Posted by totalovrdose
SYNOPSIS: A young man attempts to come to terms with the fact that the woman of his dreams is arranged to be married by her parents to another man.
Gregory Wiseman lay in a hospital bed in the recovery ward, his face covered in a multitude of scars and abrasions from intensive trauma. He had light brown coloured hair and dark brown eyes. His cheeks were normally a dull red in colour, but today were particularly bright from the abrasions he had received. Tubes ran out from his nose and an additional tube ran from his vein to a drip, his heart and pulse rate being lower than optimal as he slowly breathed in and out. His eyes were closed whilst in the unconscious state he was in, his body completely motionless as he lay with his head propped up against a pillow. How did he manage to get into such a critical state? The answer for this remained in his past…
Gregory had always had feelings for Lisa. To him she was both mentally and physically beautiful. She had dark, curly hair and big round eyes that were brown in colour. She had a radiant glow to her skin and her smile was to die for. Not only this, but she was incredibly intellectual in many different subjects.
So when he asked her if she wanted to begin seeing him socially it just seemed like the natural thing to do and when she agreed to have a relationship with him he was over joyed.
The reaction Augustus, Lisa’s father had however was quite the opposite. Augustus had jet black hair that was shoulder length in appearance, a few gray hairs beginning to appear. His eyes were a cold, black in colour and his nose was rather large upon his aging, yellow coloured face. His mouth was often open in a snarl and he spoke with a strong accent that made him often appear twice as angry.
‘How dare you go against your family like this!’ he roared when he managed to extract the news from his daughter. ‘Lisa, you are my only daughter and I love you, which is why I expect the best for you. Having a relationship with this Anglo is not the answer. That is why we orchestrated for you to be engaged to Mathieu. You do remember him don’t you? He is one of us, Lisa. That is how we preserve our culture, by marrying into families of our same heritage, not by desecrating our family name and completely and barbarically humiliating us by having a relationship with some ocker. Your mother and I did not immigrate to this country for you to marry some Australian prick. We came for the opportunities it would hold for you. Now you are better than this Anglo. Which is why in two weeks time you shall be united with Mathieu and the two of you can start your lives together.’
Lisa had tried to protest against this and had even attempted to get her mother, Maria’s help, but neither attempts to change her father’s mind succeeded. Her mother too felt it was the best thing Lisa could do, although she of course did not wish to anger her husband and take the side of the one person who could embarrass them by bringing home a person who was not of their culture.
Maria herself had jet black hair like her husband which was always tied back in a bun as to ensure it made its way straight down the very centre of her back. She had large, jet black eyes that seemed to not properly belong to the rest of her person, whilst great red lips were placed upon her face that too seemed to exceed the size that was meant for her.
When Lisa had to reluctantly renege on the date Gregory had offered her he was considerably shocked and badly hurt by this sudden change of heart. He attempted to ask her about this immediate change, but Lisa decided not to tell him the truth, believing he would not be able to properly understand nor comprehend.
Two weeks later, just like her father had promised, Mathieu arrived. He was a tall muscular man that seemed to have an interior train of thought, i.e. he only ever thought of himself. He had dark brown eyes and hair that was always drenched in bodily fluid and had a rather tanned body. He walked around wearing a muscle top and a rumor was that back home he walked around with a bare chest. He had large ears that did not properly seem to suit him, making him look as though he was about ready to take off and fly away at a moment’s notice. His stomach too seemed inappropriately large, making it seem as though he was the kind of man who really enjoyed his beer. There was also the rumor that he had been married several times before, the women who had managed to break the relationship off with him never supplying satisfactory reasons as to why they wanted to be rid of him. They just wanted the relationship to end. Although a man who had been divorced numerous times was seen as a disgraced individual, he was still worth marrying into.
