The day I was born was the day that my sorrows began. Now that I look up and see the goddess smiling benevolently at me and the knife, the cruel sweet knife stealing my heartís beating speaks to me deep inside. I hear people screaming and cursing but I only see the goddess and her white veils enveloping me. Then I return to the day of my birth and the noise of my mothers cries is magnificent to my ears. ohh sweet sorrow, I hear my gusty cry and am born into the world. I feel the world revolving around me and suddenly Iím five years old wearing a pink gown with ribbons on my hair. My strong legs run around the garden and am singing little meaningless songs that only the crickets understand. My mother is sitting coughing into a handkerchief but because my little mind cares not about anything but the moist grass and the song of the birds, I do not notice she stashing away a blood stained tissue. As I run happily time goes by and my sixteen birthday appears in front of my eyes. There sitting on a chair sipping hot tea and laughing at a joke , my sixteen year old self resides. Tears come to my eyes to see her so happy and uncaring. The clock ticks by and I do not notice the shadow of what I once was slipping away and leaving me raw inside. My father and mother have died and now I stand at their funeral wearing black clothes. The smile is gone too as well as my innocence and felicity. I see myself living with my uncles. Iím unhappy there. My cousin remarks and whines about everything. I do not do things right. I do not cook in her style. Iím too pretty and her admirers will look her down. I sit back .my mind is made up. I will stay here no longer . I shall run away. But now that Iím seeing myself I know that is not going to happen.
I walk looking at my old self and then the dreaded moment comes. A man who sells slaves and diamonds and smuggles wine has seen me in the river washing the clothes. It is my cousins fault, I know now. He comes and has asked for my hand. I did not wish to marry. I wanted to live free. I told my uncle I would not marry and he slapped across the face. I cried all night holding my cheek. Today my aunt came up and looked at me like a prized cow. It is shameful to say that she felt me down there to see if the ďgoodsĒ were untouched. After I begged with her to not make me she slapped me too.
My cousin has been singing all day the bridal tune and swishing her skirts about. Then she sat near me and whispered evil things in my ears. I covered them and looked away wishing with all my heart that my cousin would go away. She did only after she too slapped me. Her excuse was that I did not share in her merriment. I stared after her hurt but used to it.
I have a confession to make. I hid a knife in my bridal gown. I sew it slowly and tearfully into the seam with other trinkets. My aunt thinks I finally want to marry and thus she let me begin to sew my gown. My cousin dances by making fun and insulting me. My aunt slapped her last time she did and told her that at least I was to have a husband.. Now my cousin only makes fun of me and hits me when we are in our room. She did a shameful thing the other day. She stared at herself naked in the mirror. She weighted her breasts while I covered my face with a pillow. Then naked she came over to me and started to unbutton me. She said it was to compare who was prettier. I started screaming and fighting. She hit me once and then threw me to the floor and sat on top of me. I kept screaming and the door opened with a swing. She is sleeping now in the barn and her back sports many whiplashes. But I seen a boy go into the barn so I know she has not taken the punishment really serious. As for me I keep sewing and hoping I do not have to marry.
I saw him come in while I was bathing in the back of the house. He stared at me for a while and I shy and disturbed covered my body with my dress and ran into the barn only to find my cousin open legged and with her new lover. I know him. He was the shop keeperís son. He looked up and saw me wet and with my under vestment sticking closely to my skin. My cousin did not dress or stop riding him and I looked away and got out of the barn. Later I received her punishment. But for now I return to the smuggler. He was sitting when I entered changed and proper. He game me a diamond bracelet and I gave him a scarf. He seemed delighted in it. Then perversely I told him my aunt had sewed it. That night I was sore . My aunt had thrown me against the wall breaking my nose and making one of my eyes purple. When I went to the pump to clean myself my cousin tackled me to the ground and made me eat dirt. I told my uncle that she had been sleeping with the shop keepers boy and she now has one purple eyes too and a sore back. We are looking up at the ceiling and she puts her cold meat on her eye. I take mine off and hope to the goddess my aunt does not notice it missing.
I met a boy the other day. He was sleeping under the apple tree. I stared at him for a while I shelled string beans. Then he woke up and left. I dreamt of him and saw him again the next day at the post office. He does not notice me because I wear a veil of engagement and my face is covered away. I think Iím in love. I whispered it to my cousin and she laughed softly and scratched me behind my ears. She promised to never tell and I promised to not tell uncle that she has a new lover and that he is his best friend. Every time I look at Mr. Mattlians I blush thinking of the naughty things he and my cousin engage in.
I have finished my bridal gown but now it fits me too tightly for I have gained a few pounds. It is because my cousin brought me some sweets from her lover. She asked me if I could watch at the river if anyone came. I sat there for hours while she and Mr. Mattlians had wild love a few meters from me. I tried not to hear but it was difficult not to hear her little mewling and his grunts. I personally thought it was disgusting but she seemed to like it because she kept screaming and calling his name. Then she would be silent and then suddenly she would whimper and shudder. I stared at the marigolds at my feet hoping to the goddess that they would stop soon because I was having a strange sensation in the belly. Mr. Mattlians has no shame. She has none either because both of them naked jumped into the river and did it in front of me. She kept grinding herself against him and I turned away to look at the deer running from one place to the other. I got up from my spot sore and feeling strange. I left them to their own designs and walked to the wild apple trees. They were small and tender. When I took the bite out of one the juices ran down the side of my mouth. I climbed the tree and from there I saw my cousin and her lover embrace tenderly and kiss on the lips after an evening of passion. I was sickened not by their lovemaking but by the happiness I saw on her face. I was nicer than her. I was not indecent ad yet I could not love like she did. It was dark when she and I returned home. She seemed far less tired than I and jubilant. she later told me that Mr. Mattlians was going to marry her. And so it happened.
