September 30, 2014
Writing 101’s assignment: Write a post with roots in a real-world conversation. For a twist, include foreshadowing.
Based on real life events. The names have been changed. Peace, ~v.
“Miss Victoria, my mom would never make me marry if I didn’t want to. And I don’t want to!” Della was adamant as she spoke with all the confidence of an 18 year-old about to graduate from high school. The rest of the girls in my class smiled their knowing smiles.
It was the end of the school year and my students were schooling me on marriage in the Middle East. Of all the Middle East traditions I know, the ones involving marriage are the most perplexing. Males and females are completely separated by society, in public and in private, from around the age of 5. By age 20, most young ladies are bound to an arranged marriage. Having never been alone with a member of the opposite sex, teenage girls fall back on their fantasies of love and marriage. Each imagines she will fall madly in love with her husband, but only after she marries him, of course.
Della didn’t ascribe to that conclusion. She was determined to go to the university and determined not to have an arranged marriage. “I will marry for love or I will not marry at all!” she was fond of saying.
The bell rang, signaling the end of the day, and my students hurried out the door. Della hung back, she had something on her mind.
“Miss Victoria,” she began after the class had emptied. “Miss, I don’t think I’m going to go to the university.”
“Oh, no?” I tried to hold my surprise in check. Della dreamed of becoming a television journalist.
“No, Miss. I don’t think I can do it. It’s probably too hard for me.”
This was not the Della I knew. The Della I knew was confident, independent, and so sure that she would be broadcasting on TV in the near future. I could tell she had made up her mind. I muttered a few platitudes and Della slid out the door.
The next day, Della again stayed after school.
“Miss, can I tell you something and you won’t tell on me?” She asked.
“Of course,” I assured her.
“Miss, my mom wants me to marry my cousin right after school is through.”
“And you don’t want to?” I hedged.
“No, miss I don’t even like him! But my mom says I should marry him because he is part of our family and at least if he hits me or something, we can control him.”
After I regained my composure, I said, “What about college? Doesn’t your mother know you want to go to college?”
“Yes. But she thinks it’s time for me to get married. I don’t think she will make me if I keep telling her no. And she stopped talking about it a couple of weeks ago. But I think she is going to ask me again.”
“Well, can you keep telling her no? I mean, I don’t know…” and my voice trailed off . We both knew the answer to that question, and we didn’t have the heart to face it.
The next few days were a whirlwind of activity. Every now and again, I would catch Della’s eye and she would flash me her beautiful smile as if all was right with her world. I tried to reason out the scenario in my head. Della’s mom would persist in asking her daughter to marry the man she had picked out for her. Della would continue to resist. I was convinced that Della’s mom would not force Della to marry. Unfortunately, I was right. Della’s mom did not have to force Della to marry.
I saw Della one last time before graduation. We hugged and we cried and we laughed, all things that Della would no longer be allowed to do in public now that she was no longer a girl. Her face stoic as she pulled away from me, Della stood terribly erect.
“Miss,” Della announced in a bold voice. “Miss, my mom asked me again to marry my cousin. I said yes.”
She didn’t wait for my reaction. She simply turned on her heels and was gone.