The Real World ... Blogger Style: Saddest Words of Tongue or Pen III

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Saddest Words of Tongue or Pen III

...continued from I and II.

Suitor #3
Offered to buy me from my mother. I was sixteen, with masses of brown wavy hair and the braces had come off by then. He said I had childbearing hips. I couldn't tell how old he was, but he was missing most of his teeth. We were visiting towns around the Black Sea, in northern Turkey. We stopped in a little caravanserai to look at rugs and copperware and knives. He offered to make me his second wife. I wouldn't have to do any work, he said. I could have my own room in his house, he said. Business was good, he said, and he brought out a head dress of gold coins.

Earlier that day on the road I'd seen walking haystacks--they looked kind of like giant grassy versions of the McDonalds' fry guys--bundles of hay with legs. They were women. The men sat in the teahouses playing backgammon. The women went from having beautiful poppy clear skin and straight slender bodies to hags--real hags with humps and snaggle teeth--rapidly. The men drank little glasses of amber tea with sugar lumps, and sat, and watched the road.

I tried on the gold coin head dress. I thought about carrying this man's hay. I thought about him plowing me in some tiny calsomined room. For a minute, the oddness of it tempted me. But then, I didn't speak Turkish. And I was already afraid of the first wife.

My mother told him no. So he pulled his son out of the back room and offered him as a husband instead.