Literary Fiction family stories Love and marriage


By Patricia Flaherty Pagan
Oct 24, 2019 · 341 words · 2 minutes

Photo by Nathan Dumlao via Unsplash.

From the author: A glimpse into three generations risking love and marriage.

     Grandfather proposed to a nurse with mischievous eyes as they stood amongst blazing sunflowers on the edge of a clearing. She joined him in his practice and under his Dresden Plate patterned quilts. They named their daughter Doris Evelyn McBride, but by the time she could run and twirl through the green grass of their yard, everyone called her Daisy.

     Mother proposed. Giddy and brazen before her tender, scholarly beau, she rode the rush of that handsome, clever Catholic Kennedy’s presidential victory into a moment of fearlessness. Her professor laughed and took her in his arms. They married beneath the stained glass windows in the Boston College chapel. After mother gently nudged four children towards university, and buried two others, she returned to her studies. Mother’s dissertation, Fertile Ground: The Garden as Metaphor in the Poetry of Emily Dickinson, won two prizes.

     What does it say about our love that I can’t recall my first husband’s proposal? I remember lying on our futon listening to the rain in our cramped Porter Square apartment. The parade of hundred-dollar rose-and-violet-colored bridesmaid’s dresses I wore to rounds of weddings during my twenty-fifth year leaps to mind. I can still feel the plastic cases of the CDs we separated into two shoeboxes the day before he left. We fought over Blood Sugar Sex Magik.     

     “Surprise me.” I never expected you to take it literally. We’d promised never to buy into the marriage dream again. Then there you stood in a borrowed blue suit holding a fat bouquet of my favorite lilies in the faculty office of the Math department. I said yes to the scent of you and them.

     Six months later, we defied black clouds on the beach and recited our practiced lines quickly to beat the rain. It wasn’t until our friends encircled us inside the inn that the weight of our joyous gamble sunk in for me. Laughing, I tossed my bouquet over my tanned shoulder.

     I’m still not sure where it will land.       

Patricia Flaherty Pagan

Patricia Flaherty Pagan writes about women and children who find magic in the mundane and battle everyday demons.

1 Comment
  • Karen M
    November 2, 2:50pm

    Thanks for sharing your story! This is great. I love the symbolism of the bouquet at the end. Well done.