As always, the wedding is for the family, not the brides and grooms. But there’s something of the discrete, at least, in the fact that the ceremony itself takes place behind closed doors with only the close family present. Much to the disappointment, I might add, of Mr. Smith – deprived of his chance of seeing a marriage ceremony first-hand.
What strikes me about these last few chapters is how little changed the four children at the center of the story are by what they’re experiencing, and about to experience. Saahm and Sahmi are quiet and responsible, already (especially Sahmi) brooding a little at having to indulge the whims of their spoiled brides. Leyli and Layla are resolutely as self-centered as ever, showing little concern for how the events transpiring impact anyone but themselves. In sort, they’re the same kids as they were before – they’re just about to be married and nothing in their lives will ever be the same.
This chapter serves also to remind us that in many ways these sorts of marriages were harder on the brides, because they become part of their husband’s family – and in the process, are no longer a part of their own. This fact hits the girls hard as the goodbyes start to flow, and they take to sulking – finally hiding under blankets as their hapless grooms try to talk them back into the light, not realizing that the little hellions have actually fallen asleep. This brings back memories of all the abuse Saahm and Sahmi have suffered over the years, and in a hopeful sign – for them, anyway – they get a little back by showing Layla and Leyli that they can be dangerous, too.
The story ends with “And they lived happily ever after” – bringing us back to the reality of just what Mori Kaoru is trying to do with Otoyomegatari in telling many different stories. And it’s easy enough to believe the kids will indeed have a good life – the boys are a good fit for the girls, probably just patient and sensible enough to see the humor in their situation. Mori-sensei teases the next chapter with “Next Time: The Couple You’ve Been Waiting to See!” I wonder who that might be – I’m certainly hoping it’s a return to Karluk and Amira, but could Mr. Smith and his seemingly ill-fated romance be returning to center stage?