The girl who wanted to get married

  • Short story: The girl who wanted to get married
  • Written: 2004
  • Translated: From danish, 2006

The girl was out of the house to visit her neighbor, who had invited her over for dinner. The sun was shining; the sky was free of clouds. A lovely day, the girl thought, as she came to a small hill, which the gravel road went over. The neighbor lived on the other side.

The girl was suddenly startled by a noise from behind. She calmed down, as she turned and saw it was the town priest pedalling closer on his bicycle. He was probably on his way to town.

The priest passed the girl and gave her a friendly nod. The girl smiled and nodded back. She followed the priest with her eyes, as he went up the hill. When he was about half way up, he had to step down from the bike and drag it.

The girl looked around on the meadows and trees, and a lake in the distance. She loved the nature around her, the wind in her hair, the bees fighting over the best flowers, and above all, the smell of cow droppings. It simply reminded her of summer.

She was now half way up the hill, and she looked up to see if the priest had reached the top. He was nearly there, but the hill was so steep he had to literally haul the bike up. The girl couldn’t help but giggling quietly, as the priest fell and the bike slid back down the hill, past the girl.

The priest went back down to get it. He was all sweaty and red in his face, the girl saw, as he walked past her and gave her a friendly nod once again. The girl smiled and nodded back.

When the girl reached the top, she stopped and admired the beautiful view. Down the hill to the right, just on the outskirts of the forest, stood the neighbors house. In front of the house were some fields, and behind it loomed the forest. The village was on the other side of the forest. The girl could see house roofs and the church, which she attended every Sunday with her mother.

The girl looked back down at the house she was heading towards. She was nervous and happy at the same time. She had finally been invited for dinner at the neighbors’ house, where the gorgeous guy, whom her mother had invited home once, lived. The girls’ mother often said that the girl had to get married soon, but she just hadn’t found the right one. The mother had invited lots of different men from the village, but none that the girl liked. The mother couldn’t understand this, since they were all men from rich and noble families.

But then one day the mother hit the snail on the tale. She had invited this young, handsome guy, perhaps not as rich as the others, but the girl didn’t care about money. He was a large and strong man, with short and dark, almost black, hair and a flat nose. The girl was excited to get to meet him again, in his own house, but why was she so nervous?

She pulled herself together, and started walking down the hill. Finally down, she stopped at the neighbors’ garden gate. Carefully she opened it and started walking along the garden path. The garden was filled with flowers of all colors, bushes and trees. The girl bent down by some red roses and picked them up. Without thinking of where it was that she picked them, her intention was to give them to the handsome man when he opened the door. She stepped up the doorsteps and knocked twice on the door, while nervously staring down at the ground. She could hear footsteps on the other side of the door, so she looked up and held the roses in front of her, so they would be the first thing the man saw as he opened the door.

Suddenly, the door flew up, and in the opening stood a fat lady.

“Welcome, welcome,” she almost yelled out, while at the same time grabbing the flowers. “Oh, are these for me?”

“Actually,” the girl started, but the lady was already gone. A few seconds later she turned up again, with her son next to her.

“You already know my son,” she said and pulled him by his arm to get him closer to the girl. “You met at your home, when your mother had invited him over to see you. He has told me so much about you. But why are you just standing there? Come along inside.”

The girl didn’t know what to say. The lady had already gone back inside, but her son still stood in the doorway. He was tall, and even more handsome than the girl remembered. He had a white shirt on, with a black vest over it. His pants were also black, but way to short, so the girl could see his bare ankles. His shoes were well polished, but one of his shoelaces was loose.

“Come,” he said. “It’s right this way.”

The girl looked anxiously at the man, who reached his hand out towards her. She turned around, and managed to see the priest riding his bike down the hill at way too high speed. The priest waved friendly to the girl, who gave him a nod and a smile in return, just before he went straight in the ditch, where the road made a sharp turn. The girl gasped, but the man still stood with his hand out, waiting for her to grab it. She did, and let him lead her into the house dining room.

The dining room was big with a lot of furniture. A sofa stood in a corner, as well as a small table and two chairs. In the middle of the room was a long, squared table. The girl was just about to sit down on a chair around the big table, when the fat lady rushed forward to stop her.