When Lisa turned twenty two she thought she was old. Mathieu however was forty six, leaving Lisa feeling incredibly young by comparison. What put Lisa off most about the man she was expected to marry was not just his physical appearance nor his age, but the lack of English he knew. It was true that she was fluent in both her native tongue as well as in the English dialect, but her English skills far exceeded the knowledge she knew of her own native language. She did of course bring up this dispute with her father who simply waved it away as he managed the wedding arrangements with Mathieu, who would become an Australian citizen immediately after the marriage had been initiated.
Mathieu himself felt offended at his future wife’s slanderous comments towards his ability to speak English, instantly saying in a heavy Greek accent ‘I can to speak your English! Sea shells sea shells by the sea shore! How much wood could a wood chopper chop if a wood chopper could chop wood?’ He seemed remarkably pleased with himself. Lisa however, was not.
Her opinions appeared however to be invalid though and from then on she was forced to escort her future husband around the environment to get him to know the region.
Gregory occasionally noticed them traversing the city and eventually decided to go to Lisa’s house to find out exactly what was going on. Upon knocking on the door she answered, seeming almost relieved to have a distraction from what was currently occurring in her life, her face having a distinct sadness to it.
‘It took me years to sum up the courage to express to you my feelings’ admitted Gregory, holding a bouquet of flowers out to her. ‘The least you can do is explain to me why you can’t be with me.’
‘I am sorry Gregory’ she said, ‘but I am currently with someone else.’
‘Really?’ he probed. ‘Perhaps you could have told me this before agreeing to go out with me.’
‘I wasn’t engaged then as I am now’ said Lisa, looking as though she didn’t wish to express her current marital status out loud.
‘You’re engaged?’ asked Gregory bewildered. ‘And here I was hoping I might still have a chance to spend the rest of my life with you.’
‘I’m sorry’ said Lisa sadly. ‘You’re really sweet, but I’m afraid we just can’t be together.’
With that, the door closed in Gregory’s face as he began to make his way back towards the side walk, before stopping suddenly and spinning around. ‘Lisa Tsarios!’ he cried at the top of his lungs. ‘I am in love with you and from now until the day I die I will continue to be! And before that moment does indeed transpire, I will marry you and cherish you forever!’
He made his way back whence he came after saying this, a plan already in motion inside his mind.
Whilst inside the house, it was not only Lisa who had heard what Gregory had cried.
‘Who was that idiot?’ spluttered Augustus angrily. ‘Doesn’t that Anglo prick have anyone else he could annoy at this time of day? Doesn’t he know we have a wedding to prepare?’
‘If he comes round here again I’ll kill him!’ cried Mathieu in a Neanderthal-like tone.
Lisa however didn’t hear any of this. She was far too busy being swept away by the comment that Gregory had just made to her whilst she lay in her bed, smiling at the idea of being married to him.
Over the next month Gregory began to show to Lisa exactly how he felt. On numerous mornings flowers were deposited at her door which her father chucked out post haste, the remnants of them often found in the trash receptacle. These she dusted off before applying them in a glass of water and suspending them in her room.
Love letters and romanticised poems were placed inside her mail box, both her father and Mathieu ripping these into smithereens. Mathieu often read them beforehand though, which simply made him even madder. On a couple of occasions however he quite liked the verses and read them to Lisa, attempting to pass them off as his own to make his future wife feel more comfortable with the idea of marrying him. However, she could always see through his lies, knowing full well who had written them, finding the prose to be quite beautiful.
One university morning a broadcast was made, specifying for those who had burnt the phrase ‘I love Lisa Tsarios’ into the front lawn to come forth, Lisa giggling upon hearing this announcement which no one ever admitted to.
During a class PowerPoint presentation which students found incredibly boring, Lisa suddenly became attracted to the fourteenth slide which the two students giving the presentation swore they had never inserted. The words on the slide specified ‘I love Lisa Tsarios 4 life’, the class finding this to be the most amusing part about the assignment. The students giving the presentation managed to obtain eighty five per cent of the expected mark for their project.
