Sunshine! The scent of gardenia! It rained last night and today the air is filled with an infusion of white flower. Jasmine, magnolia, lemon flower and gardenia, my favorite. Wonderful perfume!
I am all white! Pale! My eyes are red and my lips tremble. I fear…I swear my heart beats as loud as a drum. Is this how one is supposed to feel on their wedding day?
I will marry! In church! Isn’t it ironic? I think I might be sick, am sure of it. He isn’t bad looking, I mean for an older man. He is forty-eight, and I am twenty.
We used to hang out at the cyber-cafés with my friends. We would surf dating sites hoping to find rich men. We dreamed about going to America or Australia, hoping to flee from this misery, from life in the slums.
‘You are a lucky girl Magdalena. He is not bad-looking this Mr. Rivière!’
I will go to France! I will see the Eiffel Tower for real! I will ride an airplane, I will never go hungry.
I think he might be rich…but I cannot even dare to say his name. There he is standing with my parents and siblings. Right in front of our house construed of bamboo and salvaged carton. Oh, but we have such beautiful flowers in the front yard!
He sees that we are poor. He will take me to Paris. He promised to send money to my parents. He buys me. I am a mere object. Hope! And oh the flowers, they fill the air with perfume. I feel giddy. I made him a garland out of white flower and a long strand from the palm leaf.
I do look pretty in the lace dress he bought me. He reserved tables at the nicest restaurant in town and the entire family is invited.
We will feast! We will celebrate our union, and tomorrow we will take the plane to Paris. Oh if only he was younger…will he be kind to me? He seems generous. Does that mean he has a good heart?
But once we are there…I might be sick all over my nice dress… My brothers and sisters are looking forward only to one thing: to the reception after the church ceremony. He said I could choose the menu. I said ‘Frederick, I want the roast suckling pig! You must taste this!’
Yesterday he kissed me on the lips. He smells funny. His hands perspire...Roast suckling pig, wild rice, green mango salad.
There will be a three-layer cake! My cousins will be impressed.
‘Magdalena, you will soon leave …Please do not forget us…’ they said.
Dry your tears Magdalena! You will never go hungry again.
My head spins. The scent of gardenia is going to my head. His kiss was tender. He desires me. I am a gardenia washed by the rain. White, beautiful, fresh.
Perhaps we will grow to love each other. Perhaps…
Frederick smiled at me. His silver hair glistens in the sun. If we don’t eat the entire suckling pig my parents may have some to take home.