“No!” she screamed, and the girl was so frightened by the sudden reaction that she waved her arms and hit the lady on the chin. Luckily, the lady acted like it had never happened.

“We’re not going to eat yet,” the lady continued in a calmer tone. “Let’s first have some coffee and a nice chat at the coffee table.”

She grabbed the girls arm, and dragged her to a little table in the corner.

“You can sit in the sofa, but you have to promise not to spill anything on it,” she said.

The girl nodded carefully to the lady, who sat down in one of the chairs. The man came and sat down in the other chair, as he gave the girl a tense smile.

It was quiet. The girl looked out of the window, where the priest put all his strength into getting the bike out of a bush and back on the road.

*

“Coffee?” the lady asked and poured some in a cup in front of the girl, before she had a chance to answer. “I’m sure you two have a lot to talk about, so I’ll leave you alone for a while before dinner.”

The lady left, and her son and the girl were alone. The man hadn’t gotten any coffee at all, so he looked longingly at the girls’ cup.

“You can have a sip if you want,” the girl said, now more nervous than ever.

The man looked at her.

“Thank you,” he said with a very mature voice. The girl gave him the cup, and he took a sip from it. He handed the cup back to the girl, but when the girl was going to put it down on the table, the fat lady stormed in. The girl dropped the cup, and the coffee was spilt all over both her and the sofa.

“What are you doing?” the lady yelled. She ran back out of the room, and came back with a rag in her hand. She cleaned the sofa, but the girl, who had brown spots all over her pretty dress, didn’t get any help.

“Oh, how time flies by,” the lady said before the girl had time to ask for a rag to clean her dress. “It’s time for dinner.”

The man looked at the girl, who stood next to the sofa.

“Come,” he said.

The girl hoped that he would show her to the kitchen and help her clean herself, but instead he escorted her to the dining table. He pulled out a chair and waved his hands as a gesture for her to sit down.

“Thank you,” she said and gave the man a smile. In the mean time, the lady had set the table with lots of food from the house kitchen. There were potatoes, pork, salads, sauces, fish, sausages, and a lot of other goodies. The girl couldn’t understand how the three of them were going to be able to eat all that.

“I have set the table for four,” the lady said, as if she could read the girls mind. “The priest is also coming in a minute, and even priests have to eat, right?”

The lady laughed at what she had just said. The girl looked at her, wondering why the priest was coming. All of a sudden there was a knock on the door and the lady rushed to answer it.

“Welcome, welcome,” the girl could hear from the hallway. “It’s an honor to have you here.”

“It’s an honor to be here.” It was the priest who answered. The girl could recognize his voice from all the countless times she had been in church.

The lady and the priest entered the dining room. The priest had taken his hat off, so his gray hair was showing. The gray hair and the long beard made him look like a garden brownie, which she just remembered having seen out in the garden, even though it was in the middle of July.

“Good afternoon,” the priest said as he gave the man and the young girl his hand. “We met earlier outside, if I’m not mistaking. I can’t understand how you made it here before I did. I mean, you were walking, and I was riding a bike. Who would have thought you’d beat me to it?”

The girl just smiled hopelessly to the priest.

“I have invited the priest here today, so we can sort things out before the wedding,” said the lady.

“What wedding,” the girl said. She feared that she already knew the answer.

“Your wedding of course,” the lady answered happily, while looking at the girl and her son. “You do want to get married, right?”

The girl turned to look at the man sitting in a chair opposite of her. Did she really want to marry this guy? She liked him a lot, but she didn’t think she was ready for marriage so soon.

“I don’t think there will be a wedding at this point,” she said and got up from her chair. The lady gasped, as the girl started walking towards the door.

“But surely you are acting a bit hasty now, don’t you think?” she said. The girl stopped in the doorway thinking for a second. Then she turned around looking at the man who was still sitting at the table.

“Perhaps we’ll meet again another time,” she said to him.

As the girl walked past the priest, he gave her a smile and a friendly nod, before he took an old comb out of his pocket and started combing his beard.

“I’m leaving now,” the girl said and closed the door behind her. She could hear a desperate scream from the lady, but she ignored it. She walked across the garden and through the garden gate. When she finally reached the top of the hill, the priest came past her on his bike. He was going way to fast, and as he turned around to wave to the girl he lost control of the bike, fell, and landed in a thorn bush.

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