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The engagement

Posted by on February 13, 2013

She was at home in the village, knitting by the light of the oil lamp when her father came home from the fields. Her mother was at the opposite end of the kitchen nursing the youngest child. He took off his hat and coat.

The oil lamp

The oil lamp

As he sat down he spoke to her, ‘There is a young man interested in you. He approached me in the fields today. He asked if you were available.” Her heart began to flutter and her cheeks grew pink. She had been through this before.

“He is that orphan, a hard worker. He owns two oxen. He is as strong as one himself. “

She knew exactly who he was talking about. She had seen him before and her cheeks would turn warm with just a quick glance of him.

This is quite a different reaction to the first time her father told her someone was interested. The first man was handsome, but too loud not serious enough. She wouldn’t dare reveal her real thoughts, however. Her answer then was the same as her answer now. “You know best father. As you wish.” Luckily the first man never came back from the war.

“I will ask him to come tomorrow”

That night she couldn’t sleep. She knew when he came, she couldn’t look at him. He would enter the house. Take off his hat, and sit with her father. They would have wine, and she would sit in the corner knitting and looking down. She would have to sit away from the lamp so they couldn’t see the colour of her cheeks.  Her mother’s stern face, and piercing glare would help her to keep her head down. She knew the consequences of even a chance glance at him.

The engagement would last two years, as the war interrupted everyone’s plans. In that time, when he would come to the house in the evenings, he would talk to her father or mother, and she would look down. Of course he would try his luck, grabbing at her hand as she walked up the stairs one day. She, however, waited patiently until her wedding day to have a good look at her husband. That was the first time she was able to study his big rich brown eyes. It was also the first time she noticed the sadness they held.

To be continued…

Patrizia

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