by Lisa Rusczyk
The marriage was tomorrow. Lelia had not even seen her groom, Mante. It was an arranged marriage, as all marriages were in Helack.
Lelia had her purple wedding gown on and examined herself in her full-length mirror. She hesitated to put on the heavy veil. How was she supposed to walk up as aisle and see her way there with the heavy violet lace?
Lelia’s mother and father had told her that Mante was a perfect fit. The matchmaker had seen it in the bones, even doing an extra palm reading on Lelia’s mother and father to see how their daughter had measured up to their arranged marriage.
The matchmaker had not even met with Lelia! How could she know anything about her? Lelia knew this was the custom, but she didn’t want it. She wanted to choose her own mate.
Her mother came to see her in her purple gown. “You look lovely,” she said. “Let me see the veil.”
Lelia put it on.
“I can tell something is troubling you. Do tell me.”
“How can you see anything with this masking veil? I can’t even see my own hands.”
Her mother pulled the veil back and looked into Lelia’s blue eyes. “Tell me.”
Her mother said, “I know you so well. You don’t want to have an arranged marriage. There is only one way to solve this. You must meet the matchmaker.”
Lelia groaned. Matchmaking was akin to mysticism, something Lelia thought was a bunch of hooey.
“I will take you to her now. Change your dress.”
The matchmaker Noom was a middle-aged woman with gray streaks in her black hair. Lelia was surprised that she didn't instantly dislike the woman. She seemed frail and delicate, like a flower in the snow.
Noom and Lelia sat across from each other on te floor, a tea table between them. Noom said nothing, only waited for Lelia to speak.
Finally, Lelia said, "How can you se so sure?"
Noom raised her black eyes to Lelia. "It's what I am."
"What are you? What do you mean?"
"I am matchmaker. I am not married. I would rather be matched, but I am matchmaker."
"But how can you be so sure?"
Noom gave a slight smile. "I make you promise. You go to wedding day, you look in the mirror at the alter. After honeymoon, you come see me again."
"So that's it?" Lelia sighed. She had gotten no information from the matchmaker at all.
Noom left her with, "Only through experience can you learn. I cannot tell you."
Lelia couldn't see a thing in her veil, but her father walked her up the aisle and kept her steady. Mante would be up front already, wearing a veil of his own. His would be red.
They reached the altar. Lelia couldn't see Mante, but she could sense him near her. Was he as frustrated by this arrangement as she was?
The ritual dancers swayed and spun around the soon-to-be-wed couple. How long would Lelia have to wait to look into the mirror?
The priest then hushed the crowd and handed Lelia and Mante their mirrors. Lelia tilted hers towards Mante and he did the same with her. Their mothers lifted the couple's veils at the same time and they looked at each other through the mirrors.
Mante had green eyes and a strong jaw, closely shaven. He was her age, thankfully. His eyes widened when he saw her and his lips twitched upwards.
Lelia felt herself blush.
Lelia sat across from Noom, her first child in her lap. "I still don't know how you knew."
"I like you. You speak open. Some call it gift, others call it curse. I call it being me. I like what I do, but I would still like to find my mirror match. Until then, I find for others."
Wednesday, June 2, 2010