Later that same week, Lisa was making her way back to her car and discovered a note attached under one of the windscreen wipers which indicated for her to make her way to the park.
Upon arriving, Lisa found a picnic site had been erected, Gregory making his way out from behind her and presenting her with a bouquet of flowers which she took with a dazzling smile. Together they sat down to eat the food that Gregory had prepared, just as Mathieu happened to drive past. He had only recently begun to learn how to drive in Australia and often did so with a huge smile on his face, believing that such a talent was the most amazing thing he had ever accomplished. ‘You see, I am Australian enough already?’ he could be often heard saying as he drove past the houses in the neighborhood.
On this one occasion however, no such words were to come from his lips. He instantly stopped the car and stormed over to Lisa, grabbing her by the wrist and dragging her away.
‘How dare you humiliate me like this!’ he roared, his English becoming only slightly better. ‘I see the only way to stop this absurd behaviour is to stop it at the source.’ With that, he proceeded to hit Gregory who fell flat to the ground, blood rolling down his face as Mathieu continued to brutalise him, smiling as he did so.
‘Stop!’ cried Lisa, throwing her hands up in the air. ‘Mathieu, I won’t marry you!’
At these words Mathieu stopped and stood to his feet, Gregory lying motionless on the ground beside him.
‘I love him more than I could ever love you!’ shouted Lisa, throwing the engagement ring she had been forced to wear over the past month directly at Mathieu who reluctantly left after kicking Gregory’s motionless body once more.
Lisa proceeded to call the ambulance service, riding in the emergency vehicle with Gregory as he was taken into the emergency ward to access the overall damage which had been done to his person.
Lisa waited outside to hear the news, her mother and father later arriving. ‘Mathieu was just arrested!’ exploded Augustus. ‘I think you had better explain yourself young lady!’ he cried, slapping his daughter across the face.
‘And so he should have been!’ retaliated Lisa. ‘He could have killed Gregory!’
‘Again with the bloody Anglo!’ growled Augustus. ‘Who cares about this damn Australian bastard! He deserved all that he received for meddling in our affairs. If he does die he will die a hero to the people of Greece, because from here on no Anglo will ever meddle in our affairs from fear of what will happen to them. Besides, Mathieu won’t be charged. He was released under the condition that he would never return to Australia. Do you know what you have done? You have ruined the chance you had with Mathieu. He would have been good for you, but no, you had to humiliate us!’
‘Gregory loves me!’ shouted Lisa. ‘I know you don’t want him to, but love has no cultural background like we do. It makes the decisions at its own volition. It has no laws; no boundaries. It does what it will and it has no adversary strong enough to bring it to its knees.’
‘Then love is a fool and deserves the same fate as that bastard in there!’ shouted Augustus, indicating at the emergency ward. ‘If you choose him over your own family do not expect to come back to us. From now on you are no longer our daughter and I am no longer your father.’ With that both of Lisa’s parents left as she stood in the empty corridor of the hospital.
Not long afterwards Gregory was released into the recovering ward, Lisa sitting by his side, waiting for him to awake, just as one of his fingers moved, his eyes beginning to open as he awoke to see Lisa’s smiling face.
‘What happened?’ he asked, a pained expression making its way across his features.
‘Rest now’ smiled Lisa, kissing his forehead before rubbing it with her gentle fingers. ‘We will talk again later.’
And so they did.
About totalovrdoseI am an online journalist, video game reviewer, mental health advocate and post graduate university student. I am a massive video gaming geek; a lover of intellectual conversations; an award winning procrastinator; a devilishly charming nuisance and the definition of 'fun' (sometimes). My blog is filled with many a soporific love poem, and is simply the beginning in my quest to become a published author. Please stop by and say 'Hi!' (that rhymes!) :D
Posted on March 8, 2012, in Short Story and tagged arranged marriage, cultural differences, cultural diversity, culture, differences, disavowing, drama, family, fiction, friendship, love, marriage, out of one's league, prose, religion, romance, short story, social normality, want. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.