Chapter 1 (Eiyah)
Living in Valhalla had its ups and downs. The upside being the small town feel and the quietness while the downside was also the small town feel and quietness. Not many young people called this place home and the ones that did didn’t hold my attention very well.
I’d just gotten home from school this weekend. Eight years, eight whole years of education and here I sit at the breakfast table with my mother.
“Eiyah? Where’d you go love?”
I must’ve been staring off while I sat here thinking about how my life would be changing in the next few weeks. I locked eyes with my mother and laughed it off
“You know me Mom. Just thinking about life, love and my future”
She grimaced and sat her coffee down in front of her. I could tell she wanted to say something but for some reason she kept it in for the most part only muttering unintelligibly under her breath which I was somewhat thankful for.
Vanessa, my mother and Brandt, my father adopted me when I was six. I was found walking along some train tracks with a Dora the explorer backpack and a cashiers check for $600,000. In the memo was scrawled “Dowry” or so I was told. Who even gives a dowry away this day and age especially in America? I digress but the check was deposited into an account in my name to be accessed when it’s deemed necessary. It’s been compounding interest for two decades and boy is it sitting pretty
“Morning my little cocoa bean. Morning light of my life”
Brandt strolled through the kitchen kissing my mother and gathering his own mug of coffee before plopping down next to me. We were a sight to see for sure. A chocolate skinned, buxom figured, natural hair wearing nerd while my parents were very much the epitome of prized Europeans
“Morning Daddy” I chirped earning a glare from Vanessa. I hadn’t been so nice to her this morning when she woke me up and she was letting me know it “Are you working this weekend?”
He shook his head while tossing back what was left of his coffee
“Nope, no work this weekend. We need to get you ready for the ball though. I know you’ve just come back home but we need to get to work on finding your dress and brushing up on your etiquette”
The ball, the Matchmaker’s Ball, how could I forget about it? Something that had been on my mind since I turned eighteen. I had been excused the last eight years since I was away for education but now that I was home it was time for me to face the music.
It’s crazy what you can accomplish in eight years of dedication. The places you can go, the things you experience and the people you meet can shape the rest of your life. Take for example my year long study abroad in Norway. I learned so much that I would’ve never been able to just read from a book in the building referred to as The department of Anthropology at NYU.
“The ball?” I drawl “What if I don’t want to go to the ball? Maybe I’ll find my match organically”
The table erupted in boisterous laughter until their eyes fell on my steely resolve. I haven’t smiled or laughed at the situation at hand. I didn’t want some pompous jerk to tell me who I “deserved” to marry.
“We’ve talked about this before Eiyah-bear. You know how we do things here. The matchmaker makes no mistake in the unions he forges. Look at your Momma and I. Aren’t we the picture of a happy marriage? She loves me and I love her. We are content with our lives”
I looked down at my hands planning my next words carefully. I didn’t want to offend them. They were content. I didn’t want content. I want love and everything that comes with it
“I mean no disrespect but I don’t want contentment.” I shook my head “I want someone who challenges and loves me to no end. I know you love each other but... that had to be learned, it wasn’t natural. I want my zing, my breath knocked out of me, I want my foot popping first kiss.”
Vanessa looked at me softening her gaze as she did.
“How do you know it won’t be like that? Your idea of marriage and my idea of marriage isn’t the same and that’s ok. I wanted what I have with your father. Love, financial security and a family. These are the same things he wanted and that’s why we were matched together. What good would it be to match two drastically different people together? It would never work out”
I didn’t believe that. I always thought of the man or woman I’d marry to be the yin to my yang. Probably loud and boisterous to my quiet and studious. Like I said I want someone to challenge me
“I think we need to agree to disagree on this one Mom. I’ll go to the ball but if the matchmaker has no match for me I want to find my own”
I could see they didn’t like this idea but it didn’t mean I’d back down from it. My father did something I’d never dream of him doing, the proud man he is. He conceded nodding his head in my direction. Even my mother gasped at the action
“Promise me you’ll actually give the matchmaker a fighting chance Eiyah. He’s a big deal and his blessings will take you far in life”
he droned. I’d checked out after he nodded pleased that he would even consider me finding my own partner. My mother shook her head at the situation. Picking up her mug and tucking her phone under her arm she walked away from us leaving Dad and I to discuss today’s activities
“Now that that’s all squared away it’s time to talk about your dress. While I’d love you to wear your mother’s gown your body shape just won’t allow it. Your genes won’t allow you to fit into her jeans” he chuckled at his own joke “but seriously we have three weeks to get you a dress suitable enough to meet your future husband”
I groaned at the horrid Dad joke but smiled when his chuckle belted out. His laugh was melodious and contagious. So much so I joined in with a hardy chuckle of my own. As the laughter died down and I wiped the stray tears away I finished up my breakfast and walked to my room to get dressed for the day. It didn’t take long at all and within a few moments we were slipping on shoes and walking out of the door.