Her gown was simple and her wedding cheap but she glowed and Mr. Mattlians in black was darkly handsome. I was their bridesmaid and with a sad smile I held the wild flowers in my clammy hands. In the back the boy sat staring right at me. I smiled shyly and looked down . When I looked up I saw that he had just been looking at Adrienne my cousin .
She is gone and I no longer look for someone to fight with and be shameless with. Without her I walk the rooms slowly and somberly. My uncle has cut his leg with the axe while I was running after a chicken whose neck had already been cut but did not want to die. He had a fever for a few days and then dies because his leg had an infection in it. It is now only me and my aunt and the marriage that is soon to come. I have begged my aunt to cancel it but the only thing I received as an answer was a sharp no and a smack on the head. The smuggler came twice this week and I stopped eating because I want to strike out and stop this marriage. He is enchanted by me even tough I say bad things to him. I know have two pairs of earrings, a necklace with an emerald and the diamond bracelet. He has a scarf sewed by my aunt, mittens bad embroidered by me, and a bad watercolor where I painted him dead. For all of those insults I have been backslapped, whipped and left without food. Not that I want food. The bridal gown now is loose around me. My belly is flat and my skin is tight around my body. I ate this morning and got sick. My aunt took me to the healer and he said I had a case of bad moods. My aunt beat me for wasting a good chicken and her time and then she spun fed me some stew.
I been kissed! I was kissed today! But not by the man I wanted to be kissed by. But by the smuggler.
It went like this. I was sitting stitching some buttons to my skirt and my aunt had gone to see Adrienne who is now with child. When I realized that someone was watching me I noticed that it was my smuggler. My betrothed came to sit by my side and grabbed my hand. He seemed so shy when his hand took my chin. I looked at him for a while noticing that he actually was very handsome. But he was not the boy I wanted to marry. He was not my prince charming. He smuggled wine and sold men and made love to whores. And then his lips lowered to mine .He pressed them softly. His tongue touched the entrance to my rosy lips. I opened my mouth surprised and he entered . His tongue sought mine out. Kissing and licking and sucking and I was lost. His arms stole around my waist drawing me closer. He stood up and took me with him and I lost in that kiss simply entwined my arms around his neck. I felt my back pushed against the wall and his hand caressing my body while he kissed me. I remembered my cousin opening her legs while the shopkeepers boy did just this. I put my leg around his legs and he surprised hitched my skirts up. I felt his hand creeping up my leg to my garter. There he put it aside and kissed my neck. I was hot inexperienced and so close to letting him do away with my innocence. We heard the front door bang and we jumped apart flustered. I dared not look at him for the rest of the evening and when he left I hid in my room thinking that married life could not be that bad. And then I remembered the blissful look of my cousin and steeled myself to not be happy unless I had love. Next time I saw him was one hot Sunday night as I bought rice at the local store. He had a town girl with her skirts around her middle and his hips in and out of her. It was late I know but I was still ashamed of his public behavior. Or perhaps I was jealous.
From then on I treated him coldly always giving him my cold cheek to kiss and dreaming of the boy under the apple tree. That boy was perfect. He did not make love to town girls and then come to me all soiled with their scent. Well maybe they did not smell so manly and thrilling but my apple boy was more decent. I had made myself I dream of the apple boy who came to me and told me to run away with him and the smuggler with his exiting handsome looks and passionate kisses could not compete against my apple boy.
The apple boy approached me today and called me by name. My cousin had told him my name and my pretty innocence had won him over. I found out he was the son of a minister. I told him I was to be married and he patted my hand. It has been a week since then. I meet him at the river every afternoon and we talk about everything, He kissed me on the cheek and then blushed. We held hands for one entire afternoon and laid on the grass looking at the azure sky. When I was to leave he pulled me over and kissed my lips for one fleeting moment and I was puzzled since his kiss did not make me achieve the heights of pleasure the smuggler did.
We stopped meeting when the smuggler returned from his trip. I kissed my betrothedís cheek and the smuggler angrily because of my indifference made love to my mouth and made me moan as he pressed me against his body. I felt guilty afterward and decided that I would be colder because my apple boy loved me and I had to be faithful. My apple boy and I met underneath the apple tree and cuddled against each other counting the leaves that feel. We slept on each others arms and kissed shyly when our eyes met. He kissed my neck when we saw a couple kissing passionately.
I planned with my apple boy to run away but his father found out and sent him away. I cry every night and my smuggler is away. Next week is my wedding day and I do not want to marry if itís not with my apple boy.
I cried all last night begging my aunt to stop the marriage. She again refused and am to marry tomorrow. I sit dressed in my white pearly gown with my hair up and well groomed. I see trough my window the carriage stop and then my aunt drags down the stairs. My cousin is now heavy with child and crying and embracing me telling me not to worry that she will find a way to stop my marriage and make true love come true.
I stand before the altar my hand touching the knife I sewed into it. I slowly cut the threads with the sharp part and hold in my hands. The goddess looks down upon me and smiles. My groom has accepted the vows of marriage. It is my time and I have no answer and then slowly I say yes. The minister unites us and then the doors open and my apple boy stands screaming for the wedding to stop.. But itís too late. Iím married and he is not my groom. I do not look at the smuggler but instead meet the eyes of my distraught apple boy as he cries and is dragged outside. My knife in my hands go slowly to my rib cage I lurch forward and drive myself into it. I look up and see the goddess smiling benevolently at me and the knife, the cruel sweet knife stealing my heartís beating speaks to me deep inside. I hear people screaming and cursing but I only see the goddess and her white veils enveloping me