Alia stood on the balcony. From her suite there was a wonderful view of the village below. Beyond the town, a small oval lake looked like someone had laid a mirror on the ground, reflecting the brilliant blue sky and beautiful mountains beyond. The view was lost on Alia however; she was deep in troubled thought.
She was here to be married. An arranged marriage, and he from such a distance that they had only met briefly this morning, the wedding was in a few hours. All she knew of this man was his looks, his voice, and the assurance of her family that he was a “good man.” But how could they know, they did not know him.
She caught sight of woman on another balcony, suddenly envying an assumed happiness she imagined for her. That woman could marry for love, perhaps she already had. Alia didn’t know if she would ever know love.
Susan, on the other balcony, was waiting for her new husband. She had returned to their suite while he was still in the shower, she was biding her time gazing happily at the beautiful view. As she stood, she suddenly realized he’d gotten on the phone. She heard him tell someone to be patient, now that he had “Susan’s money” he would find an apartment where they could meet. As she listened, Susan’s world crumbled around her.
Someone delivered a gift to Alia’s door. It was from her husband to be. It was a golden heart with a pearl in the center. There was a note.
This is my heart; you are the pearl. Though we start as strangers, if you give me the chance, I will spend all of my years surrounding you with love.
Your soon to be husband,