At saying this he let go of her hand and looked down. Leela could tell that Taylor was embarrassed at having to admit to her that he was lost. She almost felt sorry for him. She would rather leave him here than show him the way to town but she knew it would be wrong so she let out a sigh, whispered a quick prayer and said, “Very well, you may walk with me back to town.” Taylor gave her a smile and said he was much obliged.
The walk home helped Leela relax. Who could be tense with such pleasant surroundings? She looked around her as if she had never traveled these roads before. Everything seemed knew. She looked at the green grass sway in the wind. She listened to the birds singing as they went about their busy day. The sun warmed her tear stained face. All these things brought a smile to her face. No one would have guessed that this carefree smiling face was burdened by the upcoming marriage. Leela herself wouldn’t have believed it if Taylor wasn’t walking beside her.
Then Leela did something that surprised even her. She began to talk to Taylor. It must have been the air and the exercise of walking that made her feel like talking. Taylor was even surprised when he heard Leela’s voice break the silence.
“You know when I was a little girl I use to dream of my future. My mother always said I was different than the other girls. When I asked her why she would say with a twinkle in her eyes, “You want a future. And you can have one too. Just keep dreaming Leela.” I always wondered what she meant. Surely other girls wanted a future too but now I understand. I want a life of my own; I want to go against the flow of today and go to school and learn a profession…now I only have dreams.”
Taylor looked at Leela with wonder. He looked at her and realized that he was going to close all those doors she had opened in her dreams. He was slamming them shut.
The journey home ended shortly after Leela shared her feelings with Taylor. He thanked her and left her at her home. Then he walked to the hotel where he was staying. All the way there he thought about the things Leela had said. Every word haunting him. Again he thought of leaving and setting Leela free from him and their planned marriage but he knew he couldn’t. The face of her father told him that if it wasn’t he who married Leela, it would be another.
….page 8 of my transcript is missing and I don’t remember what was written. Continued below is page 9 …
She walked with her mother to the breakfast room where they would have their tea. Leela helped her mother prepare the tea. She tried not to think of anything but helping her mother set the table. Her father entered the room shortly after her and her mother had everything ready. He greeted them both with a stiff smile.
“Now doesn’t this table look lovely. Let’s all sit and have some tea.”
Leela’s father then seated himself at the table. Leela and her mother followed his example and sat down also. Leela’s mother served the tea.
It was almost time for the wedding. Everybody was preparing for the big event. Leela was with her mother who was having a tough time getting Leela dressed. Everything she did seemed to be done slowly as if she was trying to put off the wedding; even if it would be delayed only a few minutes. Her mother tried to encourage her to go faster but it didn’t make a difference. Leela wasn’t into getting married and she was going to let her mother know it ’til the end.
Leela and her mother weren’t the only ones who were having problems. Down the street in the only hotel in town there was another person who was having as much difficulty as Leela – and that was Taylor. His stomach felt like a whole cage of butterflies were trying to break loose. He wondered again if he should just leave and wash his hands of the whole situation. But he always answered himself by either shaving or putting on his bow tie.
Walter rushed down the empty street. His face was flushed and his forehead was beginning to shine with perspiration. He couldn’t believe the time. It was 12:30pm already and of yet he hadn’t received a reply from the minister. He wished he hadn’t waited so long for the messenger to return. He should of went to the minister’s earlier but he hadn’t and now he was paying for it.
It seemed like an eternity before he reached his destination. He climbed up the steps that led to the front door. At the top he stopped to lean on one of the wooden beams that helped support the porch’s roof. His breath was coming fast and he closed his eyes. He exhaled and inhaled slowly. It only took a little while for him to catch his breath then he was at the door making his presence known with a firm loud knock on the door.
The door was quickly opened by Mrs. Keen, the minister’s wife. Her lovely blue eyes gleamed with pleasure as she welcomed Walter into the house. Leela’s father wasted no time with Mrs. Keen. As soon as he was inside the house he told the kindly old lady he came to see the minister. Mrs. Keen, who was one who loved to entertain guests, asked Mr. McMooley to sit. She then asked him if he would like some tea or coffee. Feeling agitated, Mr. McMooley made it quite clear that he needed to speak to the minister right away and that it was very important. Mrs. Keen upon hearing the agitation in her guest’s voice thought it wise to get the minister without further ado.
When the minister appeared Walter quickly stood from where he was siting and made his request known. The minister motioned for Walter to be seated, which he did. Once the minister saw that Walter was seated, he too took a seat. He then explained to his guest that he could not perform the wedding.
When Walter asked why, the minister answered by saying, “Before I do any wedding, I like to talk to the couple. Especially when they are young, like Leela. I want to know if they’re taking marriage seriously…”
Before the minister could finish Walter cut in by saying, “But the wedding is less than 15 minutes away. I’ve talked with Leela and she knows what is expected of her. Please, I need you to perform this ceremony.”
Minister Keen was moved by the sincerity of Mr. McMooley’s voice. He sat there for awhile contemplating if he should make an exception. When he finally spoke it was to say he would oversee the wedding nuptials. Mr. McMooley’s face beamed with pleasure. He left the house overjoyed! At last all that he planned was coming true. It was taking work but it was happening. As Mr. McMooley walked home to tell his family the good news, he couldn’t help but whistle a happy tune.
At home Leela was almost ready for the wedding. Her mother was just starting to do Leela’s hair. She gently brushed her daughter’s hair until it shined. When she was done styling Leela’s hair into a becoming French twist, she carefully placed the beautiful white veil made of lace on her head.
Leela looked in at herself in the mirror; shocked at what she saw. Could that really be her? Was the facing looking at her really her own? Leela could not believe how different she looked. She felt as if she was a princess and for a moment she was almost happy, but the feeling soon faded as her mother told her it was time for the wedding to start.