by Catherine Marinelli
My fingers tapped the table as the minutes ticked away. There wasn’t much to do in this house, other than cook, clean, and mope around. But what else are wives supposed to do? Just the thought of being married is enough to make my skin crawl and a shiver coil around my spine. One might think that after a week of being married, things would start to settle down and I would become used to this. Well, I’m not. I’m seventeen; I should be hanging out with my friends and ogling at cute guys, praying that they might spare a passing glance at me, jumping in pure excitement when they do and come over to actually strike up a conversation. Maybe we’d go on a few dates or so, only last a month, or maybe would last half a year, heck, a whole year even! Maybe we would be like one of those serious couples I’ve always heard about, exclusive to one another for years without end.
That’s what I’ve always imagined my first relationship would be like, ever since I was a little girl. I would hold my mother’s hand at the tender age of five, eyes glancing over teenagers and married couples, pondering what my silly future would be like. Relationships haven’t been like that for a while now. Nowadays, a girl will get an embossed letter in the mail, containing the name of the man her parents have chosen suitable to be her husband. The letter can come any day, to a girl of any age; it depends a lot on the man’s family and wishes, or more like desires, and when the local executive officers think the matching would be best. I lost my little sister the day after she turned fifteen.
Sometimes, these things work out. Sometimes, the marriage works out perfect and you actually end up falling in love with whom one is betrothed. Love isn’t required, though, in a relationship; feelings only lead to broken hearts and depression, which led people in the past to suicide. Suicide is frowned upon, and one can see why. It is not good to kill yourself, because then you go to hell feeling selfish and guilty, leaving behind family and friends who wondered what they did wrong and what they could have done to keep you around. One day, a politician who I have forgotten the name of, brought suicide to the attention of the public, and practically an evolution occurred. Those who committed suicide had to be buried in their backyards, because churches would not have them in their graveyards, and if their family would not have them, they were handed over to the state to be incinerated. Families of the departed were shunned by society, their friends not even looking at them anymore. Suicide became a sin.
Many years later, another politician who I should know the name of, said that love was to blame for all the suicide. Love, of all things. She said love was the root of all evil, a thing of Lucifer’s creation, made to torture those who fall into its hypnosis. Love, something once adored, now became hated and feared. Parents, fearing for their children, began arranging their marriages to children of friends, neighbors, or men they saw fit to treat their daughters right. They practically began giving their sons to the highest bidder; a girl’s parents will do anything for their daughter to be saved from the torment of love.
It has been this way ever since. Arranged marriages became so huge, it attracted the government’s attention, and soon it became a law of sorts. If parents didn’t arrange their daughters’ marriages and sell off their sons, they were considered bad parents, and in some cases, their children were taken away. Mother always used to tell me to have hope, that she and father had chosen a very good man to be my husband. My husband is eight years older than me, tall, and holds a seat in the government, meaning he is well paid and respected; I don’t care about any of that, though. To him, I’m just a little plaything, given to him to keep him entertained and bear his children. If one doesn’t have any children, something is considered wrong in your marriage, and often the wife will be taken away and the husband will get a new one. No one knows what happens to the stolen wives, but I’ve heard rumors, and they never end well.
Even knowing about the rumors, I still refuse to have children. I would never dare raise a child in this corrupt society, especially a daughter. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I forced her to live this life. The wind blew outside, the windows groaning in protest, echoing through the empty house. Lonely. I wonder if this is what it felt like to those who killed themselves. I would never kill myself, I couldn’t do that to my family, but I often feel depressed. This was never the life I wanted to lead. I’m married at seventeen, unhappy, alone from six-thirty in the morning to six at night, hoping that my husband doesn’t come home one day. Suicide has gone down quite a bit, but it still occurs, the government just doesn’t want people to know that.
The front door clicks open as he calls out to me, like he does every night he comes home. Like I don’t notice his presence ruining the air. I stand to make dinner, big arms wrapping around my waist, my neck receiving a kiss. My skin crawls, my blood freezes, my heart and mind scream simultaneously. It is in this moment when the thought occurs, flashing in bright neon lights at the front of my mind.
I want to die.
Catherine is a sophomore in high school who writes when she gets inspired. She loves to write because writing makes her think about things she wouldn't normally think about, opening her eyes to different things around her and within herself.
Pieces Inspired by this Image
'On The Fourteenth Day'
'Chain of Hearts'