in the auditorium, filled with students receiving the medals and certificates, when called upon the stage. It was our convocation ceremony, everyone was cheerful and so was I. I received my degree with excellence and luckily bagged an internship offer at a reputed Space Research Centre, my first step on the ladder of success. My parents were immensely happy and I could see the overwhelming expressions on their faces, especially my mom’s — her glistening eyes were proof of how proud she was. Then, I saw Theo walking towards me. He hugged me formally and instead of congratulating me, he murmured something that dismayed me. He said that it’s not good for a girl to receive higher education as it will place her beyond any boy’s reach.
Unknown number calling…
Caller: I see that you are available to any calls at this hour in just two rings!
Caller: It’s me, Theo. I was testing you by calling from an unknown number and you failed. Now that you are awake, I demand you to come to my house, right away.
Me: Why are you doing this, it’s too late already.
Theo: Why not? After all, you had clearly said on my face that a girl should live boldly and independently.
Me: I was not mocking you. I was only telling you my point.
Theo: I don’t care, every woman is a whining mess and you are one of them.
Me: I am sorry Theo, we’ll meet tomorrow just listen to m…
Theo: I don’t want to listen to anything, either you come right now or don’t talk to me at all. Ever! That day I realised that I can never share my pieces of contentment or attainment with him. Wondering whether I went there or not? Yes, I reached his place in 20 minutes by my car at 4:17 in the morning. He wasn’t delighted at all and said that a girl should never reply rudely to her partner and rather listen to him patiently.
With a heart full of love, I dressed in the best way possible because it was my birthday. When I reached the address he had messaged me, I saw him standing in the farthest corner. I came closer to him. He wished and hugged me, then knelt on one knee and asked for my hand in marriage. I was clueless, many things were running through my mind, my career, my parents, my dream and I was just 23. He took me out of the abstraction and asked me the same question again. Without much ado, I said, “Yes”. He wanted to get married as soon as possible because there was no need for delaying this. With his marriage proposal, he asked me to drop my career because it’s the duty of a wife to maintain the prosperity of the house and working women couldn’t manage home. Although I was 23 and madly in love with him, I said yes to everything he asked me to. While leaving for home he commented on my dressing and said that I shouldn’t wear anything that’s way too revealing.
That day, I came to know a few things about his perspective of women: it’s women who entice men to rape them because of their behaviour, and women should know how to cook and better stay at home rather than pursuing their ‘passion’. He never left a chance to jibe at women including me but I ignored every remark, thinking that one day he’ll eventually stop saying such harsh words.
*A Few Days Ago*
I might have never noticed his demeanour until my chitchat with an old-friend, Rita. We accidentally met in a mall while I was shopping. I came to know that she had become a human rights lawyer and began listening to some of her case histories. Her explication at that time affected me deeply. I realised that the person whom I was getting married to was a real sexist personality. The term that I was ignoring since day one, was laughing at my face. I didn’t say a word to her about Theo’s nature, I kept calm and listened to her stories. A call distracted both of us, it was Theo’s. It was nine in the evening and he told me that it’s not a good thing for a girl to stay out of her house this late. Maybe she observed something from my facial expressions and asked me if everything was okay. I was far from okay but told her that everything was fine. I could bet she was not satisfied with my reply, yet she dropped the subject. Being the good fiancée that I was, I bid her adieu and we parted our ways.
*Back To The Present Day*
My friends think that I will be carefree once I marry him. After all, who wouldn’t be happy marrying an investment banker based in London? Maybe I am overthinking or maybe it’s just a delusion that I am have been living. I don’t even know whether choosing to marry him will take me where I want to be or will it degrade me from my virtuous position that I have in my mind. But the question still haunts me, will I stay happy with him till the end of time?
“Honey, it’s time to go.” I heard my father say those words and taking me out of my reverie.
It’s a rare sight to see my father becoming emotional, looking at me. Before walking down the aisle he whispered in my ear, “Sweety if you have changed your decision about marrying him, just know that I am with you.” He said and hugged me tight that I forgot my anxieties for a few moments.
We entered hand in hand and the music started to play in thebackground as I walked towards Theo. Reaching the altar my father gave my hand to him and at that precise moment, I knew what’s right. “We’re gathered here to witness the union of Theodore Smith and Madeline Thompson…” That’s all I heard from
the priest when my mind focused on something which could make or break things. I walked out of my daydream when the priest called my name a bit louder. I saw him with my usual expressionless face and then perceived everyone was gazing at me intently, maybe trying to figure out my inner turmoil. The priest said, “Will you, Madeline Thompson, take Theodore Smith, to be your wedded husband?”