Monday, November 14, 2016

My Familiar Stranger

There was something strikingly familiar about him.

The first time he approached me, he told me he wanted my heart,
and all he wanted in return was for his to be mine.
He wooed me with sugar-coated words,
courted me with his hearty laughter.

His laughter was deep and sonorous,
just like that of my father.

I fell hard, I fell fast.
We exchanged vows, made solemn promises before God and family.
"To have and to hold through life's ups and downs,
for better, worse and the worst,I will honour and love you as my wife.
Forever and a thousand years."

This was his vow to me.

But he lied.
He didn't want my heart, he wanted my sanity.
He didn't want a wife, he wanted a slave.
His sonorous laughter suddenly became sinister and his sugar-coated words became gunshots aimed to break my spirit.
He taunted me, mocked and threatened me.

He reminded me of my father.

I watched myself slowly become the woman my mother once was.
The woman she wrestled and finally killed after she left my father.
The institution I had thought was marriage, had become a prison cell guarded by fear.
My husband wanted to be god in a world where I was to be slave.

And then it struck me...

There was something strikingly familiar about him.
I should have recognised him from the moment he said hello.
He wasn't just a familiar stranger, he was my familiar stranger.
He was my father. I fell in love with my father...