Eleven Years Earlier-July Nineteen Eighty-One
Isabelle gazed in the mirror, touching up her red lipstick. She rolled her lips, smoothing out the bright color. She looked pretty in her white lacey floor-length dress with the heart-shaped bodice cut low above the breast. The gold cross dangling around her neck was a gift from her Dad. On the dresser, in front of her, laid a pair of simulated pearl earrings with a matching necklace. Isabelle picked it up and placed it over her cross. After she hooked the jewelry in place, she slipped on her pearl earrings. Then Isabelle stepped away from the mirror to admire herself. On each side of her smooth coffee-latte face was a dangling black curl, and the rest of her hair was swept up into a loose curly bun.
Preoccupied, Isabelle stared into the mirror with sad, mahogany eyes. She was supposed to be happy because today was her wedding day. For the first time in her life, she felt unsure about her decision. She was always confident with her decisions, never second-guessing herself. However, her biggest fear she might be marrying the wrong man, and that bothered her to no end. From the moment she saw Rosette, Isabelle instantly knew he wasn’t the one. However, she liked him. He seemed to fit the bill. He was tall, handsome, a Christian and a gentleman, and he was college-educated with a great sense of humor. He had all the attributes of a life-long partner, but Isabelle felt something was missing.
Isabelle drew in a deep breath as those thoughts weighed heavily on her mind. She entertained canceling the wedding, after all, she and Rosette only dated for ten months. Maybe, just maybe they needed more time. If they had time, perhaps she could figure out what was missing in their relationship. Isabelle flinched from the hard knock on the door and she hollered. “Come in!”
The door swung open, and Claude Dickson, her father, walked in. He was looking handsome and dapper in his doubled breasted gray silk suit, and his smile lit up the entire room like the morning sun. Claude was six-foot-tall with a vibrant chocolate complexion, and his graying afro was cut low to his head. His dark brown eyes rested on Isabelle, and he beamed with joy. “My number one daughter, don’t you look beautiful this afternoon!”
“Thank you, Dad,” Isabelle said. Her father fondly called her his number one daughter because she was the oldest of four.
“Are you ready to take that trip down the aisle?”
“I think so,” Isabelle sighed, shrugging her shoulders.
“Ah…what’s wrong? You’re supposed to be happy on your wedding day.” Claude came over and stood in front of her, placing his large warm hands on her shoulders.
“Dad, I feel weird,” Isabelle said, poking out her bottom lip. “I care for Rosette, but something is missing. I’m wondering if I’m making the right choice.”
Claude looked his daughter square in her eyes and said. “You don’t have to do this. You can put this marriage on hold.”
Isabelle folded her arms and frowned.“ I know Dad, but I’ve two hundred and fifty guests out there waiting to see us get married! I can’t cancel now. It’s too late!”
“It’s never too late. It would be best if you didn’t worry about that. Your guest will get over it. After all, it’s your life,” Claude flatly said as he let go of his daughter. He went to the sofa in front of the stain-glass window and sat. Claude drew up his right leg and rested it on his left knee. Quiet and somber, he intently studied his daughter’s face as he stroked his graying mustache.
Isabelle flattened her hand against her stomach, frowning slightly, concerned. Her eyes zeroed in on her father’s. “I thought you like Rosette! You said he’s a good man.”
“He is, but he’s not right for you, and I think you already know that,” Claude’s forehead furrowed. “If you don’t feel it’s right, don’t marry.”
Isabelle’s eyes went round with surprise. Swallowing hard, she absorbed the seriousness of her father’s words. She marveled at how well her father knew her. He was right. She shouldn’t marry Rosette, but she didn’t want to disappoint him or their guest. So to save face, she came at her father from another angle. “Dad, I’ll be all right. It’s just cold feet,” she calmly insisted.
Claude gave her a stern, all-knowing look. “Are you trying to convince yourself or me?”
“Dad….” Isabelle whined.
“Dad nothing!” Her father cut her off, unwilling to agree with her. “It’s your life! You got to live with your choices, not me, not Rosette, not those people out there! You do!”
Isabelle hung her head. She hated when her father chastised her. “You’re right. I guess I have a decision to make.”
“You certainly do.”
Isabelle dragged herself to the sofa and sat. She rested her head on her father’s shoulder and closed her eyes. They sat in silence for a while then the wedding march song faintly echoed through the door. “So what’s your verdict?” Claude asked, breaking the solitude.
Isabelle opened her eyes and raised her head. She looked at her father. “I guess I’m getting married,” she said.
Claude stood on his feet and smiled. He extended his hand, and Isabelle grabbed it. She got up and followed her Dad to the door. When he opened it, the wedding march boomed overhead through the loudspeakers. Isabelle walked out first, then her father next. As he closed the door, Claude turned toward his daughter, and his lips erupted into a bright smile. “Are you ready?”
“Ready as I’m going to be,” Isabelle smiled back.
“Then let’s get you married!”
Isabelle held her head high as they walked to the sanctuary. When the usher opened the wooden doubled doors, everyone rushed to their feet. Rosette Perkins stood at the altar smiling broadly. He looked dashing in his white tux as he stood anxiously waiting for the ceremony to start. With all eyes peeled on her, Isabelle smiled. Then she slipped her left arm inside her father’s bent elbow, and together they entered the sanctuary and walked down the aisle.
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