Miss Havisham: A fictional retrospective based on real experiences

July 26, 2009 § Leave a comment

Today, I found myself wondering, “What would have happened if Miss Havisham had been married rather than left at the altar?”

This is a speculation based on real experiences. Mine.

(Note: Please be gentle in criticisms–I have only read Great Expectations once, back in high school which was over 10 years ago for some parts of it. I cannot and do not and will not claim to be a scholar of Victorian-era literature. I have limited interest in Dickens in general. I’m a Shakespearean.)

There’s probably a very good reason why Miss Havisham’s fiancé skipped out on their wedding. Much of it probably stemmed from a tendency of hers toward the nutty and the fixated-pack-rat. I doubt her general insanity suddenly blossomed from nowhere the day after her failed wedding.

That said, what would it have been like if Miss Havisham had been married?

Probably, it would have gone something like this:

“My darling, my dear, we need to move your belongings from your former home into our lovely new home.”
“Yes, my love, let’s work in the kitchen today.”
(A moment lapses as the new wife opens the refrigerator…which perhaps would not have been in Miss Havisham’s domicile at the time. But allow for some anachronism.)
“My love, oh no, oh come quick!” (she cries)
“What has happened, my darling, my dear wife?”
“My beautiful flowers…they’re…they’re…deceased!” (she wails, thrusting the vase of crumpled bridal bouquet closer.)
“Oh my darling, my dear. It has been over two months, after all. Surely these lovely flowers have given their all. It is time to say goodbye.”
The new wife nods, mournfully regarding the brown, formerly white, and wilted, formerly pert, daisies and roses. The balls of perfectly white hydrangea, which had previously given such body and shape to the bouquet two months ago, now crumble to the touch. Her groom holds open a large garbage bag (potentially also an anachronism), and she slowly deposits the disintegrating blooms. As he ties off the bag, tears well up in her eyes and she turns away. Yes, she cries over the death of her bridal bouquet. Two months after the fact.

This is my speculative retrospective. And this was a true experience. It happened today. Granted, Robert and I don’t call each other “darling,” “dear,” or “my love,” but I was infusing what I imagine could have been the lover’s language of Miss Havisham and her fiancé. Maybe I missed the mark. Probably I missed the mark. But, the point is, sometimes I find myself tearfully throwing away empty boxes (such as the ones that once contained our china), and my decrepit bridal bouquet is no exception. Oh, and there was no drying these flowers. My florist said that it would be close to impossible unless professionally preserved immediately following the ceremony (and the nearest preserving location was about two hours away in any direction, which would be too late). My bouquet was primarily white daisies, which simply don’t keep well once they die. And I didn’t want to keep dry yellow and brown flowers because, well, it reminds me too much of the creepy old woman who is the subject of this entry.

So, I cried. But not for very long. And once I was over it, I was over it.

The wedding is over, that is true. And I am sad to know it’s done. But I’m more excited of the future…and, as Robert reminded me, flowers die. It’s what they do. And I like to think that because flowers frequently die, he will have plenty of opportunities to replace the dead ones with beautiful fresh ones.

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