30th Thread: Flight, fight, marriage
We arrived at my great-uncle’s in the morning. We had been on the run for a long time, fearing at every step that my father would be recognized by a former subordinate. The whole family welcomed us, at least those who had survived the latest hostilities. The cousin to whom I was promised hung a braid of crumpled ribbons on my head. We did not even rest, my father married us right away. My great-uncle had gathered as best he could some foodstuff for a crude banquet. After eating, we slept all day, we were so tired. My parents left that evening with my brothers and sisters. I never saw them again. Never. Not a visit, not a letter.
Pick up the lower thread, quick, we need to complete this canvas tonight. I had known my cousin from childhood, before the world tipped into chaos. While his parents had chosen goodness and wisdom, he went around killing robins with his catapult, and played at pretending he was a wild beast tearing up a convict. He has not treated me with less cruelty. He said I deserved it, that I was a bad wife, I did not satisfy him. He died shortly after your birth. And then I married the manager. He beats you. He also beats me, but I’m used to it. We can not leave, where would we run away? We would go hungry, but this is not what I fear most. Without a home and a man, we would be exposed to many dangers. The country is so insecure, we would end up in slavery if we did not belong to him. Here we have a home, even if it is only two cold rooms. We have a name, the locals know us, they know who we are. You’ll be able to get married some day. That’s why you must obey. Do not look him in the eyes, make yourself small, inconspicuous. Never ever try to protect me.