Thursday, January 5, 2012

Children belong to the father...or do they? Part 3

Hawah began reading.

"Dear Sirima,

I pray that this letter finds your family and you in peace. I wanted to bring to your attention the event that took place here in my home. It is about Hawah and Manda's marriage.

It has been nine years since we brought the kola nuts and since Hawah has been here. After all of that time, she hasn't been able to assimilate into our family. According to Bakaro, none of the other women in the house can claim her as a friend. When it comes to Bakaro herself, she has been abused all that time by Hawah, day in, day out through that time. If it weren't for the kindness of our three other daughters-in-law, she would have died of chagrin a long time ago.

Now, Manda, my poor son. There is no husband and wife relationship between him and Hawah in the bedroom. I won't go beyond that except to say that Sedi being the only child they've had all this time is proof, if you need it.

My in-law, before I continue, know that my respect goes out to you. At this time however I regret to have to say that we're returning your daughter to you. She is released from the binds of matrimony we had placed on her. 

God's will is our will, and yours.


Djegui Tandja."

Each word drifting off Hawah's lips dissociated her further from the person on the yellowed notebook paper she held between her fingers. For a minute, it felt as if she was reading for one of the many neighbors who routinely enlisted her help when they received a letter. She looked at the words again. This couldn't be her they were talking about but she had no power against accusing in-laws, she thought. She took a deep breath, exhaled and clinched her jaws, readying herself for her father. Slowly she raised her head, blinking repeatedly to push away the tension in her temples.

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