Eden 2:3

EdenGertrude had called her dashing.  And this morning, as Eden’s mind wandered away from the lecture, Gertrude seemed to wander with her, sneaking smiles beneath the neat brim of her flower-trimmed straw hat.  The doubts of the night before fled as Eden basked in the certainty that she was securely planted in Gertrude’s heart.

Eden wasn’t sure where their love would take them.  Whenever she tried to imagine life beyond college only the haziest images came to her.  But where would they live?  How would they get their living or spend their days?  Would their families be nearby?  She had only met Gertrude’s parents once.   But if Gertrude loved Eden and Eden loved Gertrude what future could there be for either of them, but together somehow?

She pondered these things later that evening as she removed her tie and collar before the photo stuck in the frame of her dressing table mirror.

Sitting in a velvet chair, wearing an expensive lace tea dress and an elaborately feathered and beribboned hat, Gertrude smiled merrily in sepia tones.  Beside Gertrude stood Eden herself, in her best suit and a new Homberg, one hand on Gertrude’s shoulder, an unlit cigar in the other.  They looked for all the world like newlyweds.

It had been Gertrude’s idea.  The Radcliffe literature club—of which, Gertrude was president—had held an April Fools Day ball last spring in which half the girls had dressed as boys and half as girls.  Eden had been the only “boy” there whose clothing actually fit and whose hat wasn’t awkwardly poised atop a vast upsweep of hair.  She and Gertrude had taken the prize for handsomest couple and had their photograph taken.

Eden knew it was all supposed to be a joke, but secretly she cherished the photo.  Gertrude had a copy too, and Eden had written on the back, “to the prettiest girl in Boston, all my love, E.”  Gertrude had written on Eden’s too.  It simply said, “x, G.”

Why couldn’t she and Gertrude go away to a sepia world in which Eden really was a dashing young man, Gertrude, her lovely bride and everyone smiled approvingly at them?

After all, her parents had done it—in full color.

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