SEQUEL TO ACCEPTANCE
SEQUEL TO ACCEPTANCE
'INTO THE DARKNESS'
"That was not the end of my sorrows. As you know, your grandparents and uncles all died in the war, as bombs were dropped on our village. I didn't mourn for them. I had suffered too much at their hands to care. But before that, I had to suffer a little more."
"What do you mean?" I asked, unable to believe that she could have suffered more.
"I mean that they died when I was 16. That was almost six years of further suffering before I was free."
"What happened?" I asked intently, metaphorically on the edge of my seat, as my handcuffs prevented me from actually sitting at attention. She sighed, picking up her now cool tea and taking a sip, crinkling her nose at the lukewarm water. I might have laughed had our conversation not been so depressing and serious.
"I fell in love."
This was not at all the answer I expected. I had expected some form of horrible beating, some physical or psychological attack. I stared at her for some time, not quite believing her.
"I don't understand," I said finally, finding no other words to express my confusion.
"When I was fifteen, I fell in love with a local boy. He was well educated, from one of the wealthier families in the village, and was very kind. I didn't know much kindness in my life, so his smile and flirtatious words whenever I saw him quickly made me fall for him. I began imagining a life together, away from the monstrous one I had with my family. I thought it was a perfect match. He came from a good family, had money to pay a bride price, and I was certain his status would win over my stepmother, who still controlled my life with an iron fist. But when I brought my idea to her, in the hopes that she would begin negotiations with his father, she just laughed.
"She told me that she already had a husband picked out for me. A wealthier gentlemen who was willing to give them three cows as a form of dowry in exchange for my hand in marriage. I couldn't imagine who would want me enough to give up three cows. I tried to think of villagers with that kind of money, but failed. Needing to know who she intended for me, I naively asked, thinking maybe it wouldn't be as bad as I suspected. I loved the boy from the village, but he was a bit young for marriage still.
"'Chief. Danjuma has asked for you,' she replied with a wicked smile. I still remember the horrible feeling that filled my stomach as she told me this. Chief. Danjuma was indeed a wealthy man. He became wealthy because he performed a vital service for the community, as my stepmother pointed out. Danjuma was the man that had performed that horrible procedure on me when I was a child.
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